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.
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.