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  • Defcon cost and sponsorship

    Hi, I am from europe and I am planning visiting defcon in a few years time, hopefuly by 2020. The thing is, it's just too expensive to just decide I am going to defcon, I have to plan everything few years in advance. Just plane tickets are around 3 thousand euros, and I have to get to Prague first (which is 8 hours train trip), then fly from Prague to London and from London to Vegas. On top of those 3 grand I need to pay for room and food, since I don't believe I am allowed to carry food for a week (more like a 5 days) in 2 planes..

    On top of that is Defcon entry fee, booze money and money for stuff (t-shirts, badges, stickers gadgets etc., a vendor area stuff). And together that is a hell lot of money. I will have to cut down as much as I can, and first thing I got in mind as an idea is to apply a call for papers, try to get a talk approved. That would cut down 250$ and add another 300$ or 3 people badges which I can then sell for lets say 200$ a piece, or bring some friends.. or, ask an IT company in my country and try to get a sponsorship from them.

    Thing is, I don't know if that is allowed, to come to defcon as sponsored speaker and advertise a company at the start and end of my talk, wear their t-shirt etc. That kind of deal could help financialy, but I don't wanna break any rules. And the second thing I would like to ask people who alredy visited defcon, what are the average prices of alcohol in vegas (mostly vodka and whiskey) non alcoholic drinks (mineral water, juices, coke, energy drinks) what are the prices of food in fast foods, restaurants etc, and mostly what are tre prices of interesting stuff in vendors area so I can plan on that aswell.. thanx all for help. Havran
    =People are nothing more than a means to an end.. A stepping stones to a greater goals..=

  • #2
    Havran228

    For food and drink your best bet is going to a local store, there's an Albertsons (3.6 miles) that you can get to by bus from Caesers. There are ice machines on most floors and you can have styrofoam coolers in your room. You can eat and drink whatever you want at very low cost if you do this. You should share a room at Caesers since the room rates are >$250 a night for Defcon 25.

    There are parties and events that are sponsored in the evenings and these usually include some free drinks and occasionally, snacks. Check for parties and RSVP in advance.

    Using hotel shuttles can get you around Vegas for free, but most of the action will be at the convention hotel. I've seen speakers freely announce the company they work for, and I think I've seen one or two mention that they helped pay for their trip to Defcon. If you watch some of the older videos you can see speakers doing this.

    T-Shirts go from $5, mean price is $20. Donations to organizations like EFF are about $40 for a T-shirt. A fair amount of free stickers floating around. Hardware varies from cheaper than online to more expensive than online, depending on the vendor and the product.

    Hope this helps.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Havran228 View Post
      Thing is, I don't know if that is allowed, to come to defcon as sponsored speaker and advertise a company at the start and end of my talk, wear their t-shirt etc. That kind of deal could help financialy, but I don't wanna break any rules. And the second thing I would like to ask people who alredy visited defcon, what are the average prices of alcohol in vegas (mostly vodka and whiskey) non alcoholic drinks (mineral water, juices, coke, energy drinks) what are the prices of food in fast foods, restaurants etc, and mostly what are tre prices of interesting stuff in vendors area so I can plan on that aswell.. thanx all for help. Havran
      I am not speaking for DEF CON with this reply:

      The history of sponsorship and DEF CON is complicated. There are social issues (outside of what the volunteer of DEF CON and the organization provides) and then there are historical events within the organization that have caused issues of sponsorship to be dealt with in a department-by-department basis.

      Socially, many long-time attendees find sponsorship, and commercials at DEF CON deplorable. Newer attendees have little reference on commercialization issues.

      Many years ago, a contest accepted sponsorship to pay their expenses to run the contest, and give out prizes, then they proceeded to spend more time at the closing ceremonies thanking their sponsors (effectively advertising to a captive audience) than they did describing how the contest worked, and how the winners won. This was viewed by many as a bad thing. There have even been disagreements on the use of signs in contest/event spaces listing sponsors.

      Where the convention is concerned (people looking to offer talks, run contests, events, parties, run a vendor table, etc.) you would need talk to whichever departments representatives to get their answer on the latest policies on how sponsorship could be related to whatever you are volunteering to provide at DEF CON. If you have questions about how sponsorship issues might relate to "speaking," (in a speaker track as a person leading a presentation) then communicate with the Speaker goons and/or the CFP review board --- both may have answers. if you are running a contest, event or party in DEF CON space, then talk to "Contests Villages Events" (CVE) department goons. Each department's head(s) are authoritative for their decisions. Jeff can reverse their decisions, but from my view, seldom ever does. (People having a long history of working together and good communications usually means educated guesses are often the right decisions.)

      If you plan to write a paper to submit to the (Call For Papers) CFP board to review, understand desired talks at DEF CON are on topic of interest to users and hackers. Spiels on "latest product from 'YoYoDyne Propulsion' and how their brand new 'Oscillation Overthruster' compares with their competitors 'Turbo Encabulator'," are unlikely to get accepted. However, a talk on defeating/improving new iPhone encryption might be accepted.

      Vendors are another different space and Vendor goons are the people to talk to about sponsor issues as a vendor. if you plan to sell items or services, then you will want to discuss your ideas with the Vendor goons. If you have never been to DEF CON, it is not like other security conventions where businesses setup kiosks or booths for people to walk around and see which commercial products are available and talk with sales/marketing people. DEF CON is a collection of mostly volunteers that provides services they enjoy or enjoyed when they were attendees. The Vendor space is the closest thing to "booths" as seen at security conventions, but most vendors sell Tee-Shirts, lockpicking tools, music, electronic equipment, books, and some educational services. It is very uncommon for a table to only exist to explain about a product but not actually sell something at DEF CON that people can start using. Compared to the space that DEF CON uses as a whole, the vendor space is pretty small.

      A note on this that is important? One rule has been constant: nobody should ever claim that any entity sponsored DEF CON, or was sponsored by DEF CON unless you have some sort of approval for it, which would likely only come from Jeff. Jeff has been really protective of allowing sponsors for DEF CON, and though some things came close, I can't remember any entity accurately claiming it sponsored DEF CON.

      Outside of the spaces and resources that are controlled by DEF CON, there has not been much for DEF CON to do. Large corps have sponsored parties for people of BlackHat and DEF CON, off-site, but these are not DEF CON events; we really have no say about what private events do outside of DEF CON.

      As for individuals at DEF CON and clothing? I don't think that has ever been questions or stopped. People often wear clothing that advertises their business. It happens more now than it did many years ago. Each individual has their own opinion of this, but I do not recall any goons telling people to not wear company shirts, etc. (From what I have seen, many if not most goons like individual expression, and would likely have a difficult time telling people what to wear or not wear.) The Hotel/Casino may have dress requirements. For example, wearing a mask through the casino could risk you being banned from the property by the hotel/casino. Wearing no clothes in the casino or convention areas could get you arrested and banned from the hotel.

      Again, none of this is me speaking/typing for DEF CON. The above are suggestions on how best to avoid problems with respect to sponsorship at DEF CON.

      Now, onto things that are unrelated to DEF CON policies....

      Average prices for tee shirts in the vendor area seems to be from $20 (USD) to $25. Some occasionally are for sale at $30.
      Booze in the hotel? Beers can run $5 to $10 for a glass. Now that we will be at Caesars, the prices will probably go up. If you stay at another hotel, their prices will likely be close. There were reports that some people were being charged $20 per drink for shot or mixed drinks. (Many did not report what they ordered.)
      Food at restaurants in the hotel is a bit more expensive than what you could pay if you went to a restaurant a mile away from "the strip" (Las Vegas Blvd.)

      Though there is a monorail that connects many hotels on the east-side of "the strip" it is not yet connected to the airport, so options to/from airport are taxi or taxi-like services, bus, rental car, friend picking you up, etc. There are also some shuttle services that can be cheaper than taxi services.

      There is also the option of walking, but Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert. If you plan to be outdoors much, bring or buy sunscreen, a hat, and water. Looking at google maps, you may see some hotels only use one "block." This is deceptive. The "blocks" for hotels/casino on "The Strip" are very, very large. Don't assume they are like conventional city blocks.

      Many people find someone at con that has a rental car, or join a few other people and split the cost of a taxi (or taxi-like service) to a local grocery store to stock up on cheap food to bring back to their hotel room.

      Many hotels have policies that forbid off-site food being brought into their hotels. This would be between you and the hotel. I do not know how Caesars might enforce this policy, or of they will do anything at all.

      Not all hotel rooms have refrigerators. Keep this in mind when buying food if it must be kept cold. Some people buy or bring ice-chests, or coolers to keep things cool, and use free ice from ice machines within hotels.

      There are cheaper places to stay in Las Vegas, but investigate your transportation options and costs to see if the savings per night in rooms will be lost in paying for transportation.

      Be sure to check out the FAQ: https://defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html

      There is an unofficial FAQ, but it has not been updated in a while: http://defcon.stotan.org/faq/

      If you have questions, feel free to use the forums search, google and if you can't find answers to questions (like the questions you asked above) then ask on the forums.

      Good luck!
      -Cot
      Last edited by TheCotMan; August 9th, 2016, 12:26.
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      • #4
        Wow.. thank you for the very long answer, it was awesome filled with a huge amount of useful informations.. I never was in the USA before, I did live in London area for almost 2 years tho, so it will not surprise me that oh don't worry it's just around the corner 3 and half miles from here.. I am really looking forward the trip even I have no idea when will it be, there is just shit ton of work before I can even think about putting some solid plan into it, too much stuff to do, but that's another story...

        I do know what I would want my talk to be, and I think it might be interesting if I do it right. I am downloading the whole defcon media server to my pc and I want to go through it all, every audio and videoclip, every photo, every pdf document file.. it will take me probably few dozen of months maybe like 2 - 3 years of work (as I do have to do my dayjob and still try to learn new stuff about coding and hacking, I am not an IT student, I studied electrical engineering on high school and didn't finish mechanical engineering on university.. so I need to learn all the hacking stuff from nothing to be able to understand and participate at defcon as most as possible since I might not be able to visit every year so I want to get the most out of it.

        well, and about my talk? I love watching defcon talks, it's very nice to learn new things you never thought about before, so I would like to go through the history of defcon since year one, bcos not everybody is like me researching the old days and there is really a lot of interesting info in the first defcons aswell.. It will be a LOT of work, but I really do believe it will be worth all that work..
        =People are nothing more than a means to an end.. A stepping stones to a greater goals..=

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