One of the enjoyable and disquieting parts of my job is speaking at conferences. I always enjoying attending security conferences and interacting with folks in the industry. I can learn a great deal from my discussions with friends in the industry and meeting new people as well. It’s always fun to learn new perspectives.
Disquieting when I consider the anxiety that I feel before trying out a brand new talk.
This week I was short on time and ended up flying into Montreal much later than I had intended. I checked into my hotel and then went through a dry run of my talk that I would be giving a few hours later at the Northsec 2015 conference in the wonderful city of Montreal. It’s nice to return to my original home town.
The Northsec conference, that focuses on applied security, has been held in Montreal now for X years. The event was held in a really nice location at Marché Bonsecours de Montréal. I rather liked the space.
This is a two day event that also played host to a 48 hour capture the flag contest. By all account from participants who I spoke to, it is a great CTF. This CTF is limited to 256 competitors and in previous years (2013 and 2014) the registration for the CTF closed three weeks early prior to the event. Not bad at all.
The part that really caught me when I arrived was the organization on the part of the staff. They were on top of things and made sure that they kept the schedule flowing along in a timely manner. The sound crew was very professional in their interaction with the speakers. They were even so right up noticing that when I put my hands on the back of the metal chair on stage there was a humming. To be honest I never noticed that but, they filled me in afterwards. I enjoy it when people take their jobs seriously.
Before it was my turn I had opportunity to sit and listen to some of the talks. A rare treat as I’m often tied up in meetings or other associated activities. The part that I really enjoyed was how the crew of Northsec made an effort to make me feel at home. They were all very personable and genuinely nice to interact with. I always get wound up before I give a talk and it was nice to have this calming effect before going on stage.
As security conferences go, Northsec is a smaller event but very well run overall. From the perspective of an attendee I enjoyed the content. From the view of being a speaker, I loved it. I would thoroughly recommend that if you have the chance to attend or, better yet, speak next year.