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  • How would you make Defcon better?

    I've done this once, each year, so let's start it up again this year:
    (Example from last year)

    How would you make Defcon better?

    Please provide constructive criticism for things you think are not as good as they could be, and suggest ways that these things could be improved. It is possible that your ideas may have been considered and maybe dismissed before. It is also possible that you have a new and original idea.

    Please, no flaming, or complaining unless you contribute to solutions and ideas.

    Thanks!

    Some examples:

    Raise cost of Defcon badge to be evenly divisible by $20 bills: ATM spit out $20 dollar bills, and the only denomination needed to make change if two $100 are offered is $20 bills -- no need for $50 dollar bills or $10 dollar bills. Simplifying currency and what is needed to make change could help speed the registration process. (People paying with $20 dollar bills provide denominations necessary for change when $100 bills are provided.) Move it to $160 instead of $150.

    Consider closing registration Saturday and not open on Sunday, then open for a few hours Wed. night for people that arrive early. This creates several complications:
    * Staffing people to work on Wednesday, and dealing with the return of black badges -- this would likely mean at least one person working on Sunday. :-/
    * Who would want to also work Sunday if Wed. night sales is added?
    * For goons that are at BlackHat, moving operation for Wed. night sales would likely be quite a bit of a crunch, and may not even be possible.

    For black badge token to get a free badge, consider taking $20 and a snail mail address for those that fail to pick up their black badges. The $20 goes to shipping and handling for those that forget, and those that remember get their badge and the $20 back. If the last day to buy badges is Saturday, then arrangements could be made to let people pick up their black badges after badge sales close on Saturday.

    SmartPhones are an effective replacement for radios when there is a need to broadcast an announcement to many "Human" attendees. With these, twitter provides attendees with a way to receive announcements....

    Speaker tracks and clearing rooms:
    If it does not exist, create a new twitter feed like, "Defcon_Talks," and announce through that as soon as it is known a room will have to be cleared of existing audience members before letting the next audience in.
    The same twitter feed could also announce last-minute changes in rooms, swaps in speakers, or other speaker-related content. Last-minute speaker-track changes were announced in the Information booth twitter feed, but maybe these could go into a separate feed?

    Information Booth: https://twitter.com/#!/dcib
    This was a good idea for last year, and I'd like to see it return. Maybe announce answers to questions that become FAQ, as well as the existing content. It would also be good for its existence to be announced long before Defcon and be in the program. It is a useful source of information.

    Security goons, or dispatch or both:
    Is there useful information that attendees could use as a twitter feed from one or both of these? Instead of repeating the same request in hallways, verbally, would it make sense to save your voices, and tweet directions to people on how they should line up, and what they should not do? Is there any kind of information that could be announced to decrease the distances you all have to walk while at Defcon? I totally understand how many security goons have a strong distaste of twitter, and when the crap hits the fan, your first thoughts are not, "OMG! I need to send out a tweet about this!" your first thoughts are resolution of problems, but not all problems are like this. Some problems are the same every year, with a need to re-educate the slow, or new, or uninformed.

    When video feed to rooms broke (as a result of power problem or network being unplugged, or something like this) last year, Lockheed tweeted an update on the feed being broken and let people know someone was working on fixing it. Without updates like this, and notices and updates, people watching presentations in their rooms may choose to visit the speaking track in-person, and further clog the hallways, or force the need to empty rooms between talks. Don't get me wrong here, when the video feeds broke, Lock was pretty responsive on twitter, but few people even knew to follow him to get updates, and without knowing that work was being done and a fix was coming soon. Without knowing the problem was being addressed, Defcon shut-ins might have left their rooms to grow the crowds in the public spaces, causing the problems we associate with, "too many people." (There is no need to break off a tangent here as complain about these people missing out on Defcon, or suggest that it might be good for these shut-ins to get out and socialize. We've discussed this before.)

    What are your ideas on how Defcon could be improved?

    What did you find as new from last year that you think should return?

    Is there anything that you saw last year, which could be improved, and you have ideas on how to improve it?

    What would make Defcon better, and how would you implement it?

    Do the suggestions above suck? If so, how do they suck, and how would you change them or improve them?

  • #2
    Re: How would you make Defcon better?

    Unfortunately wednesday badge sales would mean people would start lining up on wednesday. The volunteer goons staff definitely doesn't have enough manpower for this. We also want to enjoy defcon!

    It should definitely be $140 or $160. And the badge line needs to move about 10 times faster on thursday. Having only a few very slow workers wasn't nearly enough, they either need to serialize it (one person takes the cash, the next gives the badge, the next gives the lanyard, etc) or they need 50 people working (we'll make room.)

    Kallahar
    --- The fuck? Have you ever BEEN to Defcon?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How would you make Defcon better?

      Originally posted by kallahar View Post
      Unfortunately wednesday badge sales would mean people would start lining up on wednesday. The volunteer goons staff definitely doesn't have enough manpower for this. We also want to enjoy defcon!
      Ah yeah, and Wed. night start for security goons would impact the Pre-Defcon party, so the idea for Wed sales, is not good at all.

      It should definitely be $140 or $160. And the badge line needs to move about 10 times faster on thursday. Having only a few very slow workers wasn't nearly enough, they either need to serialize it (one person takes the cash, the next gives the badge, the next gives the lanyard, etc) or they need 50 people working (we'll make room.)
      A problem with serialized processing is it decreases the active points for sales, assuming equal number of people are used, and then all it takes are a few people that want to ask questions to slow down the process for everyone else waiting in line.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How would you make Defcon better?

        A couple of different things to look at to speed up the regestration would be to (yes i know it would take time predefcon) but maybe have the disks and programs and stickers and what not already presorted together if you didnt want to have the serialized lineup.As I noticed when i had purchased serveral badges the process took awhile because they had to go and grab the correct amount of everything. Secondly if you were buying more then one badge it took awhile to count and confirm money. and thirdly to address slow pokes slowing down the process have someone maybe walk the line to answer questions that way its all business once you get to the desk. While all these things take up a few seconds to most a minute they add up when you are selling as many badges that happen in the first day

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How would you make Defcon better?

          Originally posted by ButterSnatcher View Post
          A couple of different things to look at to speed up the regestration would be to (yes i know it would take time predefcon) but maybe have the disks and programs and stickers and what not already presorted together if you didnt want to have the serialized lineup.As I noticed when i had purchased serveral badges the process took awhile because they had to go and grab the correct amount of everything.
          This is a variation of the idea proposed by kallahar and by others. Historically, one limit to this that has been provided in the past is that many of the pieces which are part of each "package" that comes with the purchase of a defcon badge are often manufactured with very slim margins for error in delivery, and don't arrive much sooner than the first day of badge sales. There are many reasons for this, but one that is easy to understand is the need for accurate information in the program, and the scourge of last-minute contributors with last-minute changes to the program. Contents on the CD/DVD are similar to this. It sounds like a good idea to pre-make packages before sale, either before sales open or with people frantically building packages behind the sales desk(s). For such an effort, more trusted volunteers might be needed.

          Secondly if you were buying more then one badge it took awhile to count and confirm money. and thirdly to address slow pokes slowing down the process have someone maybe walk the line to answer questions that way its all business once you get to the desk. While all these things take up a few seconds to most a minute they add up when you are selling as many badges that happen in the first day
          I can imagine this:
          Code:
          Human: Do you take food stamps?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take Diners Club?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take AmazonBux?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take American Express?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take Visa?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take Mastercard?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take Bitcoin?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you take Discover?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you have AAA discount?
          Defcon Badge Sales: No discounts.
          Human: Do you have Caesars Entertainment discount?
          Defcon Badge Sales: No discounts.
          Human: Do you have AARP discount?
          Defcon Badge Sales: RARP?
          Human: No. AARP.
          Defcon Badge Sales: No discounts.
          Human: How much is it again?
          Defcon Badge Sales: $???.??
          Human: Do you accept checks?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Do you accept BitCoin?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Travelers' Cheques?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
          Human: Does this include my hotel room?
          Defcon Badge Sales: No.
          Human: I'm a journalist, reporting on your conference, why should I pay?
          Defcon Badge Sales: This is for sale of human badges. Journalists have another procedure and different line.
          Human: Ok, then I am also a speaker, shouldn't my badge be free?
          Defcon Badge Sales: you should follow the directions you were emailed on picking up your  badge.
          Human: I wasn't sent any email.
          Defcon Badge Sales: then how do you know you are a speaker?
          Human: Telepathy?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Nice try.
          Human: I'm personal friends with Jeff and have been a goon at defcon for 23 years.
          Defcon Badge Sales: Fail. No. Cash only.
          Human: I invented the Internet.
          Defcon Badge Sales: Are you Al Gore?
          Human. Yes?
          Defcon Badge Sales: Fail. No. Cash only.
          Human: can you charge this to my room?
          Defcon Badge Sales: No. Cash only.
          Human: why don't you pre-sell badges online?
          Defcon Badge Sales: because 10,000 people in Las Vegas claiming to be Al Gore is wrong.
          Human: Then I am a goon. I am Noid.
          Defcon Badge Sales: No.
          Human: Roamer?
          Defcon Badge Sales: No.
          Human: I am TechnoWeenie!
          Defcon Badge Sales: Really?
          Human: Yes!
          Defcon Badge Sales: (turns to another person to their left) Hey TW, are you this Human?
          TW: no.
          Defcon Badge Sales: (turns to Human) No.
          Human: Would you accept beer? (Offering a 12 pack)
          Defcon Badge Sales: (takes beer, places behind counter) I accept beer as a gift, but you still must pay $???.?? per badge.
          Human: What about my beer?
          Defcon Badge Sales: That is my beer; it was a gift you offered to me and I accepted.
          Human: I left my wallet in my room. Would you hold my place in line while I go get it?
          Defcon Badge Sales: No.
          Human: Oh wait. here it is. How much was it again?
          Defcon Badge Sales: $???.?? per badge.
          Human: (passes over cash.)
          Defcon Badge Sales: (hands over badge, program CD/DVD, papers)
          Human: Where is speaker track 1?
          Defcon Badge Sales: check your program.
          Human: What time does $EVENT start?
          Defcon Badge Sales: check your program.
          Human: Where can I find copies of powerpoint presentations or PDF about or slides from presentations?
          Defcon Badge Sales: check your CD/DVD
          .......
          TheCotMan
          *****Retired *****
          Last edited by TheCotMan; March 20, 2012, 02:01.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How would you make Defcon better?

            I cannot believe you typed all of that.
            |

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How would you make Defcon better?

              Or maybe have the "badge" line be badge only, you can get the CD, etc from a separate area at any time. Possibly people would abuse it and get *horrors* TWO programs, but I think it's worth the risk.

              Another idea was to have reg people walk the line for people with exact change, etc and sell the badge right there, but you probably don't want someone walking around with a backpack full of badges...

              Kallahar
              --- The fuck? Have you ever BEEN to Defcon?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                Originally posted by kallahar View Post
                Or maybe have the "badge" line be badge only, you can get the CD, etc from a separate area at any time. Possibly people would abuse it and get *horrors* TWO programs, but I think it's worth the risk.

                Another idea was to have reg people walk the line for people with exact change, etc and sell the badge right there, but you probably don't want someone walking around with a backpack full of badges...

                Kallahar
                That's not a bad idea. I have never been, but I can image the chaos and frustration from the conversation here. Having a group of two or three regs walk the line in search of people with exact change would work. (groups should aleaviate some of the worry of someone snatching a bag full of badges or someone giving them out for free) It should be done at intervals to chop up the line. Like I said. I have never been, this is my first time. Just tossing in my 2 cents worth.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                  Code:
                  Human: Do you take food stamps?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take Diners Club?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take AmazonBux?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take American Express?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take Visa?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take Mastercard?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take Bitcoin?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you take Discover?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you have AAA discount?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No discounts.
                  Human: Do you have Caesars Entertainment discount?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No discounts.
                  Human: Do you have AARP discount?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: RARP?
                  Human: No. AARP.
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No discounts.
                  Human: How much is it again?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: $???.??
                  Human: Do you accept checks?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Do you accept BitCoin?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Travelers' Cheques?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Cash only.
                  Human: Does this include my hotel room?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No.
                  Human: I'm a journalist, reporting on your conference, why should I pay?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: This is for sale of human badges. Journalists have another procedure and different line.
                  Human: Ok, then I am also a speaker, shouldn't my badge be free?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: you should follow the directions you were emailed on picking up your  badge.
                  Human: I wasn't sent any email.
                  Defcon Badge Sales: then how do you know you are a speaker?
                  Human: Telepathy?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Nice try.
                  Human: I'm personal friends with Jeff and have been a goon at defcon for 23 years.
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Fail. No. Cash only.
                  Human: I invented the Internet.
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Are you Al Gore?
                  Human. Yes?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Fail. No. Cash only.
                  Human: can you charge this to my room?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No. Cash only.
                  Human: why don't you pre-sell badges online?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: because 10,000 people in Las Vegas claiming to be Al Gore is wrong.
                  Human: Then I am a goon. I am Noid.
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No.
                  Human: Roamer?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No.
                  Human: I am TechnoWeenie!
                  Defcon Badge Sales: Really?
                  Human: Yes!
                  Defcon Badge Sales: (turns to another person to their left) Hey TW, are you this Human?
                  TW: no.
                  Defcon Badge Sales: (turns to Human) No.
                  Human: Would you accept beer? (Offering a 12 pack)
                  Defcon Badge Sales: (takes beer, places behind counter) I accept beer as a gift, but you still must pay $???.?? per badge.
                  Human: What about my beer?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: That is my beer; it was a gift you offered to me and I accepted.
                  Human: I left my wallet in my room. Would you hold my place in line while I go get it?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: No.
                  Human: Oh wait. here it is. How much was it again?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: $???.?? per badge.
                  Human: (passes over cash.)
                  Defcon Badge Sales: (hands over badge, program CD/DVD, papers)
                  Human: Where is speaker track 1?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: check your program.
                  Human: What time does $EVENT start?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: check your program.
                  Human: Where can I find copies of powerpoint presentations or PDF about or slides from presentations?
                  Defcon Badge Sales: check your CD/DVD
                  .......
                  ^^^^^THAT SHIT!!! I can see all of that happening. And Noid is the only goon who has been gooning for 23 years that I know of.


                  My main suggestion is the question/human service/info booth be EXTREMELY WELL LABELED so people are going directly to them rather than stopping random goons, black and red shirts, to get the info. It makes the security goons job harder with having to watch X attendees, keep traffic flowing, make sure drunk guy is being a safe drunk, etc. etc. etc.

                  Also, the reg staff could use a lot more help to do all things suggested and get that down to a T. They are doing the best they can with the staff they got but for the numbers that Defcon is getting, things gotta grow I think.
                  Saving the world one computer at a time...

                  or possibly destroying, I haven't figured that out yet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                    Originally posted by b0n3z View Post
                    And Noid is the only goon who has been gooning for 23 years that I know of.
                    That is because noid and a few other goons have time machines and re-attended a few Defcon over again to change history and save the world. (Spelling this out for those of you that do not understand: 23 years is more years than there have been Defcon.)

                    My main suggestion is the question/human service/info booth be EXTREMELY WELL LABELED so people are going directly to them rather than stopping random goons, black and red shirts, to get the info. It makes the security goons job harder with having to watch X attendees, keep traffic flowing, make sure drunk guy is being a safe drunk, etc. etc. etc.

                    Also, the reg staff could use a lot more help to do all things suggested and get that down to a T. They are doing the best they can with the staff they got but for the numbers that Defcon is getting, things gotta grow I think.
                    There were many, many signs at Defcon last year. I took pictures of many of them. How would you have improved the existing signs? (not trolling here: we're trying to solve problems. :-)

                    Something to help with the Questions might be to place an info booth near the front of the line so people can yell out questions and get answers before they pay for a badge.
                    "Ask your Defcon questions before you try to pay for your badge."

                    If we had a FAQ from info-booth and badge sales people, and there were only a few questions, they could be printed on a sign, with corresponding answers.
                    TheCotMan
                    *****Retired *****
                    Last edited by TheCotMan; March 21, 2012, 17:15.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                      Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                      If we had a FAQ from info-booth and badge sales people, and there were only a few questions, they could be printed on a sign, with corresponding answers.
                      faq.ppt running on the LCDs mixed in with the promo video?
                      |

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                        Originally posted by wrøng! View Post
                        faq.ppt running on the LCDs mixed in with the promo video?
                        That could work. Fit them all to appear with Question and answer, display them all within 3 minutes then play a random video form the old "DC TV Filler archive" that Deviant maintained for a while. Such a thing could play 50 feet before the infobooth and be torn-down after the first day of ticket sales. Randomizing the selection of video between "FAQ/Q&A Commercials" would encourage people to watch and read.

                        New directions could be added, like:
                        * Line of badges stay to the left
                        * Make a hole on the right for people returning.
                        * Buy beer for goons

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                          Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                          That is because noid and a few other goons have time machines and re-attended a few Defcon over again to change history and save the world. (Spelling this out for those of you that do not understand: 23 years is more years than there have been Defcon.)
                          For those that need the explanation you aren't learning fast enough. For those that went along with it, you know.

                          Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                          There were many, many signs at Defcon last year. I took pictures of many of them. How would you have improved the existing signs? (not trolling here: we're trying to solve problems. :-)
                          Maybe bigger signs? This is definitely something to be thought out and tested because people would be right next to the info booth and have no clue there WAS an info booth. Or you could put crazy lights and such (spinning police style with lasers and smoke and bullets) that draws everyones attention when they first walk down to the rotunda. Ok, the lights was serious at least.

                          Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                          Something to help with the Questions might be to place an info booth near the front of the line so people can yell out questions and get answers before they pay for a badge.
                          "Ask your Defcon questions before you try to pay for your badge."

                          If we had a FAQ from info-booth and badge sales people, and there were only a few questions, they could be printed on a sign, with corresponding answers.
                          I agree with this one. The info booth crew walking up and down the reg line yelling out for questions would be helpful I'm sure. I can attest that when you start yelling at a line of people, they pay attention (even if you don't have a military voice). Along with that, if an FAQ could be made up and put in the hallway (maybe by the exit doors between reg and penn and teller?) than as people are walking by and waiting in line they can take the time to get most questions answered and know where to go if they have MORE questions.
                          Saving the world one computer at a time...

                          or possibly destroying, I haven't figured that out yet.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                            Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                            That could work. Fit them all to appear with Question and answer, display them all within 3 minutes then play a random video form the old "DC TV Filler archive" that Deviant maintained for a while. Such a thing could play 50 feet before the infobooth and be torn-down after the first day of ticket sales. Randomizing the selection of video between "FAQ/Q&A Commercials" would encourage people to watch and read.

                            New directions could be added, like:
                            * Line of badges stay to the left
                            * Make a hole on the right for people returning.
                            * Buy beer for goons
                            That could go along with my above idea of being in the hallway next to the doors possibly.
                            Saving the world one computer at a time...

                            or possibly destroying, I haven't figured that out yet.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How would you make Defcon better?

                              I agree with all the comments on the info booth!

                              Last year there was an additional info booth down the "Lambada room" area (kidcon, press, workshops, etc..) It really seemed to help out and kept things flowing really nicely down at that end. So that shows the value of additional INFO areas. I realize it's a manpower thing and the Info booth team does an amazing job with the limited resources they have, but it sure would be nice if they had a setup somehow closer to the line on the real busy badge sale days.

                              Comment

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