Here I am, at TechEdNA09, walking around the Partner part of the floor and I come across the Cisco Booth “Hey, want to play our game? Just answer a few questions and you could win a Flip Mino Ultra Camera!” I’m always game, for well, playing a game so I definitely took the opportunity to try to play. For those of you not familiar with this game, it’s a basic touch screen of a question and 4 selections (A, B, C, D) you have to choose from.
Once you press continue the game starts, and you’re off! Well, it took me 7 seconds (Yes, 7 seconds, because I’m an idiot! But I’m only an idiot once, and for a VERY short amount of time) but seriously, it took me 7 seconds to decide “oh, I should hit the ABCD at the bottom and not the ones on the actual questions! Oh well, hey I’m tired! Leave me alone!) all that.. in 7secs ;)
So, I answer begin going through the questions at this point… Yay! answer, answer answer, wow look at all that Cisco Marketing Value Add proposition, UCS Value? Total rock! Got that!
(It’s a good thing I got my Ph,D. in inferred marketing knowledge, understanding of how questions are typically written, and I teach “how to answer questions” classes ;)
So, 26 seconds after my little ‘wtf where do I press’ hiccup, I finish the game.
Immediately after I finish the game the person running the game said “zOMFG! That’s the fastest anyone has done it” I’m paraphrasing a little bit here ;)
She says my chances of winning are fairly high… that’s cool, taking that into consideration and the fact that I’m already here I say the most expected thing you’d want in a booth as a vendor “Hey, since I’m likely to win this, tell me about your UCS value add!”
And here is where the fatal words come about, “Oh, err, sorry. I’m just a booth babe!”
DoH! Many discussions ensued around this during the week because apparently, I expect more of the people in the booths “Hey, there’s an attractive woman working in a high tech booth, they must know their product pretty solid to be there”. Yes, I do make that assumption and will continue to make that assumption (high-tech is hot?! :))
Ofcourse, when it is clearly obvious I tend to not be ‘confused’ (there was a booth run by women in cocktail dresses? I don’t remember the product, because well, I’d rather talk to people who give off the impression of knowing their stuffs? k thx bye!)
Fortunately, every other booth I encountered run by beautiful women happened to be deeply technical and could discuss not only the product at a high level, but dive into the weeds with the best of them. (If you were fortunate to meet up with the intelligent “babes” like those representing Accusoft Pegasus, AT&T DevCentral and DevExpress you benefited intellectually for the better!)
Disclaimer: I do not ever refer to the term ‘babes’ outside of quotes, unless I’m talking about that movie with the pig, or somehow am strangely referring to a small group of extremely small children. But I had to fit it within the scope of the “Booth Babe” phenomenon which I frankly was oblivious to, because I find that Women in Technology tend to be extremely accomplished and typically well distinguished.
The lesson I hope you take away from this is, assume intelligence and beauty over just chalking it up to a booth babe and the “Is there a man I can talk to?” as it’s rather demeaning not only to the individual, but to all women who invest in themselves and their futures.
We are fortunate, that beauty and brains are simply a natural mixture :)