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Certified Unofficial Lotusphere T-Shirt

Thanks for checking out the 2010 C.U.L.T. shirt sponsorship information. If you've sponsored before, most of the information is the same -- however there are a few changes so I recommend you read this document carefully to know what you're getting into.

Advance Info on the 2010 Shirts:

All of the information below is written on the assumption that we'll be doing basically the same kind of thing as before. The one difference I'm certain about is that we'll avoid both white and black as the base color for the shirts. There is a possibility, however, that we'll be making bigger changes. One way or another, we plan to make a much bigger splash this year.

Possible changes: -- If you're a previous sponsor, or seriously considering sponsoring this year, I'd appreciate your feedback on each of the following:

#1. I'm looking into the costs of doing full-color printing instead of spot color. This would give us the ability to produce nearly photographic quality work, and would not limit sponsor logos to our specific four colors. There are three potential down-sides to this. First of course is the cost -- still checking. Second is that I'll have to actually produce better looking artwork or it will be a waste of time and money. Third, the vendor would be different from the one I've used since doing the 2004 shirt. That vendor has always produced absolutely top quality work, and I'm reluctant to leave them.

#2. I'm considering something a bit more radical. For example, suppose instead of 16 sponsors crammed onto the back of the shirt, we offered sponsors either the breast pocket area or one of the sleeves to have their logo done specifically for their batch of shirts? This would mean less shirts with your logo, but better exposure on the ones you got -- and would produce a much less cluttered shirt back. It would also allow a lot more color flexibility for the sponsor.

#3. I'm considering an add-on for sponsors, like bags or flags or something that would feature just the sponsor logo and the primary CULT design. These would be extra, but might be a good way to leverage sponsorship. I'm thinking in terms of something you hold (like a bag to walk the show floor with) or something that clips to your lotusphere backpack and does something useful or flashy. These would be individual sponsor things. The idea is to better leverage the sponsorship without over commercializing the shirt itself.

FAQ - Unless something big changes, this is the real scope -- please read it!
Hide details for 1. Who can sponsor?1. Who can sponsor?

Almost anyone can sponsor. If you've always wanted to sponsor and never were asked, contact me. Please note, however, that I do reserve the right to select sponsors for entirely arbitrary reasons. I’ve never had to say “no” before, but it could happen. If the field gets crowded, previous sponsors will have a slight leg-up.

Hide details for 2. Two Kinds of Sponsors!2. Two Kinds of Sponsors!

Primary Shirt Sponsors (Max of 16):

Primary shirt sponsors get their logo on the shirt, as well as a set number of shirts based on how many we can afford to buy in total. In the past, this has been around 120 shirts. You’ll get plenty of information on that as we get closer but I do expect that number to be about the same this year.

Secondary Shirt Sponsors:

Secondary sponsors spend ¼ the money and get ¼ the shirts. They do not, however, get their logo or company name on the shirts. Doing this allows us to increase the total number of shirts purchased and thus reduce the cost per shirt for everyone. Last year, secondary sponsors got 30 shirts. I've been asked why anyone would want to do this, given that you don't get a logo on the shirt. I suggest you want to ask those who do. For some, giving out a few shirts to clients or friends is worth while for them.

Hide details for 3. Multiple Sponsorships or Extra Shirts3. Multiple Sponsorships or Extra Shirts

You can sponsor two or more times, or you can just order more shirts.

If you sponsor more than once, each costs the same amount. You get another logo and it is treated as if you were another sponsor for most purposes.


If you are a sponsor and just want more shirts, you can get the same number of shirts as a sponsor gets at 20% less. So if sponsorship is $1200 and each sponsor ends up with 120 shirts, you can buy additional blocks of 120 shirts at $1000. It’s cheaper because it’s good for the shirt that way. We have room for another sponsor logo, and thus we can buy more total shirts and reduce the cost (and thus buy even more shirts).

Hide details for 4. What does it cost?4. What does it cost?

We’re holding the price to what it’s been for the last couple of years.

Primary Sponsors cost $1200 U.S. Last year primary sponsors each got 120 shirts. We’re shooting for the same mark this year. They also get their logo on the back of the shirt. Secondary Sponsors cost $300 U.S. Last year secondary sponsors each got 30 shirts. Again, we’re shooting for the same mark.

Each package of 30 shirts also comes with a package of rubber bands with enough of each color to wrap them. Please keep in mind; these are good quality shirts which are professionally printed with several color images on four locations.

Hide details for 5. What will the shirts look like?5. What will the shirts look like?

This year's shirt is, of course, still secret. It won’t be white, and won’t be black. Generally, lighter colors (like Lotus Yellow) tend to print better but we found last year that white just fades into the background too easily. Anyone who sponsors WILL get a chance to see the design and back out. We'll do that once we receive a check or credit card but before we process the payment. That gives truly committed sponsors a chance to back out if they really hate it. We think you'll like it - we do. If you REALLY must see the shirt design first, ask me nicely and I’ll think about it. I may ask you to swear a blood oath or perhaps sign an NDA and leave a DNA sample.

Hide details for 6. Can I pick my own sizes?6. Can I pick my own sizes?

How much are you willing to pay for that? If you’re willing to drop serious cash on it, then I can try. Otherwise, it’s too costly to manage different packages for each sponsor. It just makes things much more difficult. We have a sizing formula that we adjust a little bit each year which splits each batch of 30 or so shirts into a single bag with a set number of each size. Generally, this is heavily "weighted" to Large and Extra Large, but always there are some small and medium and a few double x. I also order a small number of super-human sized shirts for a few special requests.

Hide details for 7. Can you ship them to me instead of to Lotusphere?7. Can you ship them to me instead of to Lotusphere?

Sure, but it won't be cheap -- probably about $300 more for the full sponsors and about $100 for the secondary sponsors. I don't recommend this at all.

Hide details for 8. What are the deadlines for sponsorship?8. What are the deadlines for sponsorship?

Decision & Payment

All sponsorship is limited by who commits first. I’ll take the first ones to commit and put them on the list, and put others on a waiting list. Anyone I haven’t gotten a check from by December 5th will be dropped from the committed list and the next person on the waiting list will get their shot. By December 15th anyone I don’t have payment from in full isn’t going to be a primary sponsor. Payment can be by check, credit card, or bank transfer (for you Europeans who seem to do things that way).


Sponsor artwork has been a personal nightmare for me in the past. One year someone kept promising me over and over they’d have it then when I finally got it the format wasn’t even close to useable. In the past I’ve re-done logos at no cost. This year, if your logo requires significant reworking I may ask you to pay for that time – probably not, but it could happen. The earlier you get me the artwork, the more likely we’ll have time to be flexible.

Hide details for 9. What kind of artwork do I have to send you as a sponsor?9. What kind of artwork do I have to send you as a sponsor?

Your logo should meet the following criteria:

A. It must be 100% VECTOR GRAPHICS. That means it was probably done in Adobe Illustrator or something similar. If you don't know what this means, you probably don't have it. If you do not have your artwork in this format, PLEASE contact me ASAP. I can probably reproduce it but it takes anywhere from an hour to a day. I'll tell you how long it will take me, and if I have to charge you to do it I'll let you know how much. I've gotten fairly good at this, and the sponsors I’ve done this for have always been happen with the result.

B. It should look good printed in moderately low resolution (kids, it's a t-shirt and ink) so avoid small fonts and tiny details. These things tend to be about 3" x 3" or smaller (we fit them in the space we have available). Look at last year's shirts for examples.

C. Don't try too hard with contact information or such. Maybe a simple URL, phone, or booth number, but that's it -- not all three either. Look, nobody is going to call you just because you sponsor this t-shirt. It doesn't work that way. If you expect it to, you'll be disappointed. It is FUN and it is a bit of name recognition. It is a conversation starter. Remember, this is not a lead generation tool, and if you have that expectation you will be disappointed.

D. We'll be doing these in three or four colors. Black, white, yellow and IBM blue are likely. Red or orange is also possible. Remember, keep it very simple. When I get your artwork, I will apply whatever colors we are using in as close to the same way as they are used on your image as possible, but we will not be using your colors. You’ll get input into the way we lay out your logo, so don’t worry that we’ll just do whatever we want.

If you have questions about this, ask me sooner than later.

Hide details for 10. Do you make money on the shirts?10. Do you make money on the shirts?

I produce the shirts here through a local vendor (and they get made at the same shop a great many of the Lotus shirts get made, as a matter of fact). The goal is to produce as many shirts as possible, saving out enough to cover a significant prize for the night of the party.

Shirt expenses go toward Shirt creation, setup fees, production, shipping, and distribution. If we ship directly to the conference it costs a fortune. For the last few years, I’ve had them shipped to a UPS depot, rented a truck, loaded the truck, returned the truck, and distributed the shirts. This year I may do that or I may even just rent a truck or trailer here and drive down.

I don't keep any significant amount of funds from the shirts. The benefit to Rocky and I is our logo on the sleeves. I suppose you could consider the rental van use compensation but to be honest, its more work than its worth. Trust me on that. I do not get compensated for the dozens of hours spent designing the shirts, working with the vendor, on-site approval meetings at the production facility, or accounting. This year, as last year, I will not be a sponsor so I suppose you could also consider that I keep the "left over" amount of shirts after they've divided up. Rocky and I will split enough shirts to make sure a few key VIP's get there's but otherwise its leftovers for us unless we sponsor as well.

One thing to note – Some years I’ve ended up losing a bit on the whole thing, last year a made a few dollars on it. I did get my logo out there so it’s not a huge deal. It is POSSIBLE that at the end of it all I may make a small amount on the whole thing. I seriously doubt anyone will see that as an issue. In the past I’ve strived for a zero balance at the end, and it never quite works out.

Thus far, we've had no complaints. A few years ago, UPS "lost" one of the 25 boxes of shirts -- about 66 shirts. We do everything we can to avoid this, and I think in the end everyone came out Ok. One party was compensated 1/2 a sponsorship as they volunteered to give up that amount of shirts to someone else. It did take a few weeks.

Potential sponsors should contact me ASAP if you want to make sure you have a slot.