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Tech conference bloopers: 7 stories of snafus and slipups

JR Raphael | Feb. 16, 2011
Onstage falls, wardrobe malfunctions, and romantic disasters -- cue our real-life blooper reel from tech conferences around the world.

Tech conferences may be filled with professional development, but they're also filled with after-hours socializing. Not surprisingly, given the out-of-town hotel-centric nature of the events, that socializing can sometimes lead to romantic rendezvous — you know, of the single-night variety.

That's what happened to Sarah, a 30-something IT professional who attended a tech event with a few of her colleagues. Sarah and her coworkers got together for drinks on the first evening of the conference, and she ended up meeting someone at the hotel bar. Sarah, to put it delicately, did not return to her own room that night.

"I'd never done anything like that, but I was in Vegas, was single, and hardly knew anyone there — so I kind of threw caution to the wind, I guess, against my better judgment," she says.

Sarah didn't think much of her encounter; the man was from another city, somewhere far away, and they weren't likely to cross paths again. Or so she thought.

"A day later, I was scheduled to do a discussion panel about virtualization. I get to the room, and guess who else is standing at the front?" she asks. Yep, you guessed it: the romantic stranger himself. Only this time, he was wearing a wedding ring — and a name tag.

"Not only was he married, but he was a pretty well-known exec from another company," Sarah says. "I'd only gotten his first name before and hadn't made the connection."

Save for a few irritated glares, Sarah stayed composed and survived the session. Then she made an awkwardly fast exit from the room. "The whole thing sounds like something from a soap opera," she admits. "I definitely wouldn't let something like that happen again."

Tech conference blooper No. 4: The data-dropping disaster

Robin Raskin knows a thing or two about tech conference slipups. Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times, created the Last Gadget Standing contest at the Consumer Electronics Show. The event showcases the latest and greatest products from the convention and lets audience members vote on their favorites.

Several years ago, the session almost didn't happen. Raskin was preparing for the event when one of the contestants asked her to make a last-minute change to her PowerPoint presentation. She pulled out her notebook and set it on her lap. What she didn't realize was that her shiny pants created a slick surface — and were not particularly secure.


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