23 Aug 2014, 21:24

Why do I do DefCon?


For some reason, I’m in a reflective mode, so this entry is going to be a bit on the narcissistic and cathartic side. Feel free to pass on this one as it’s mostly for me.

Just spent the last few weeks doing a bit of conferences and running around. This is that fine time of year for me where I’m away more than I’m present. It definitely takes its toll, both physically and mentally. A lot of the time, I don’t get to see talks, I don’t end up at parties (my choice), I don’t end up passed out drunk (only so much when you limit yourself to frufru drinks), and I don’t end up with anything interesting to show of it. At the same time, I put up with some assholes, and some people who aren’t too sure what they’re doing (to put it nicely).

So why do I do it?

I have to admit that I started it just to be a part of it. To be able to say that I was big and badass. I’ve always like the CyberPunk motif and to be a part of it is such a feeling. It’s not necessarily the best reason, but I have to admit to myself and others as to why.

As I said, I’m not really in it for the parties, or the debauchery (well, I could be talked into that one ;)), or the interaction with thousands of people, or the purposeful trolling.

For me, the best reason I think of is that it’s really about the doing. Seeing what you can accomplish. Digging under the surface and seeing more than what others see. Finding out. Exploring. Basically, a bunch of the fun stuff that people ascribe to the “hacker ethos.” I consider myself a lifetime learner and tinkerer, and this reinforces it. From the world class expert telling the world what she knows, to the newbie who is just there to find out why he can find, it’s all there.

I think I finally heard it this year. Not sure why it took me this long, but there’s a focus on The Community. DefCon is a conference that is better because of the attendees. If you show up, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be participating, and not just watching. If you’re just watching, you’re watching the other attendees as much as any organizer. As organizers, we’re there to create the space so that you can give all you want to give.

We want you to have fun.

I want to have fun. And I have fun by doing. So, that’s why I do DefCon.

I think one of the big things for me to work on over the coming years is to be more a part of The Community, and the family. Not sure how to make that happen, but something about the first step being recognize it.

One last call out. To my fellow goons, those that I know and those that I don’t, I salute you. Everyone of you impress me and inspire me to be a better goon.