[telecom] Talking Business in Flight? Be Careful

Talking Business in Flight? Be Careful

By DAVID WALLIS May 2, 2012

PETER COCHRANE, a technology consultant, entrepreneur and blogger, usually unwinds on the train between his home in Ipswich, England, and London with coffee, cookies and a newspaper.

But during a memorable trip in March 2006, neighboring passengers disturbed his relaxation rituals by behaving in a very un-British manner: They were loud.

The English might sing at soccer stadiums, but they usually keep quiet on British Rail.

Mr. Cochrane shot his noisy neighbors a cold stare. No luck. So he decided that if he couldn't beat them, he would join them. He then began actively listening to the consultants across the aisle conduct a mobile business meeting.

"Within a matter of minutes, I know who they are. I know who their client is. What kind of business they're in. I know what the turnover is," said Mr. Cochrane. "And I know what kind of difficulties they are having."

The consultant in charge then announced an imminent conference call with a client. "The number to dial in is this and the passcode is this," said Mr. Cochrane, who "couldn't resist" dialing into the conference call as well. He entered the overheard passcode and covertly monitored the conversation among his seatmates and a publicly held aerospace company. "If I had been a bad boy," said Mr. Cochrane, "I could have undoubtedly made some profit."

Blabbing on a business trip can cause repercussions.


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