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Economy and Defcon- Question

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  • Economy and Defcon- Question

    I have been discussing this with a co-worker-

    How do you think the current economic state of the world will effect Defcon?

    * The number of attendees?

    * Likelyhood of spending while at the conference?

    Some arguments we've had:

    fewer people will come (due to $$$) vs. more people will come due to the low cost of the conference vs other conferences

    Will more people attend Defcon because they can't get their company to pay for BH?

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

    I think that attendance will level off, maybe even drop a bit. It did the same thing after the dot com bubble.

    Anyone who really wants to go isn't going to let much stop them. Spending will be down though the drinking will go up.

    I think there will be a slight shift in the demographics away from looky-loo security types to those with the passion (not that the 2 are mutually exclusive)

    I think BH will suffer more due to it's cost and time off in the middle of the week. Defcon is cheap and since it's mostly weekend, easier to justify the time.

    Just my $0.02
    Never drink anything larger than your head!





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    • #3
      Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

      I've had this discussion with several people. My thoughts are this:

      I suspect Black Hat attendance will be down this year as its an expensive package for a company to pick up. Not saying it isn't a value for the money, but its more expenditure per person than a lot of companies want on the books at a time when the bosses are looking at EVERY line item and questioning everything the don't agree with. Heck my company doesn't even want to fly me to other facilities that we own..for work related reasons..

      Defcon, however, will remain unaffected in terms of attendance. One, Defcon is cheap. Cheap rooms, cheap drinks, cheap admission, all with maximum value for your hard earned monies. Second, Defcon isn't some boondoggle conference for business jerks (I would argue that BH isnt either, but I can see where some may get the impression it is, plus other events of that nature are), Defcon is somewhat of a pilgrimage. Sure we may lose some of the spectators that look at attending Defcon in the same terms as visiting the circus, but we'll get the attendees that actually contribute to the conference. I think at this point that Defcon's attendance will only be affected by the perceived value of the conference rather than the economy.

      I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

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      • #4
        Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

        So far I've paid for both con's(shmoo and this defcon) out of pocket. I've never been able to afford it before, and am taking personal time for both as well. We've cut IT travel time to our remote locations to one trip every 6 weeks, there's no way in hell they'd pay for me to attend.

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        • #5
          Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

          I'm guessing about a 1,000 to 2,000 people less this year, in part because Black Hat attendance will be down due to the economy, and a large percentage of them attend.

          Also it makes sense that a down economy means less $$, which == less attendees. Sure we are inexpensive compared to other cons, but you still need to fly, sleep, eat, and we can't control those costs.
          PGP Key: https://defcon.org/html/links/dtangent.html

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          • #6
            Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

            Originally posted by Dark Tangent View Post
            I'm guessing about a 1,000 to 2,000 people less this year, in part because Black Hat attendance will be down due to the economy, and a large percentage of them attend.

            Also it makes sense that a down economy means less $$, which == less attendees. Sure we are inexpensive compared to other cons, but you still need to fly, sleep, eat, and we can't control those costs.
            Well, in a way you can. For example, you got the Riv to drop their room rate for us because we're a pretty big deal to them. Getting to Vegas (domestically anyways) is cheap as the city wants you to come visit to spend money. While the economy is down right now compared to last year, I think you could do Defcon cheaper than ever before.

            I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

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            • #7
              Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

              There were 3 people near me that expressed interest in going. They had never been to Defcon, and they are not going. They changed their minds a few months back.

              One guy that was a, "maybe," and had been to 3 other Defcon was not able to go because of a merger, and vacation contention with the people in the other company, and other problems dealing with integrating 2 companies.

              Another guy that has been to a few Defcon was interested, but can't get time off work because of the economy.

              I have a confirmation from one guy that will be going.

              The count of people going to Defcon this year with me is lower than I expected, and is probably because of the economy.

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              • #8
                Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                well I've always paid out of pocket, so no bh for me ever :(

                but I do plan on attending defcon and since my wife is going to be with me (not at the con) I had to get a suite at encore....looks like I'll be spending A LOT more this time round
                Network Jesus died for your SYN

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                • #9
                  Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                  I don't know about anyone else, but I normally pay to get to Defcon. I do this partly because what I do there, I don't want my company paying for and then expecting me to be a representative of the business and partly because the economy hasn't killed my spare funds just yet. I do expect attendance to be down, but I don't think it will take away from Defcon or anything. I may be able to traverse a hallway by going in a straight line- though I doubt it.
                  ----------------------------------------
                  Fraternal Order of Locksport

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                  • #10
                    Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                    Tough to call, DT makes a good point that if BH attendance is down, DC attendance will take a hit in turn, but I doubt we'll see a huge drop in attendance. I think we'll see more fast food than sit-down restaurants from attendees, and more back-pack booze as opposed to bar hopping. We shall see.
                    "You have cubed asscheeks?"... "Do you not?"

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                    • #11
                      Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                      We are bringing a group of 10 from South Dakota. Just two of us attended last year (1st CON) and thought it was great, so out students fund-raised all year to pay for their trip.

                      Working crap jobs for 9 months isn't really that fun for them, but they are happy when they get the money they've earned.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                        I know personally for me that the economy tanking is a big reason I'm not going to make it this year. I had a whole carpool planned and slowly but surely people started dropping out. One lost his job, another couldn't find a job to pay for this. The way I had it figured out, it would of been cheaper to drive than to fly from Florida with gas estimates higher than it is now. My worn was going to pay for my ticket (just the ticket) but because of a budget crunch there is a moritorium on out of state conferences. I can't even get them to pay for me to go to the Orlando Checkpoint conference the weekend of defcon. I have to crash at someone's house and pay my own way. Tl;dr it's a huge freaking mess.
                        "As Arthur C Clarke puts it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Here is my corollary: "Any sufficiently technical expert is indistinguishable from a witch"."

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                        • #13
                          Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                          The economic downturn is definitely having an effect on corporate spending for things like this. Our travel and training budgets have been greatly reduced this year and most requests have been rejected. I was only able to get approval to send 2 of our penetration testers to Defcon this year and none to Black Hat.

                          That said, our guys all recognize the importance of attending the Con to keep their skills sharp. Most of us have taken vacation time and our making the trip on our own dime.

                          --Rover
                          Don't sweat it -- it's not real life. It's only ones and zeroes. (Spaf)


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                          • #14
                            Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                            Originally posted by Rover View Post

                            That said, our guys all recognize the importance of attending the Con to keep their skills sharp. Most of us have taken vacation time and our making the trip on our own dime.

                            --Rover
                            What con are you going to? After con I'm not usually that sharp...
                            Never drink anything larger than your head!





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                            • #15
                              Re: Economy and Defcon- Question

                              Ironically, this is the first year I get to go to BH/Defcon since I moved to the Midwest. I thought for sure our training budget was canceled but I lucked out and get to go since I haven't had any training in 3 years. I used to be able to drive to it when I was in LA but now that isn't an option. My condolences to everyone looking forward to not seeing me again. I promise to wear pants this time.

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