Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Young and the Badgeless

To event-industry old salts, working an event with unofficial credentials is known as suitcasing.

To the unwashed, it's known as crashing, hacking, lurking and lobbyconning.

"There is a long tradition of those who simply show up for conferences, wallets closed," Jane Levere reports in The New York Times.

"But for young entrepreneurs on limited budgets, particularly in the technology field, the importance of the personal introduction has only increased. Just don’t mention the fee."

While I think suitcasing's a nice problem to have, consultant David Nour considers it symptomatic of a dying event.

The handwriting's on the wall when attendees refuse to pay for credentials, Nour says. "And its message is bleak."

Producers routinely come down on suitcasers in Stalinesque fashion.

One producer calls them bottom-feeders "mooching off everyone else who has spent marketing dollars to be at the show."

But suitcasers may not see themselves as mooching, doing damage to their own reputations, or even harming the event.

One suitcaser in fact told Levere he was an evangelist. "I think I’m adding value by spreading the word," he said. "A lot of people most likely attended the conference because I mentioned it.”

Where do you come down? How do you come down?
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