Ajay, who is not a Cadre member, apparently looked up all of the attendees’ email addresses and added them to an email list in an effort to promote his software. I received more than 10 emails from members who forwarded this correspondence to me citing how un-awesome it was. He also mentioned that he met everyone personally, even though at least half the people who contacted me said they had no interaction with him.
This is one example for why many of us have soured on networking events. It’s also one of the main reasons I started Cadre: to minimize interactions with people like this and create opportunities for remarkable professionals to connect with each other authentically. While most of our events are member-only, we have a larger event once per quarter that nonmembers can attend. Even though most of them are invited by members and fit in extremely well, this situation reminds us that there will always be a handful of people who are only looking to push their own agenda.
The biggest irony in Ajay taking this approach is that it completely goes against everything our featured speaker, Scott Stratten of UnMarketing, communicated during his keynote that night. Some of the key takeaways from Scott included:
- Do not think that just because you met someone, you can add them to your list.
- Respect the inboxes of your subscribers (assuming you have their PERMISSION to contact them in the first place). Scott only sends out a blog post when he has something awesome to say, and because of this, his open rate is 91 percent!
- We are ruining QR Codes! So many businesses are misusing this technology. One of the more ridiculous places to use a QR code is in an email. As Scott pointed out, “We are already online!” Ajay apparently included a QR Code in his uninvited email to compound the pleasure of receiving it.
This is completely unacceptable to me, and consequently, Ajay has been banned from all future Cadre events.
I could stop there, but I feel Ajay needs some help in the authenticity department. It would be great if we could have Homey D. Clown pay him a visit. Do you remember Homey from “In Living Color?” If someone was engaging in an activity that was unacceptable to Homey, he would bat them over the head with a sock and say, “I don’t think so. Homey don’t play that!” (Here is a short compilation of Homey’s greatest hits if you’re in the mood for a good laugh.)
Since Homey is not available to pay Ajay a visit, we need another way to let him know that this approach does not benefit anyone (especially him) and that he needs to stop it. If you haven’t done so already, please join me in helping our friend Ajay by unsubscribing from his list — unless of course you want to continue receiving emails that you did not sign up for.
While Ajay won’t be attending any more Cadre events, having more than 150 unsubscribes hit his inbox at the same time might just make him think twice before taking this approach after attending another event. Not only will you be doing your part to defend quality and authentic networking, but as Scott Stratten would say, you’ll be saving the lives of baby unicorns in the process.