I was at a banking event in Las Vegas nearly three years ago. My product has never been one of those sexy products that are really great to show to people at the exhibit. It’s a great product, but not like working for a toy company or a gun manufacturer or even better a construction equipment company. All three of those industries have great tradeshows. Product displays are just super cool. If you have a little creativity it goes a long way with these groups…. But I digress.
So I am in Las Vegas at a banking event. It is pretty dull to talk about numbers and calculations. Bankers tend to be older than the average attendee by about twenty years. They enjoy golf and their trophy wives which they strut down the show isles looking for the free golf giveaways.
Near the end of day two of a three day show, one of our rinky dink competitors stops by to chat. He is the CEO and President of a 17 person company with two customers at the time (in comparison, we had 700 then.) At first he was cordial, as was I. It was small talk and nothing much to start – "who do you think is doing this," "what is going with that group."
Slowly, his tone changes from nice guy executive to corporate potty mouth pariah and starts to bad mouth our company:
“My guys just kicked your ass in Pennsylvania.” He laughed with distain. “You have one sorry team out there. Oh? Are they just training new people there?”
A little bile began to foam at his mouth stepping into my personal space “I have heard some really unhappy customers of yours – but don’t worry, they will be happy once they install us.”
Again, I am too nice of a guy and pushed his shoulder, “Listen, if you are going to be like that why don’t you take it somewhere else buddy?” (That showed him.)
He took two steps before turning back “I guess it all won’t matter to you when your company gets purchased in a few months. Oh, but I shouldn’t have said anything about that – it’s not very ethical to mention insider information. Listen, when they fire you, here is my card, maybe we should talk.” He handed me his card.
I was furious. Not so much about what he said, but that he walked over to my booth while an attendee was there and ambushed me. Also, he really got in my face saying more awful things than decorum will allow me to repeat here. It is one thing to say those things, and another to be nose to nose in desperate need of a mint.
So I did what he wanted me to. I took his business card and emailed him. Well, I didn’t personally email him. I signed him up for every free gay male porn news letter and website that I could find in the three hours I had that night. I wonder if he got my message?
Six months later I spoke to my peer from that company about that guy – he was still there. But she explained this small company was having an awful problem with spam. In fact, they had been getting so much spam a few months ago; this dinky company didn’t have an IT team big enough to take care of the problem. They were having a really hard time getting any work done. There was one point that all the email and web service shut down for a few days and they had to spend a bunch of money they had not planned on towards new security systems.
Earlier this year his company was purchased. He was removed from the board – they only had three customers after being in business for five years. I guess they were working on some internal things instead of selling product.