Tech commentator barred from Microsoft tech conference after hostile tweets at previous event

stilgherrianA technology commentator says he has been “banned” from attending this week’s Microsoft technology conference TechEd, on the Gold Coast, after what he says was organiser Microsoft’s concerns about his tweeting at last year’s event.

In a post on Stilgherrian’s blog over the weekend, the writer and blogger said technology website ZDNet Australia had commissioned him to attend the event only to find that Microsoft did not want him there, alleging that during the keynote last year he had been “aggressive to speakers”.

“I do both journalism and blogging but I was engaged to do was straight up journalism and analysis,” Stilgherrian told Mumbrella. “My reportage over recent years has been balanced I have praised (Microsoft) when they have done good things and criticised them when I thought they haven’t done well.”

He said the barring from the conference came about as a result of after a series of tweets he made criticising keynote speaker Jason Silva at last year’s conference. As the journalist explained in his blog post among the more controversial things he tweeted about the self-described futurist were:

“This Jason Silva guy? I’m afraid that I already want to punch him in the face very, very hard. #auteched”

“Yeah maybe cut back on the amphetamines, Jason. #auteched”

“Sorry, folks, but being CONTINUALLY AMAZED BY ALL THE THINGS is not insightful or wisdom, it’s a mental illness. #auteched”

“The feeling that I am feeling right this very moment is the reason why you should not hand me a gun today. #auteched”


Microsoft has declined to discuss the exact events that led the organisation to bar Stilgherrian from the event. However, according to Stilgherrian on the second day of the conference last year a Microsoft staffer pulled him aside to discuss the tweets.

“Concerns had been raised, he said, about my tweets. I think the word ‘tone’ was used. He didn’t say who had raised these concerns, and I don’t think he ever gave a concrete description of these concerns. I remember being confused,” Stilgherrian wrote in his post.

He told Mumbrella that since then he had had a good relationship with the company up until they told his editor he was not welcome at the  conference.

“I had been working under the assumption that my relationship with the company continued to be good, as it has been over the years,” he said. “My main gripe is not that Microsoft are not paying my airfares and accommodation on the Gold Coast for a week, it’s that they have said something to one of my commissioning editors, which is quite frankly defamatory.”

In a statement Microsoft said:

“TechEd is one of our most popular events and we aim to provide delegates, speakers, employees and guests with a great experience every year.

“Each year, media requests to attend TechEd outnumber the of amount of spaces available and therefore we do have to make choices in regard to who we invite.”

The company refused to be drawn its reason for barring Stilgherrian but told Mumbrella:

“We look to invite members of the media who are prepared to engage in a constructive dialogue, whether that is in-person or online. Whether you’re a journalist, a blogger, a delegate or an employee, our hope is to have interactions that are in keeping with the positive environment and networking that takes place on site.

“Above all, Microsoft wants to create an environment where guests, delegates and employees are treated respectfully and that everyone can have an enjoyable and productive experience.”

Stilgherrian has defended his use of “hyperbolic violence” in the tweets

“Anyone who took ever a brief moment to look at my style would see that this hyperbolic violence is part of my style and has been all along. It is in the genre as anvil on the head violence of Warner Brothers cartoons, you have to be pretty stupid to think I was serious,” he said.

Nic Christensen


  1. Jeremy Lin
    2 Sep 13
    4:16 pm

  2. Good on them!

    Someone needs to take a stance at this obvious internet troll and Microsoft should lead the charge.
    I have watched Stillgherian’s malicious tweets and reports for years – its time the tech industry stood up to this outspoken, rude geek!



  3. Jeremy Lin
    2 Sep 13
    4:17 pm

  4. PS – “hyperbolic violence” ??

    This isn’t a Roadrunner / Coyote scenario!

  5. Pascoe
    2 Sep 13
    4:18 pm

  6. In my opinion, nothing unreasonable here: Microsoft are allowed to do what they like, including access or not to whichever staff or events of theirs as they like. Stilgherian’s past style doesn’t come into it – if they felt tweets were inappropriate its their right to ask for another reporter to cover the event for ZDnet.

  7. Jane
    2 Sep 13
    4:36 pm

  8. Stilgherrian’s life really is just a series of human rights violations, isn’t it?

  9. Mark
    2 Sep 13
    5:38 pm

  10. Microsoft 1
    Idiot 0

    Well played Microsoft

  11. Jen
    2 Sep 13
    6:18 pm

  12. ‘Carn folks. Blogger is obviously catering to the
    suppressed-anxiety teenage boy readership… …a state he clearly
    never advanced through.

  13. Encyclic!
    2 Sep 13
    6:19 pm

  14. if ZDNet are hiring, I’m capable of writing about tech
    without threats of violence, just by the by.

  15. Supporter
    2 Sep 13
    6:52 pm

  16. Who is this guy? Punch in the face? WTF?

  17. Noddy
    2 Sep 13
    7:23 pm

  18. Stillgherrian is so irrelevant. Nobody cares about a loud
    mouth, outdated 50yr old blogger! Get a life and a real job
    Stilgers… There’s no place in our game for whining old

  19. Patrick
    2 Sep 13
    9:11 pm

  20. To balance some of this anti-Stil commentary, allow me to say that I quite like Stil as a person and that he is a genuinely nice guy. I have never read a column he has written but I have sat next to him at lunches while he decimated a salad and murdered the main course – not literally, of course – it was hyperbolic eating.

  21. Fabfour
    2 Sep 13
    9:39 pm

  22. agree that it’s about time someone stood up to Stilgherrian. He has very little good to say about anything – which is not balanced reporting in my view.

  23. That Fkn Ian Harris C*nt (Actualy)
    3 Sep 13
    12:15 am

  24. What’s wrong with being outspoken and rude?

    No one is forcing you to follow a bloke, if you don’t like it block and move on? Or is it too late by then? Have you perhaps spilled your skinny soy decafe whatever all over yourself, in a total lack of self control moment due to the outrage that encumbered you when a rude word encroached its way onto your twitter feed? Seriously, harden up…have a look at the bloke he was rubbishing too…tech on drugs 101… I don’t blame him, if I paid $2,000 to be subjected to that rubbish I’d have done a lot more than tweet a few things….

  25. Noddy
    3 Sep 13
    10:44 am

  26. @IanHarris – Mate nobody here is scared of a little swear word (it’s Mumbrella – every second word is fuck) and I certainly don’t drink soy lattes.

    The point is (as above) he whinges and moans about everything and expects the world to honestly give a shit that he has been banned from a conference!
    Who cares!
    As above, he doesn’t advocate balanced reporting – he’s just an overgrown sook!

  27. Doughboy
    3 Sep 13
    11:46 am

  28. Regardless of the journalist’s penchant for “hyperbolic violence” he is a very poor writer.

    I have read his blog and he seems to be one of those people that hides a lack of talent by attempting to outrage through needless insults and the use of obscenities.

    In short, he is a f**king arsehole.


  29. Jeremy Lin
    3 Sep 13
    12:43 pm

  30. Well said Doughboy!

  31. Rick Nestle
    3 Sep 13
    12:58 pm

  32. What a vitriolic nest the Mumbrella comments forum is.

    Poor show for the “professional” community, Mumbrella.

    Shape up.

  33. BM
    3 Sep 13
    1:19 pm

  34. Agree++ Doughboy.

  35. Wakey wakey groucho
    3 Sep 13
    2:35 pm

  36. Noddy,

    thank god for your second comment.

    I was about to comment on what an abusive, young opinionated upstart you are with your ageist dismissive comments.

    when you are handing out judgement stop and self reflect for a moment to ensure you are not consoplidating the general ‘opinionated TWAT’ trend.

  37. Stilgherrian
    3 Sep 13
    2:41 pm

  38. Dear readers,

    Thanks, love making you all talk!

  39. Jeremy Lin
    3 Sep 13
    3:56 pm

  40. @Groucho – Whats a TWAT?

    @Stilgherrian – Go back to your blog big fella!