What a difference a year and a community make. I attended the first BSides Detroit last year and it was in stark contrast to Source Boston. I thought perhaps that was the nature of the local conferences. Then GrrCON opened my eyes to what was possible. I began to think of how we could raise the quality of BSides Detroit 12 to match events like Source and GrrCON. And I was invited to volunteer and ready to help organize the next event. Game on.
BSides Detroit 12 was every bit the event we set out to make it. 2 days, 2 tracks, 4 workshops, 32 speakers, all set to educate and engage some three hundred participants. The event was held in the GM Renaissance Center. We had climate controls, working audio/video, an evening reception, and we were every bit a full destination conference.
Being an organizer puts me in a tough spot. I typically write up a conference by calling out a few talks that I felt captured the gestalt of an event. How do I do that after spending six months podcasting with all the speakers? How do I feature some and leave others off, knowing each of the presenters as I do?
I tried a tack of thanking people who made this event. We had four organizers including myself, dozens of volunteers, sponsors, and many others who made this possible. My first few drafts resembled an Oscars Awards speech gone awry. While the tack does not work, the effort produced the real insight.
The #misec community is the main difference between last year and BSides Detroit 12. The podcast leading up to the event was organized by #misec regulars Chris J and Justin. Many of the talks were tested and tuned at #misec meet-ups. The three keynote speakers were all invites from #misec regulars, too, come to think of it. #misec led to some fantastic collaboration with GrrCON and BSides Chicago. And while some jokingly called this #misecon, we were out volunteering in force. This was our moment.
What difference does a community make? It makes for an event that is qualitatively and quantitatively better by any measure. It makes me awed and grateful for everyone's efforts. It also makes me very hopeful for the future.
BSides Detroit 12 Event Coverage
Detroit Hackers Fly Under Radar. "After spending a little time at BSides, I’m thinking that, not only could Arne Duncan use Payne’s counsel, but there are probably a number of non-IT fields that could benefit from a hacker’s ethos and insight."
Bsides Detroit - the day after (part 1) and the day after (part 2) by Keith Dixon (Tazdrumm3r). "Over all, Bsides was incredible and the organizers should be proud of what they accomplished. I know, I’m definitely going next year and can’t wait!"
BSides Detroit 2012 Wrap Up by Matt Johnson (mwjcomputing). "I had the honor to organize the #misec dinner the Thursday night before BSides Detroit. ... I decided to volunteer this year. Being friends with a few of the organizers, I only felt like it was appropriate. After this weekend, I think I am insane." Note Matt also has a great group photo of #misec guys threatening to hug me.
Be Inspired By Local Cons by Elizabeth Martin. "Each and every opportunity I have to interact with the many walks of life in the InfoSec community I am inspired to do more, collaborate more, listen more, contribute more, help more, etc."
BSidesDetroit - ConBlu, first try at presenting, by Scott Thomas (Secureholio). "I loved the venue, it was well laid out, there was quite a bit to do in the conference center itself, as well as having the hotel right there. The different tracks in different rooms made it easy to have hallway-con, as well as two tracks, a teaching area, and a lock-pick village. I really loved the set-up and the Detroit team did a great job with putting it together."
BSides Detroit 12 Sponsors