#BSidesLV preview: Jack Daniel on the future of B-Sides

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Las Vegas time, #BSidesLV will begin with a talk from Jack Daniel -- one of the chief organizers -- about where the movement is at and where it's going. I chatted with Jack this morning and got a preview.

This is a good time for a status update, because B-Sides has gone through some growing pains in the last year. Late December 2011 was particularly tense, with Brian Martin (Jericho) writing about the "dark side" of Security B-Sides, singling out Mike Dahn, one of the founders, as the Darth Vader in this tale. He wrote at the time:

Tragically, it has recently come to public attention that some things about the organization are not as positive as the rest. One of the founders, Mike Dahn, seems to have repeatedly lied about the conferences and organization for what appears to be his own gain, as you will see in this article. Dahn does not seem to embrace the idea of openness like he claims, tarnishing the image of the community built B-Sides. Until Dahn does what has been requested of him for two years by another founding member, be more open about finances and organization, the information below paints a grim picture of Dahn's behavior. This alleged unethical activity and deception is not acceptable by any standards, especially in an industry that preaches (and sells) integrity.

At the time I chalked B-Sides' problems up to the fact that it had grown so big so quickly, and that the criticism could be used to push the event in the right direction. The next hot spot erupted right before RSA, when RSA organizers threatened to squash B-Sides over scheduling disagreements. BSidesSF went off without incident.

"Last year there were tensions and differences of opinion over direction," Daniel said. "There's the clash between the underground vibe and the fact that it’s hard to play the underdog now. A handful of us need to act like grownups. We want to solve some tensions. The talk is about the direction of the organization."

What now, you ask?

First, Daniels hopes his talk stimulates useful discussion in Vegas. That discussion could provide the building locks for the future.

Next comes the goal to get federal non-profit status for B-Sides as a whole. Right now, several chapters have non-profit status within the areas they operate in, including London, all of Texas and Las Vegas.

"The good thing is that most of the organizers will be around next week (in Vegas) and we can have a bunch of conversations to figure out what people want and what we can accomplish," Daniel said.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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