I remember walking off a plane from Washington DC and into the scorching heat of the Nevada desert some 15 years ago now. I had managed to convince my boss at the time to let me go to Las Vegas to attend Defcon. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. I knew that I had to go but, I didn’t know anyone that was going to be there.
I walked into the lobby of the Alexis Park hotel and quickly found a wall to glue myself to in short order. Just needed to get my bearings. There was a cast of characters there the likes I had not seen before all in one place. Then, I saw it. The ATM in the lobby of the hotel had a skull and crossbones on the screen looking back at me. I was definitely in the right place.
Years later I find myself sitting in Las Vegas again amazed at how this has grown into such a massive event. I have made a lot of friends along the way and learned a great many things. During this time I have managed to transition from being a neophyte conference attendee to working as a volunteer at both the Black Hat and Defcon conferences.
So, where do I go from here?
An interesting question that I discussed with a couple people in the lobby last night at the Mandalay Bay hotel. I won’t share their perspectives as that would not be entirely fair but, for some of us the end of the line might be in sight. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying anything ill about the security conferences here, BSides Las Vegas included. But rather, how do we continue to derive benefit for ourselves who have been coming here for years? What are your thoughts?
It could be that I'm just exhausted from playing "which time zone am I in this week?" We'll see as the week unfolds. I might be singing an entirely different tune by the time that I board my red eye flight home.
(Image used under CC from InSapphoWeTrust)