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  • #16
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    I have to agree that DC has not yet outgrown the riv. The crowds on the first day were nuts BUT as Surreal said they were handled well afterwards. Keep in mind that the organizers weren't expecting this onslaught, they believed there would be less people this year however there were actually a lot more which also explains the badge and program situation. I think once the goons programmed people's brains to "keep right" it went pretty well.

    Also,

    - I have to say the music during the whole con was amazing. I bought several CD's and am trying to locate more music, the DJ's did a fantastic job!

    - Adam Savage was a helluva lineup but was WELL worth it! He even wants to come back next year according to what he said during the Q&A. How great would it be to have Mythbusters do a myth at Defcon?? Or enter the beverage cooling contest? :)

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

      Let me start by saying DT and Crew, you are amazing and put on an awesome show.

      I was finally able to make it to Defcon this year.. Yes it was my first one even though I live here in Vegas. -- Pitiful I agree.

      Agreeing with most of the above, I have a few points & suggestion to make from a local prospective.


      Defcon has most definitely out-grown the Riv, reiterating the previous statements; the Riv's conference center isn't big enough.

      I was very un-impressed with the Riv, from cars being broken into, limited parking, valet being closed, and general lack of upkeep (and rather dirty), it looks as if they will be following many others and filing bankruptcy soon.

      If your contract is up, (even if not, just from the above stated problems, it’s easily breakable) there are many quality opportunities available, especially with our current local economy.

      Having 10 - 15k attendees, gives you a lot of "high roller status - in the show world" especially now.

      Raising the price?

      Granted I am not a college student, however I am still amazed at what value I received for $120.

      DT & Crew, props to you' all, I guess you don't make a dime for your efforts, that’s not cool either. You don't owe me and the other guests, this spectacular event, for nothing, just because you can.

      Living here in Vegas I have the opportunity to see many shows, this show was by far the best, and cheapest, the average show starting price is over a grand.

      As pointed out above, Blackhat was about 2k just for the main event, with its average session being 3k.

      So do I think a price increase is in order - yup. At $300 it’s still cheaper then everything except maybe your local home town craft shows.

      In regards to the talk lines and badges, I realize it is very difficult to guess how many peeps are showing up, and over ordering badges would really hurt the budget; Maybe at least some kind of anonymous indications of those attending could be done -i.e. through the forums, or something similar.

      The same could be done when the speakers get posted, this way the extremely popular talks could be scheduled for multiple days/times, this helps on room counts, as well as, the problem of 2 competing sessions, which for me there was a lot of them.

      I Have other ideas for the materials (cd, booklets, badges, etc) as well, can discuss directly if interested.

      Lastly I close with this message to DT & Crew:

      I am a local executive in Vegas, I am happy to help in any way, i.e., meeting/negotiating with the Casino-Hotel-Conference Centers management for a new location, or any other numerous tasks that could benefit from you having a local presence, just let me know!

      Thanks again for the great show.

      jasen

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

        This year was my first visit to DEFCON so I can't really compare it to previous years but I do have some things to say.

        Firstly, as a speaker I felt very well looked after and the goon (sorry with the pre talk nerves I missed your name!) who looked after me was superb. He, and others, actually made me feel welcomed as a speaker and that my time and effort was very appreciated - other conferences I've spoken at definitely do not do this as well as DEFCON.

        Secondly I would have to agree with the points on crowding. Saturday didn't seem too bad but Friday must have been verging on the dangerous in some of the hallways. A larger venue is probably needed in my opinion.

        Last point from me is that overall I thought it was very well run. I enjoyed the feeling of it being a "do whatever you want" conference. I don't mean "do whatever you want" in terms of fighting, stealing etc - I mean that there was so many different choices of things to do it allows people the freedom of choice to build their own personal conference agendas.

        I have been to many conferences where there isn't much to do and you are expected to attend a talk at all times on one track or another.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

          I think that the Riv is a relatively neat venue, but I do feel that we've outgrown it. Even if nothing else, the hallways alone are a deathtrap waiting to happen. I heard all the piles of thanks heaped upon Riv staff at closing ceremonies, but the few interactions I witnessed - such as 5 security guards swarming a guy and then swarming away in 3 minutes (ie it couldnt have been that big of a deal), they're still no saints. And I'm sure that there are a lot of concessions made for us, but goddamnit, there should be. We're a big con, and not only that, we're one that, from what I can see, spends more money at the venue than a lot of other groups. The Riviera, especially considering their situation, should be on their hands and knees thanking us, as far as I'm concerned.

          Anyway, re: price jump...I remember when we hit $100. I wasn't all too happy. But what's it at now, $120? I don't think we even need to jump to $200. I'd be willing to bet going to, say, $160/head would net us a lot of money to play with, and not run anyone away from buying a badge. Frankly, even though I feel like I should already get it at $120, I'd be willing to pay extra to not have to fight as much to see the talks I want, etc. And how about pre-registration? Is there a reason why this is impossible? Sounds like a good idea...Jeff can get a better idea of what attendance will be like, have some early money on hand to pay for things like having badges made, and the lines to buy badges can be reduced drastically. (PS, how come I can pretty much get a badge every year, but never a lanyard...especially the "real" one?!)

          All that being said, I like Defcon. I'll continue to go. No matter how good it is, I'll continue to bitch...feel free to ignore me. :)

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

            Getting the talks onto the closed circuit within the rooms, as we had before at AP, would be very welcomed. People staying at the hotel could opt to see the talks remotely and also reduce the mosh slightly.

            I met a couple of new con-goers who were exited to be there but gave feedback to me that although it was a great value, it was unrealized due to the melee they'd have to endure to get through the halls to get to the conf areas. They seemed keen on checking out smaller cons to be able to engage in more of the offerings in the future.

            My perception was that although there was a grand effort at managing through the choas, that there are some fundamental issues with space and configuration that will not likely improve. The process can be tweaked, but the walls are not going to move.

            LineCons are likely a huge PITA for both the goons and hotel staff to deal with. Time at con is too valuable to spend significant time in lines. Im my case, I just changed my plans and moved to a less popular topic area; trying to get something out of it, even if it were not a talk I might have considered until I had little choice.

            The Riv.. can kiss my white arse :) We are customers and they should try to internalize it. I watched Rollercon attendee's act out (huge understatement) in scenes at their host hotel and were not messed with as far as I could witness. There were far fewer of them, but they were far more crazy than the lion's share of DC attendees. In fairness, if they had the number of attendees that DC had, they'd likely destroy their hotel.

            Hope this isnt coming across as being hugely negative about the con or to appear to be unbalanced. No disrespect intended to the DC people who made this work out. It's an epic challenge.
            If a chicken and a half, can lay an egg and a half, in a day and a half... how long would it take a monkey, with a wooden leg, to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle?

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

              Originally posted by goathead View Post
              there are some fundamental issues with space and configuration that will not likely improve. The process can be tweaked, but the walls are not going to move.
              I agree with this 100% as the root cause of the crowding problem.
              "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                Well, I don't think any of us expected the massive influx of attendees this year, and most of who I talked to were first timers, and growth is always a good thing. However, a good number of first timers I spoke with implied they would not have come had it not been for Adam Savage, which is disheartening to say the least.

                With crowds and lines as they were, I too modified my itinerary of talks to avoid some of the more grueling lines, but I don't think it was completely unmanageable, nor was it handled poorly.

                As far as procedurally, The badges would have been no different from any other year had they shown up at the hotel on time. Being one of the first 15 or so in line, it was the same old same old, line is short, look up it's damn near to the ABC store. Yes it was kind of crappy having to go back and get a real badge, but even that was handled well from what I experienced. Now the swag booth, from what I understand got 100x better after I got done. but being 1st in line, my group and the 20 or so behind us were kind of the guinnea pigs, with shirts mistagged as far as the "item numbers" were concerned, prices not matching up in the registers vs the tags, and hotel staff who literally couldn't find the "5" key on the register if it was right in front of them. Only suggestion I can gove is the blatantly obvious one of make sure everything's correct on prior to opening up shop.

                I think the goons and staff ran things well and adapted even better with the crowds, and dammit I had fun, and just to beat a dead horse a little more "by Christmas!"
                "You have cubed asscheeks?"... "Do you not?"

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                  It would be interesting to know if DEFCON is locked into the Riv for the next couple of years or if moving to a bigger venue is possible for DEFCON 18. While we all want it to operate smoother, it may be a moot point if we are set at the Riv for the coming year(s).

                  I don't know my Vegas hotels well enough to know which would make a suitable home for the CON if moving was a viable alternative. Perhaps the locals and/or informed peeps can provide some thoughts.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                    I think since DEFCON "started" on THUR instead of FRI caused such a lot o f the THRU/FRI crush. Who knows next year the extra 2-4k of people might not come. Its hard to plan for this event as it is a cash on the spot kind of event and there is no reason to do a pre-reg as that takes away from the "no names of who attended" methodology. I spent 99% of my CON time vol in the HHV and up there the crowd was okay. I think we were filled to cap almost all day long on day 1 and 2 and thats the way it should be. For me the crowds are just the way DEFCON is. I do agree it seems the hallways are too tight an there almost needs to be a re-routeing of traffic during peak times. Remember DEFCOn 14 when we did not have the entire venue? Also where the skyboxes were this year in the CON flow you did not need a badge to gain access so I wonder if there were any bootleggers? Seems the RIV staff overlooked that part of the con for doing badge checks.

                    Also it seemed to me (looking down from the HHV skybox that there was a lot of wasted space in the contest area.. while the vender area was jam packed. Maybe that space could be used better, who knows. I am sure DT and the crew will the planning DC 18 based on what happened this year and those of us that attend DC reg. will be back.

                    So if this is rambling as I am in DC recovery mode.

                    BombNav

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                      Nav,

                      The contest area is completely full at times, and not at others.....

                      LosT

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                        Lost, I did not get too many chances to get up to take a look out plus I was full of solder smoke most of the time. I only made it down there once for food and I have no idea what day or time that was.... time really flies in the HHV. I suspect you spent the CON in the contest area so you have the first hand knowledge from the trenches.

                        So we have 4 types of crowds.

                        1. the talks crowds
                        2. the village crowds
                        3. the contest crowds
                        4. the nomads



                        So really the CON is what it is. I think the large crowds are just a part of it. Rather have the crowd than for it to be empty!

                        QUOTE=LosT;107790]Nav,

                        The contest area is completely full at times, and not at others.....

                        LosT[/QUOTE]

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                          Originally posted by sintax_error View Post
                          a good number of first timers I spoke with implied they would not have come had it not been for Adam Savage, which is disheartening to say the least.
                          I'm a first time con-goer and didn't even know he was going to be there until i looked at the track schedule to see what all the fuss was about :) lol

                          Were the people you are referring to actually interested in the rest of the con, or just a MythBusters fan club? ... really unfortunate if they weren't even interested in what the entire even was about.

                          Originally posted by sintax_error View Post
                          and hotel staff who literally couldn't find the "5" key on the register if it was right in front of them.
                          It was hotel staff running the swag booth? That explains a lot.

                          My company paid for my trip, and my boss came with, and even he made a comment about "half the people here could probably build a cash register from scratch, and they can't find two people that can run one" lol

                          As for my comments/suggestions
                          - Pro: The mexican place in the food court had 50oz margaritas ... :)
                          - Con: Lack of space. :(
                          - Pro: I never knew I could learn as much as I did, and have a blast doing it :)
                          - Con: The food @ The Riviera's buffet ... I didn't know that a Las Vegas casino had 63 different ways to prepare gruel. (Stayed @ The Bellagio ... didn't eat there either, couldn't afford the $50 steak, and $12 sides lol)

                          Definitely coming back next year whether my company pays for it or not, it was great times. I also wouldn't mind the fee going up slightly if it means easier crowd control.


                          Off-topic: Did any of you guy catch a glance of the Riv's security guard I dubbed 'Social Security' ? I think his age was as high as the temperatures... He must have been Security's dedicated hitter, and called someone else to do his running.


                          Edit: I read somewhere earlier in this thread the talks given will be available in mp4 (i think) format coming up at some point in the near future? Where will I be able to find these?

                          -Rob
                          Last edited by netstat; August 4, 2009, 00:33. Reason: added question

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            About the "narrow" hallways.

                            Observation: There were times in the hallways when it occurred to me that I was in a potential deathtrap.

                            When the Goons started the "keep to the right!" campaign that helped a lot. However, there were still frequent clusterfucks when people/groups would suddenly decide that the hallway was a good place to stop and have a conversation, watch a video on a laptop, examine the schedule, etc.

                            Keep the "Keep to the right!" campaign but add "Keep moving! DO NOT stop to talk until you're out of the hall!" (yelled in your very best Goon / Drill Sgt. voice)

                            Surreal

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                            • #29
                              Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                              Originally posted by netstat View Post
                              Edit: I read somewhere earlier in this thread the talks given will be available in mp4 (i think) format coming up at some point in the near future? Where will I be able to find these?
                              Like previous years, it will take many months. The Sound of Knowledge (TSOK) video records the presentations, and sells them. Sometimes people that buy these illegally put them on youtube after they get them. A while later, often several months after con, the videos are put up on the defcon servers.

                              The difficult thing will be knowing where to check for the announcement. Usually, an announcement appears on the forums, but can also appear on the defcon RSS feed, and now, maybe even the twitter feed using the #defcon hash or just from the _defcon_ account.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                                I attended DefCon for the first time travelling all the way from Australia and have to in general say that I was fabulously impressed. Also, I was given a free ride in the sense that I didn't have enough money from my vacation to really attend the proper con but was given everything secondhand from all of you wonderful people in the suites and hotel who were willing to chat with me. I did contribute by helping the goons in anyway possible and would like to be a GPA (GOON PERSONAL ASSISTANT) again next year :)

                                What I was shocked, disgusted, and HIGHLY disturbed by was the unwillingness of any of my vendors who I work with in OZ making any effort to engage the Security community at this conference. For my part, I intend to send out several proposals for NON-INTRUSIVE ways my executive friends could engage this conference. I will be speaking to both Cisco & Commvault (not about anything I learned obviously) and letting them know how some of their competitors made them look like complete tools.

                                Any ideas would be appreciated. I will definitely be back next year with the funds to attend the full conference, just hanging around and squatting had me HIGHLY intrigued.

                                cheers,
                                poofta.
                                poofta - gottestod
                                ----
                                Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

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