It’s story time kiddies, this time around, a tale of two people who found out late about PAB2011, and wanted to show up to meet friends and participate ….
Story 1, the Boring One, the Right Way : Mr Classy.
Mr. Classy realizes that he’s in Ottawa at the same time as PAB is happening. He’s only around for part of the event. He contacts the organizers, and politely asks if he can drop by for the meet & greet event. The organizers say yes, provided he comes by after the keynote speech. Mr Classy thanks them for accommodating him, and does just that. Once at the meet and greet though, Mr Classy realizes he wants to be involved in other activities connected to the event. He then registers, and officially becomes an attendee. He’s welcomed into the group, that’s pretty much it.
Takeaway from this story: Being Classy is boring, but forever has our respect.
As a PAB organizer, I’ve got google alerts and twitter searches set up so that I get a chance to see when someone talks about the conference. Sometimes, just because it’s nice to see the wonderful things people say about PAB, other times it’s been handy because people have questions, and twitter has somehow become the internet’s default FAQ.
The day before the event, I see someone tweet about how they plan to go on the PAB boat cruise. I didn’t recognize the name. Immediately, I get concerned that somehow I messed up the registration setup, and I’ve lost one or more attendees. I had something like this happen in 2007, so right away I reach out to the person to ask if they were coming to PAB. The response made my jaw drop, he publicly tweets :
I’m going to try to sneak on to the boat party
WTF? In front of twitter, the universe and everything, this person publicly declares his intention to rip us off. I don’t want to get into it, as we’ve got a conference to run, but simply tweet :
you might want to register, boat cruise is for attendees
With that, I get no response. I figured he finally clued in that I’m an organizer, and that the attempt to crash PAB is pretty much over. I was wrong.
Mark and I usually spend PAB off to the side of the room, where we can see both speaker and attendees. It lets us easily see hands for the Q&A sections of the event, as well as giving us a chance to jump to the stage for intros and outros, or should there be a technical issue. As we sit down to watch Mark Poirier‘s great keynote speech on Friday night, I look around the room, pleased at the turnout, when who do I spot but Mr. Douchebag sitting at one of the tables.
Wow. It’s one thing to crash an event, but the sheer lack of intelligence involved in doing it after being publicly called out is immeasurable.
Here’s how the next part of the scene plays out in my mind: I interrupt the speaker, tell the audience there’s a rat among us. Alarmed and offended, the rat is taken by the audience to a secret location, where thanks to modern surgical techniques, his chances at ever reproducing are made nil. Then they all sing and dance and live happily ever after. And there are puppies, lots of very cute puppies.
What really happened is that we once again called him out publicly on twitter, and once he realized he was caught, claimed he meant no disrespect. We politely asked him register or leave quietly. He did the walk of shame and snuck out of the event.
I was worried it might cause some friction with the attendees who were “friends” with him, so I asked them about it later. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.
PAB is a non-profit event, as anyone who knows how to use google can find out. The event and its activities are paid for by everyone who attends PAB. To try to crash the event offends me personally on many levels, and is so disrespectful to everyone in that room.
What’s the moral of the story? Really? You need me to spell it out? what are you, 4 years old?
On the positive side, this is the first crasher we’ve had in 6 years, which tells me we’ve been lucky. 🙂