Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Secret Information in Public = BAD

I was just at a MAQC meeting, which involves a whole bunch of companies trying to agree on something. It has gone really well as a consortium, and I am not normally a fan of these things. Frequently they drag on for years, hold many meetings, and make no progress. This is a welcome exception!

At the meeting are, essentially, every competitor of ours. This is a situation where you need to assume that EVERYONE cares about you. So... things you shouldn't do that I was able to snoop on.
  • Don't open your laptop and read your email. I will read over your shoulder and learn stuff I shouldn't (occured so many times I can't count)
  • Talk on your cell phone anywhere near the conference hall and not expect not the be heard. I listened to a competitor talk about the launch plans for a product we had heard rumors about. I now have a launch date and we are already preparing our response. I was sitting around a corner from the person so they didn't see me.
I realize that everyone "can't live" without their email and cell phone. I think people would be surprised to find that they CAN live without them, and that in fact at an industry meeting you SHOULD live without them. Eyes and eares are everywhere. It's not being paranoid, it is being realistic.

Another example : Recently one of our marketing directors got a call from a friend she used to work with. The friend works at a company that isn't really competitive with us, but is sort of off to the side. The friend, in long storytelling tradition, told the director about our new product and it's launch plans. Our director was floored. Turned out the friend listened to one our brand new field people talking on his cell phone in a lounge in London Heathrow. Then, she sat next to him on a flight and read his email. The new guy got a severe tounge lashing for being stupid, but it does highlight the point.

You aren't being paranoid, they really are out to get you.

No comments: