You want to push your services at my networking event? I don’t think so!

If you attended Cadre’s Event of Business Awesome last week, you probably (unfortunately) received an email from someone named Ajay Sagar in the days that followed.

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.



  1. by Keith Scandone on October 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Derek. Sorry I missed this event and the following spam slam from Ajay!

    Funny you mention this bc I just recently had this happen to me. I went to a networking event where others pitched their services, and since then I have gotten a mailbox full of newsletters that I never actually subscribed to from the event.

    What happens is it puts a bad taste in your mouth about the company and service, which I’m sure is the opposite result they are looking for.

  2. by Derek on October 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks Keith! It must work for a few people, or stuff like this would not continue to happen. I received three emails from attendees thanking me for clarifying. While they did not recall meeting him (since he did say in his message they had met) they felt guilty and were planning to meet with him. I wonder what he says when they realize they never met him? Thanks for chiming in!

  3. by Scott on October 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    The irony………….. People truly amaze me sometimes. My next book may be titled “Stop It!” or “The Marketer Has No Clothes” since when I talk about bad marketing practices, everybody thinks I’m referring to someone else. This guy was most likely nodding in agreement to what I was saying, and then went right ahead and did it. You have a great group of people at Cadre, and I love how you fiercely defend it my man. Keep it up.

  4. by Derek on October 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks Scott! In addition to your comments, I can’t believe he didn’t have the common sense to remove the QR code after you made all of us realize how ridiculous that is. I can’t believe you do stuff like this everyday! You’re a good man! 🙂

  5. by Nick Chertock on October 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Where is Dexter Manley when you need him? He could’ve taken Ajay out Terry Tate style. Sleazy tactics by that guy.

  6. by Derek on October 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    HA! Definitely! Every brand should have a Dexter Manley or Terry Tate (and a Director of Common Sense). Thanks Nick!

  7. by Hollie on October 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Where I don’t ever agree with adding someone to an email list without permission, I do wonder did anyone from Cadre nicely email him on the issue? or is this public post the way for him to get the message? If I ever make a mistake online I do prefer a direct contact first, so I can correct if I had made a mistake, to me that sounds almost mannerly wouldn’t you agree?

  8. by Derek on October 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Hollie- See my comment for Keith. The damage was already done. I received 17 emails from attendees questioning the authenticity of cadre, since we hang our hat on keeping people like this away. All nonmembers get the lay of the land and are told this isn’t the crowd for direct soliciting and/or spamming before the event. What he did was a slap in the face to our take on networking, our community and our speaker. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. by Jeff Zelaya on October 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Wow! This is hilarious! This blog post should be enough to shame him….I can only hope.

  10. by Derek on October 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Fingers crossed. 🙂

  11. by Glen Hellman on October 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Way to keep it Cranky!

  12. by Derek on October 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    You are my Yoda! 🙂

  13. by Glen Hellman on October 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Way to keep it cranky! Sickem, Derek!

  14. by Valerie on October 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I’ve had this happen to me a couple times and I’ve marked them for spam.

  15. by Ian Altman on October 9, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Consumer marketing is about creating as much visibility as possible. B2B Marketing and Sales DOES NOT (I repeat, DOES NOT) work the same way. If you do not respect someone’s inbox, if you are merely seen as someone self-promoting, then people will avoid you like the plague. The problem is that the ones who do it wrong make it harder for everyone who does it right. Arrrrgggghhhhhh (or something like that)!

  16. by Derek Coburn on October 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    The way I look at it, I just helped to accelerate his learning curve. That approach will never for him and hopefully he realizes this now. Hopefully this will get him to rethink his strategy.

  17. by Alan Glazier on October 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Just doesn’t add up. He killed himself professionally with this influential crowd and had to know he was doing it. He sat in the audience with this bomb in his lap, listened to what not to do and pressed the button. He’s the first suicide marketer

  18. by Derek Coburn on October 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Dude- you should patent “suicide marketer”. That is awesome!


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