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What top 3 things you enjoyed at your first DEF CON, and what would you have changed?

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  • What top 3 things you enjoyed at your first DEF CON, and what would you have changed?

    I am curious. What 3 things did you enjoy about your first DEF CON and knowing what you know now, would you have done any of them differently?

    1) I really enjoyed the two-way discussions between presenters and each audience: hecklers would heckle, people would be called on bad information, humorous comments from audience would be stated out-loud -- all were part of the con experience.

    2) There was only one speaker track, and everyone was there. I could pick a seat and camp-out all day.

    3) Discussions were open, and people would talk about anything with anyone.

    If I could change any one thing about my first DEF CON it would be some sort of magical air filtration system that would remove the cigarette smoke from the room, which would accumulate and fill the room with haze. As a non-smoker, I would cough-up black-to-brown phlegm in the weeks after con, as my body tried to eliminate the foreign particles from my lungs.

    What about you? What top 3 things did you enjoy the most from your first DEF CON?

    What would you have changed?

  • #2
    Just to clarify I was a minor when I first attended, this upcoming years conference will be my third year.

    1.) People want to talk to you. I was pretty taken aback by this and having people just walk up to you in the middle of a hallway when you're standing by a large floor decal was not something I was used to in normal life. The only thing I'd really change about this is being a bit more aware of whom I'm talking to and not being as naive.

    2.) Presentations and discussions were for the most part, an experience in and of itself. From people calling out on misinformation to providing an alternative solution to seeing speakers getting drunk with vodka on stage, that was pretty amusing as a minor. I would have, however, changed the way I went about the conference as I overloaded my schedule with presentations, did not have much room for socializing beyond a group I joined, didn't research the presenters as much, and learned my lesson when I was eating a burrito in a large track not sure where to go as a mass exodus of people happened. Now that's how you empty a room.

    3.) Found a group I felt liked I belonged in and feel safe in, knowing that I could awkwardly learn to socialize in it for years to come. This is the only thing I wouldn't change at all.

    Not being a minor anymore I definitely realize a lot of the people I met guarded me and in some ways, shielded me from other aspects of Defcon that maybe aren't so great when they found out my age. All in all, my first Defcon I credit with changing my life in a lot of ways I can't describe in a forum since that's a bit more idiotic to do so than I've already said and done. That's really it.


    • #3
      My first Defcon was a life changing experience. The top three things I enjoyed:
      1. Computer folks are an odd breed when mixed in society, but when amongst our own kind we flourish. I found everyone to be friendly, the old adage of a stranger being a friend you have not yet met. Just walk up to anyone and strike up a conversation over just about anything. Walk down the hall and see folks sitting on the floor with their laptops at the AP, you offer up a hub and share the port, and you're off on a good time.
      2. We can all learn. You never know who you are speaking with at Defcon! Authors, scientists, spies, hackers, coders, we all have the desire to learn and we all understand that knowledge comes from many sources. I see no one with attitudes of "I know more languages than you" but rather even seeing adults learning from kids. The Defcon Kids events have shown this to still continue.
      3. I have made lifelong friends through Defcon even more so that in other facets of life. Some of the people I met at that first Defcon are very good friends today. I've never made friends so fast in my life.


      • #4
        Not sure if I can post yet (I'll know in a moment) but I believe I will be able to go to the 2015 Defcon, which will be my first. I've read what I have found on the site, watched the videos, etc. but was especially excited to see this topic and see folks posting real-world intel about what I will see at the Con. Thank you to the posters thus far and, to the Defcon veterans that haven't posted yet, your input here is *greatly* appreciated.
        .: This post contains 100% recycled electrons :.