Tech conferences are a glorious thing. Of course, the best part is learning about all the latest and greatest technology, and how it is being used. There is, however, another side of these conference that is just as entertaining. I’m talking about people watching, and it doesn’t get any better than this. Here are a few of the types of people that I have met at tech conferences.
You’ll see this person everywhere except in any of the panels. They definitely aren’t up early enough for those. They will head to the conference center late in the morning, but they will sit in the hall catching up on their email and social media. They’ll be on the show floor looking for the booths that offer beer or wine. They are at every happy hour. They are all about the free drinks, and the free food. They shut the after-parties down.
The Bitter Critic
This person is here to scope out the competition that defeated them. You see, they were trying to secure a spot as a speaker or on a panel, but they just missed the cut. Now, they are bitterly commenting on each session and swearing that they could do better. Maybe they’re right, maybe not, but they are definitely a downer.
You’ve seen this person at any and every conference you’ve attended – tech focused or not. They chat with everyone, and brought 600 business cards so they can network with everyone. They are using every conference hashtag, using the conference’s app to post in the newsfeed, and attending every single event.
The student is either new to the industry, or new to their company and looking to impress their boss. They always sit by the outlets so that they can use one computer while they charge the other, and they have notebooks and pens as backup. They have tried to coordinate with other attendees so that they can divide and conquer the sessions, and then share notes.
The mooch is there for one thing: the swag. I can’t really blame them – you can pick up some awesome things at tech conferences. You can spot a mooch a mile away, since they will be bogged down with overflowing bags. They will often ask for extra giveaways at booths, because they know most people will say yes.
The Job Seeker
Some people attend tech conferences just so that they can try to find job leads. They are the ones anxiously looking at everyone’s badge before they will strike up a conversation (because they only have time to talk to important people from big companies). Instead of business cards, the job seeker hands out resumes.
I love a good spy. They flip their badge around when possible so their competitors can’t identify them, but they are paying attention to everyone else’s badge. They hit up their competitors’ booths and attend all sessions where they will be speaking or represented in some way.
I’ve definitely been guilty of going to conferences to be a combination of the partier and moocher!
What types of people do you see at tech conferences?
Photo by: Dion Hinchcliffe