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Old Mar 17, 18, 12:20 am
  #83  
BOH
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Programs: IC Hotels Spire, BA Gold
Posts: 6,819
About 25 years ago I worked for a fledgling technology company and our #1 competitor and industry leader was a large US based and very well known company.

In the old BA lounge in T1 I sat down and there were 3 spare seats in the cluster around a table and after a few minutes, 2 blokes asked me if the seats were free. They sat down and I quickly realised they were from this key competitor and off to their annual budget setting meeting. They proceeded to rehearse the presentation on their next FY budgets, target markets, pricing and customers, key account plans and large order potentials. In the space of 30 minutes they pretty much unveiled everything a business needs about the plans of their key competitor. Fantastic stuff

I have wondered since if ethically I should have got up and left or declared my presence as soon as I realised who they were and what they were discussing - but back then I sat and listened and even took some notes. The world has now changed a bit and my current employer has a strict Ethics and Compliance code and exactly this kind of scenario is included in the policy - the rule is you do not declare who you are but you immediately leave the situation as soon as you realise.

There was an amusing end in that a couple of months later at a major trade show I wandered on to the stand of this #1 competitor and both these blokes were there. One of them came over to me and said, "I think we have met before - remind me". My reply was, "yes you do look familiar but I can't quite remember how and where our paths have crossed"
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