May 23, 2016 ยท 2 minutes

Pandoland Chicago is approaching fast.

In less than a month, we’ll all be gathering at the 1871 event space for a packed day of keynotes and break-out discussions with Margaret Atwood, Dick Costolo, Max Levchin, Nancy Jo Sales, Bill Ready, Sam Yagan, Jason Hirschhorn, Matt Maloney and many, many others. Your host, as ever: Pando’s Sarah Lacy.

This is our first time hosting the event in Chicago, and we’re excited to experience all the huge, and growing, local tech scene. If you’re a local Chicago tech entrepreneur doing something that might interest Pando readers, be sure to drop us a tip: We’ll do our best to meet as many of you as possible while we’re in town.

As long-time Pando readers might recall, we do things a little differently than other tech events. One of the things we remember from co-hosting TechCrunch Disrupt and the Crunchies was the unfairness over how freebie tickets are allocated: Why should industry luminaries (that is, billionaires) be showered in free tickets while bootstrapping founders have to pay full price? Surely that’s the opposite from the right way to do things.

At Pandoland (as at Hamilton) the billionaires pay full price. We offer the same single discount level to regular attendees as we do to venture capitalists, trillionaires, celebrities and anyone else: An early bird rate for early registration, then full price as we get closer to the event. This year the ticket price is cheaper than ever: $199, which will hopefully make it even easier for founders, and would-be founders, to attend.

But, as we said last year, we know that even two hundred bucks is too rich for some would-be attendees. As so, we have 20 tickets to give away to anyone who, for whatever reason, is struggling to afford (or to justify) the full price. That doesn’t mean you have to be broke: It might mean you’re bootstrapping your company, or you have kids to support, or you’re blowing your whole budget just getting to Chicago.

(Last year we gave away 40 tickets, but we’re so close to sold-out this year, we genuinely only have 20 to spare.)

The free tickets include entry to the entire event, all the breakout sessions, all the meals and everything else that regular attendees get for their full ticket price.

Sarah has ten tickets and Paul has ten. Each of us has our own criteria for the giveaway.

Sarah is giving her ten tickets to female entrepreneurs, particularly those with young children. (If you read her post about her new book, you’ll know why.)

Paul is giving his away to out-of-towners. Anyone, female or male, who isn’t normally based in Chicago and wants to visit this incredible city. That said, he will favor requests from those in groups that are often underrepresented at tech events. Again, that includes women, but also anyone who isn’t a rich, white, straight dude.

The tickets are certain to go very, very fast. We’ll sift through all the requests received by Wednesday evening and pick the twenty lucky winners. Just email and explain why you’d like to come to Pandoland as our guest.  

(Of course if you can afford to buy a ticket, the event is still amazing value at just $199. Register right here.)

See you in Chicago!