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Comdex Lets Teen Execs Attend 49

reflector writes "It looks like Comdex got enough flack over not letting the teen execs of Matrixcubed in the door that they've backed off (see Thursday's Slashdot ). There's an article in Wired." Good to see this happen, even if you want to argue that Comdex shouldn't have tried to keep out the Matrixcubed guys in the first place.
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Comdex Lets Teen Execs Attend

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  • or if you happen to fancy yourself the intelligent type, you can always work at best buy or compusa as a tech. (I'm not sure if I'd reveal this to future employers though)

  • Okay, I'm biased. I'm 20 and I work as an contractor in the UK. My company is currently in the process of gathering VC to launch it's wireless internet service in the London and surrounding area. I know how hard it can be to get people to listen and respond accordingly to young technologists such as myself. I am always meeting people who can not see past my age and simply dismiss me as some kid who managed to upgrade from Win95 to Win98 all be his self.

    It is the management of organisations like the Comdex people who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.
  • In an effort to bring more young people into Comdex, they've just announced a 'Comdex Jr.' convention. It'll consist of a fold-up poker table, virgin margaritas, and lots of promises starting with the phrase, "When I grow up..."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, COMDEX is willing to let these particular teenagers into the show. Maybe they'll even be magnanimous and let ALL the major corporate executives in. As Dogbert sez, "Big Furry Deal".

    The point isn't the corporate executives. The point isn't whether young people can lie about their age and sneak in. The point isn't even COMDEX! The point is this: the industry is treating young people as second class citizens, and I am sick of it.

    I'm 23 years old. People pay me to tell them what to buy. When I'm deciding what I'm going to tell them to buy, what do I pay attention to? Well, you know, I draw upon my extensive professional experience, because that's what my clients pay me for. In particular, I draw on my experience of being 10 years old...

    Do you know what it's like to be 10 years old and to know more about technology, oh so much more, than the average adult? You certainly should know what it's like, if you have any business reading Slashdot at all. It disgusts me how many posters on this and the previous item are willing to go, "Oh, well, we don't want loads of KIDS running around looking at the strippers, hur hur." You losers! Where do you think geeks come from? We don't appear fully formed and 21 years old, under a cabbage leaf in the Penguin Patch!

    When I was young, my fellow geeks were the only people I could depend upon for decent treatment. That was the only group where I knew I'd be a human being - not "cute", not "precocious", not an interesting novelty. Geeks as a group (with the exception of certain recent posters to Slashdot) are among the most accepting, admirable people in the world. That's why I'm involved in the free software movement; I want that tradition to continue.

    I noticed that there were two kinds of adults: the ones who treated me as a real person regardless of my age, and the ones who didn't. I made a decision about which kind I wanted to be. Now there seem to be a lot of the other kind hanging around, and it makes me want to pick up a gun.

    I don't contest that COMDEX has a right to keep out whoever they want... I just think that if they choose to keep people out based on age, then it ought to be commercial suicide. They're certainly losing my goodwill. They ought to be losing the goodwill of everyone here.

    The "sin city" comment was stupid: COMDEX PacRim, in Vancouver, has a 21-year age limit, here in British Columbia where the legal age for everything is 19 years. The "legally binding contracts" rationalization, and the "insurace" rationalization, may have some weight, but not enough weight. Those are exactly the kinds of stupidity we should be against! Telling me I have to be a certain age to be taken seriously, is as insulting as telling me I have to use a certain maximum key length in my crypto.

    If COMDEX treats young people as second-class citizens then COMDEX is scum, and if you defend them, you don't deserve to be here.

    Further ranting (including a page about COMDEX, posted long before this discussion started) is on my site []. You might like to drop by.

  • It is the management of organisations like the Comdex people who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

    Well, I agree in that it is the management of organizations who act rigidly in the manner in which Comdex acted tentatively. Yes, Comdex did deny him at first (or so it seems) but yes, he is being allowed to attend now. That is where Comdex's saving grace is.
    However, I realize what your greater argument is: people who are within the technology circles, and who are younger than 18, should be able to get in, because this is something that they need. Yet the no-one-under-18 rule excludes them. I've noted that other /. posters have mentioned that they got in under 18; good for them. I couldn't, likely, and even if I could.. that's not the issue here. It's not an issue of whether or not we ultimately can "get in;" it's an issue of being granted the permission to freely attend the convention, without having to "sneak" in. This issue borders on discrimination.. of the sort where your audience is selected based upon their intellect, field of specialty, and maturity within that field and overall. This is where the issue's "gray area" stretches on. This is why, I believe, organizations such as Comdex behave as they do; you just can't ensure that you'll have the people you want, because inevitably someone will get in that you don't desire to be there.

    Of course, back on topic, I think that people/organizations shouldn't sniff at others simply because of age because it certainly isn't age that determines intellect; I'm 17 years older than I was when I was born, but that doesn't mean I'm 17 years smarter. So will it be 17 years down the road. Knowledge doesn't increase exponentially with age.. nor shall it ever. I can live for days and not learn anything new; yet I can also live for minutes and learn worlds of imformation that I didn't know before. When will they get the point?

    Fish! They're all fish!
  • Comdex was an adult show at one point, but the last time there was any sort of adult content was at Comdex Fall'95 I believe. It was all downstairs at the Sands Convention Center.

    That part of Comdex was been booted out (for bad press, arrests, etc), and has become their own convention. AdultDex. AdultDex is held seperately from Comdex, at a different hotel somewhere else in town.

    Also, I've noticed that a good portion of the vendors are becoming more friendly to showcasing their products to the late teen set. Comdex has helped this trend by dropping the age limit to 18 from 21.
    Creative Labs and other "gamer" companies have created gamer friendly booths. Heck, 3 years ago Creative let conventioneers play Quake for prizes.
    At last year's Comdex, 3dFx had a 1v1 competition in Quake 2 against Thresh.

    So, why would some vendors be hawking to a younger audience? Sales. Capture their attention, show off all the bells and whistles, and get them to buy your sound card, video card, game, etc, etc.
    Just like tobacco companies. Get 'em young and keep em for life. *g*

    Comdex has bowed to the mob for years now. This incident just showcases it.

  • Well, although I'm not saying that sex is wrong at age 17, Nevada law may make consent age 18. Unfortunately, the Age Of Consent [] site is going horribly slowly for me and so I can't give an actual number. Blah.

    Of course, I personally believe that you shouldn't go by what's legal or illegal, but what's right or wrong. Unfortunately, the law doesn't care about ethics.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • Heh, right after I posted that, AOC started to load just fine. Typical. :P Never mind about that theory; Nevada's AOC is 16.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • I dunno... I tend to think that there shouldn't be age restrictions at all. Just my $.02


  • I got in the LV Comdex when I was 16.. guess what I put on the reg form... 18... not very hard... If he's an "exec" at a seemingly "reputable" company, he should be smart enough to know that, at least (unless, his moral standards are above the rest of us).. I think i must agree with some comments that this is just an attention getter targetted at the media...
  • It's not enough just to let this guy in because he had a company, money, and some press contacts to help him. The next 17 year old they won't let in could be an open source developer without a company to his name but a damn bit more important to the computer industry.

    Er... hello? COMDEX is not a place where developers get together to have a chinwag - it's a BUSINESS TO BUSINESS show.

    Also - an open source developer without a company to his name isn't important to the computer industry at all - because he's operating outside of the industry. If such a developer, say, became affiliated with Red Hat, he could go into the show that way. But he'd be representing Red Hat.

    Besides... it's dead easy to set up your own company - just apply for a business license. Then, who cares?

  • So what if the kid isn't allowed? Plenty of people who replied in /. have stated that Comdex is a private event, so since this kid isn't of legal age to enter (although he is some CIO of some Web Hosting company), Comdex still has the right to refuse him.

    Besides, what kind of kid starts up his own company at that age (15)? I would see it as something sad. His own dad states he has no vocational skills, and if his business fails, what does he have to show of it? No one will hire him up, especially if he comes from a failed business. Also, what major corporation will do business with him (M$ is not considered in this equation, since we already know that a college drop-out owns it)? I mean it is REALLY cool this is all happening, but the kid is naive as far as the business world goes. Some guy could come over, schmooze him to some great deal, and he can lose it all (along with the other companies he is with). Heck, I started in the IT/IS business when I was 16, and I was completely naive. Too many people took advantage of me, and I lost a LOT.

    So, playing devil's advocate here, if this kid actually goes up to people to help with his business and turn him down, I would be all for it. minors (and ESPECIALLY teens) are mentally too volitale, and can do a 180 on ya in an instant. But, I give this kid the best of luck (I'll just be laughing at all of them when their business goes under because of some crazy marketing idea or something).
  • Naive? He's been running a business for almost three years and he's naive?

    Who would hire him? It looks good on a resume to be a self-starter especially at a young age. This kid probably has many opportunities, and I'm sure none at a company with your mentality.

  • Usually when people see a young busness person they treat it like a glorifyed leminade stand. It's hard to be taken sereously when people think you should be flipping burgers.
    Way to often people expect the young busness person will give up when he gets bord or the busness will eventually fail. This is totally with out justification. It usually drives young busness people to hire adult salespeople to represent them in public and keep his age a secret.
    People allways seem supprised when kids make it big yet it happends quite a bit.
    It dose take a specal tallent but when it's there it takes off.
    Maybe Comdex will think twice before trying to keep a child prodigy from setting up a booth.

    One thing such experences do teach young busness people is responsability. He'll be responsable and wait for retirement before he gets sloshed.
    IPO the sucker and then hire a CEO to run things and retire. or do it the old way and just sell out to a compeating busness.
    Then get sloshed on the good stuff.
    No regrets :)
  • I got into comdex when I was 16. Just grow a bit of a beard, look and act professional, and it will all be cool. Then again, I went to the one in chicago, not he Las Vegas one. LV are probably the national experts on checking people's ages ;).

  • It's not enough just to let this guy in because he had a company, money, and some press contacts to help him. The next 17 year old they won't let in could be an open source developer without a company to his name but a damn bit more important to the computer industry.

    Comdex should probably get over it's illusions that the only things that matter to the industry are men in suits.

    That said I can't see what a seventeen year old is doing running a company. In ten years he'll regret not getting laid, drunk, and high like his peers.

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • The point was he wanted to do this legitamitely. He realized he could have easily snuck in if he wished, but he would rahther have done it the legit way. A lot of people would rather fight the rules than circumvent them.

  • Accually, what I can see happening to some young execs is having there business go under for one reason or another in the next ten years (hey, shit happends), and now, that they're 25-30, they'll have to get there asses back in school and get a regular job like the rest of us.
  • it's great to see the world changing, or at least being a bit more forgiving to those of us who aren't like the rest.

    Keep up the great work /.ers!

  • Man, does this just seem odd to anyone else? All requests for legitmacy asside, I was able to go to Comdex, VSDA, and CES when I was 15. For all purposes, this sounds like an attempt to garner attention for the 'ol business. Plus, unless things have changed since I last went (oh, about 5 years ago), there is some whiz bang stuff, but most of what you will want to see is done in about less then a day. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, but most go to have a good time and relax from their boring IT job. Same thing with VSDA and CES.

    Plus, can you blame the Comdex folks for taking the position that they did? Here you have a kid, a MINOR going to a convention that is situated right in the middle of Sin City (don't take this as a slam, I love Vegas). Not counting the problems dealing with minors, contracts, and business, there just isn't much for a kid to do outside the convention space. I would imagine someone so virtuous as to get clearance to go to Comdex legit would not dare try to do things the adults can do.... I still remember my first time there, running into all the folks in between the convention buildings handing out the "escort" brochures.

    I mainly went because we were going to drive to California and Disneyland after the convention :).

    Bryan R.
  • People, we are talking about Comdex - a COMPUTER convention (Read - the biggest assembly of nerds of the year).

    How did sex ever enter into the picture?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    personally, i think Comdex shouldn't have relented, for three reasons.

    One, it's an adult show. As many have noted, adult themes and situations will be present. Las Vegas is not disney land. Hopefully, the parents will have to sign a release.

    Two, this restricts what vendors can and do say. They may have to tone down their displays or speech now that they are not guaranteed an adult audience. That rips everyone off, and lowers the quality of the show.

    Finally, they made a decision to be an adult show a long time ago. A huge crowd of immature crybabies slammed them for it -- immature because they selfishly voted for their own interests rather than considering there might be a greater benefit to them by keeping the show adult, and waiting a year. One year, in this case.

    The most terrifying aspect is the effect on every phase of our lives as immature, selfish people use the internet to climb on their pedestals and rant their woes, urging a massive group of sheep to join their cause.

    Organizations like Comdex will be weakened, unable or unwilling to stand their ground in the face of this "mob rule". Then, everyone loses, because the selfish little shits didn't consider the bigger picture.

    Why didn't they consider the bigger picture? Because they're kids. Not adults. They just proved why they shouldn't be allowed into adult shows --- they think like childish little mobs.

    Now, has anyone figured out why they can't vote yet? Or have I made that obvious enough?

    Boo to Comdex for relenting to the mob.

  • by Kynes23 ( 38777 ) on Saturday October 23, 1999 @12:48PM (#1592883) Homepage
    I'm sure we'll all be very amused to see this headline in about two weeks:

    17-year-old Comdex attendee charged with public drunkenness, solicitations of prostitutes.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hmm, If you compare the little picture of what looks like a server room, you can see that they gladly took it from DigitalNation's image gallery... I have already seen a few companies that have done this...
  • Wouldn't you rather get rich while you're young so then you can spend the rest of your life getting laid, drunk and high, unlike your peers who are slaving away?

  • His own dad states he has no vocational skills

    The actual wired article states "Clearly, he doesn't need vocational skills" and I didn't think of it this way before but does he mean that the kid has no vocational skills and doesn't really need them in his line of work (I can't understand why he wouldn't need them) or does it just mean that he has good vocational skills already. I took it to mean the latter.

    As for no one hiring him or doing business with him, you are completely wrong. Someone who can start a profitable business at age 14 with 200+ customers would certainly be a plus.

    minors (and ESPECIALLY teens) are mentally too volitale

    According to who? You? How do you classify the mentality of someone by calling them minors? age? Can you say that a 17 year old who is turning 18 tomorrow does not have the mentality of an 18 year old that turned 18 today? Surely not.

    I feel that Comdex shouldn't have compromised and let him in, but they did and what's done is done.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Think about what you are claiming.

    The world does not treat children as second class citizens.

    It treats children as children.

    Whether anyone who reads this likes it or not, the minds of children and immature adults are less likely to take in all scenarios when making a decision as a mature adult. This is not discrimination, but scientific fact.

    Read a little about psychological development before you try to make the claim that immature persons (of any age) are capable of making rational decisions. The claim simply isn't true.

    Now that that's out of the way, we can say that some reasonable, arbitrary limit needs to be struck and maintained so that children are not exposed to adult issues, and given tasks or responsibilities they are not capable of performing, and adults are not needlessly hindered by childish issues when critical dicisions need to be made.

    In the case of the USA, the limits for voting and military service are set at 18, although I think you can still get in at 16 with parental consent. For alcoholic beverage purchase the limit is 21.

    Like it or not, it is the law, created by people who did their best to come up with some useful limits that seperate the groups I discussed above.

    Not that I am not saying all people under 18 are immature, or that all people 18 and up are mature But some limit had to be made, to avoid having to examine all people on an individual basis to determine their level of rationality -- surely you agree that such an effort would be ridiculously time consuming and error prone.

    The most frightening thing about this series of articles (teens at comdex) is the absolute refusal of those involved to rationally consider why the limit is in place.

    A major event is having it's acceptence policy changed by nothing less than mob rule -- and the very fact that the mob denies Comdex the authority to run it's show as it sees fit, or to even acknowledge that right, or to even consider why the rule is in place, shows that the group is immature, and unable to make rational, critical decisions.

    Truly, slashdot (in this case) has shown why mob rule and direct democracy can be bad things -- the people here do not have the ability to consider multiple, conflicting issues. They blindly choose the path providing their group the most immediate benefit, without considering the greater good -- the very definition of childish, immature thinking!

    Apparently, no one here has taken a basic course in polisci, or psychological development, or was simply not interested in the subjects.

  • I've dealt with this guy and his "company". We started to find unauthorized charges to our credit card and this guy swore up and down that *we* were wrong. Only after we threatened to sue him and report him to the state attorney general did he credit back the unauthorized charges. No excuse or apology was offered.

    What about liability, how can you enter into a legally binding contract with a 17 year old? Would you trust the security of your web site to a kid? 17 year old kids should be working at McDonald's learning customer service, not running internet companies.

    If you're looking for a web hosting service, stay away from MatrixCubed, I would have, had I known the guy was 17.
  • The quotes from both Wired articles came from Dave. If he was my dad and I was either of those two, I'd be embarassed as hell that he was blabbing to the world how concerned he was for the company's sake that I couldn't get into the frigging con.

    Seems to me like Dad didn't really try that hard after all. The posts in the previous /. forum suggested COMDEX officials would've let the kids in anyway. Maybe the WIRED writer just wanted the scoop so didn't bother talking to either teenager or COMDEX officials for the first article.

    This is why single-source stories are generally not the best way to report news. Dad just let everyone make a big deal out of a big nothing.

  • confucus say:

    "Learn to be more honist and forthcuming. Women don't like Anonymous Cowards."

    confucus also say:

    "Emmons went to skool but stil cant spel werth crapp"


Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.