There are three types of people you’ll meet at a software conference: attendees, vendors and booth babes. The attendees are there to pick up new skills, network and score swag. The vendors are there to convince decision-makers to make the right decision. The booth babes are there to reel in the decision makers. You could make the argument that the booth babes are also vendors, but as temporary hires with little-to-no knowledge of the product, the only things they are vending are themselves.
I have two main cases against the booth babe strategy. The first, understandably, is from a feminist standpoint. The use of women as bait is objectifying and creates, to many attendees, a gender-based binary: you are a man or you are a booth babe. (It also, by the way, paints the attendees as slobbering cretins who can be manipulated through their basest instincts.) However, the feminist case against booth babes is, unfortunately, too general to be compelling. Sorry lady, you say, sex sells. Which brings me to my second, fiduciary case: does it? And, more to the point: does it sell software? Continue reading Angels at the Gate: Tech Conferences and the Booth Babe Strategy