OK. I have changed my tune. I have always had a laissez-faire attitude toward booth babes. I come from the school of what works. And if booth babes generate leads, of which some statistically result in deals, I’m good. Mr. Market says that if something works, you keep doing it. And when it stops working you move on to the next tactic. Right?

Not so much. Chenxi Wang and Zenobia Godschalk posted a thought-provoking piece about why it’s time to grow up. As people and as a business. This quote from Sonatype’s Debbie Rosen sums it up pretty well,

…this behavior is a “lazy way of marketing”, Debbie Rosen of Sonatype said, “this happens when you do not have any creative or otherwise more positive ways of getting attention.”

I agree with Debbie. But there are a lot of very bad marketers in technology and security. Getting attention for these simpletons is about getting a louder bullhorn. Creativity is hard. Hiring models is easy.


What’s worse is that I have had attractive technical product managers and SEs, who happen to be female, working at my company, and they were routinely asked to bring over a technical person to do the demo. It was just assumed that an attractive female wouldn’t have technical chops. And that’s what is so troubling about continuing to accept this behavior.

I have daughters. And I’m teaching my girls they can be anything they want. I would be really happy if they pursued technical careers, and I am confident they will be attractive adults (yes, I’ll own my bias on that). Should they have to put up with this nonsense? I say not.

Even better, the post calls for real change. Not bitching about it on Twitter.

Writing blog posts and expressing outrage on social media alone won’t work. We need to make this issue a practical, rather than a rhetorical one. Those of us who are in positions of power, those of us in sales, marketing, and executive positions, need to do something real to effect changes.

I still pray at the Temple of Mr. Market. And that means until the tactic doesn’t work, there will be no real change. So if you work for a vendor make it clear that booth babes make you uncomfortable, and it’s just wrong. Take a stand within your own company. And if they don’t like it, leave. I will personally do whatever I can to get you a better job if it comes to that.

If you work for an end-user don’t get scanned at those booths. And don’t buy products from those companies. Vote with your dollars. That is the only way to effect real sustainable change. Money talks.

We live in an age of equality. It is time to start acting that way. If a company wants to employ a booth babe, at least provide babes of both genders. I’m sure there are a bunch of lightly employed male actors and models in San Francisco who would be happy to hand out cards and put asses in trade show theater seats.