The headline in a post in today’s Fast Company newsletter caught my eye: “Confessions of a Conference Crasher.” In the story, entrepreneur Jerry Jao of Retention Science shares the lengths he went to in order to sneak into a pricey business conference, where he was able to gain intelligence about his competition and pitch his own tech start-up to potential clients. Despite his affront to the meetings industry, you’ve got to admire this guy’s chutzpah. And the story does end on a more ethical note: Now that his company is flush with investment capital, Jao plans on “making amends” by returning to the same conferences he crashed last year (yes, he pulled the wool over the eyes of registration folks at several events), where “he will proudly fork over the ticket price of 10 or 20 grand.”
I’ve just finished editing a story by contributing editor Jennifer N. Dienst about how the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) changes its security measures each year to prevent people from gaining unauthorized access to its rockstar-studded annual convention (look for it in our April issue), so I’m kind of tuned in to the challenge.
Are crashers a big concern at your meetings? We’d love to hear how you deal with this issue.