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Should I attend DEF CON alone?

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  • Should I attend DEF CON alone?

    From twiiter, we have this question:
    URL1 =

    Originally posted by URL1
    I wish I had people to go to DEFCON with next year. Is it okay to go alone?
    Many people attended their first DEF CON alone. There are advantages to going alone:
    * Independence
    * No scheduling issues with other people
    * No complications with sharing a hotel room
    * No complications with scheduled/flights/taxi/services/food
    * If you change your mind about ANY plans, and you are alone, nobody else has to be notified or will be upset about any changes

    But you also miss out:
    * Attending with other experienced attendees willing to share ideas gives you many more options than you may think of as possible at DEF CON on your own
    * Each person may find a new thing or event running for a limited time, and a live network of people to let you know about something interesting means more options at any given time
    * Each person that spends time different from you may share highlights of their time, for you to change your plans
    * Discussions on any topic are more likely when you are with people you know

    If none of your close friends are attending DEF CON, maybe there are people in your extended professional network or activities networks who are attending this year?
    * Consider attending local DCG/[Linux**Mac**Windows**PC]-usergroup each month, several months before DEF CON, and ask around for others that may be attending DEF CON
    * Less-technical hobby-meets may also have people attending DEF CON: maker-groups, crytpo-groups, mathematics clubs, hiking groups, etc may also contain peopls looking to attend DEF CON
    * Professional networks like "linkedin" may include people you are linked with, who are intending to go, but you won't know unless you ask.
    * Same with less professional networks like FaceBook or G+
    * If there are no groups in your area, why not start up a DCG or other group?
    * Are you still in college or taking college course? Do they have any clubs that might have members attending?
    * Many people that attend DEF CON attend other cons. Attending other cons before DEF CON means increased chances at meeting people that will also be at DEF CON
    * Are you developer online with others, opensource or otherswise? Ask online if any other developers are attending, and see if meetups can be planned

    If you have no close friends, distant friends, colleagues, or anyone in any club or group that you know, who is going to DEF CON, then consider meeting people at DEF CON:
    * If you have great skills in an area that is covered by a village, contact that DEF CON village organizers and offer to volunteer. If they have no need for volunteers, you can always attend and hang out with others that have similar interest for conversations and opportunities to become friendly
    * Maybe you want a new experience? There are several contest where the point of the contest is to learn something new and work on a team. The Scavenger Hunt is one, and another one has been "DC DarkNet" and yet another has been the "Badge Puzzle/Riddle Contest" for badges with DEF CON clues brought to you by Lost.
    * LineCon : Socializing while waiting in line for something is another option: "Why did you come to DEF CON?" (a good starter question: opens discussion and may expose you to elements of DEF CON you did not consider)

    To avoid:
    * If your primary reason for DEF CON is the talks, and you are anti-social, do not want to be around people, or have some other reason to avoid them, then you can watch talks from your room, but by doing this you miss out on the in-person social parts of con.
    * Attending talks in person can be good, but is often a poor location to converse with people while the presenter/speaker is presenting
    * Focusing on your mobile device : social media on mobile devices can sometimes inform you of critical changes to schedules, events, contest and more at DEF CON, but they can also suck-up all your time while at DEF CON. The time you spend populating your social media account with evidence of having fun at DEF CON actually eats into the time where you are actually having fun at DEF CON : there can be an optimal balance on using mobile devices to get information about what is happening at DEF CON -- just don't let it cause you to miss opportunities.

    If you or anyone else has ideas on what to do when attending DEF CON alone, please provide your thoughts; the value of threads like this improves as more ideas and suggestions are added.

    Last edited by TheCotMan; October 19, 2016, 01:34.

  • #2
    If this question has come up this year about DC25 for you, I totally concur with everything that TheCotMan has said. I think there's about a bazillion advantages to going to DEF CON alone, you're always on your own time frame. But also- you -have- to say HI to people and come out of your shell a little.

    Everyone there is probably just as nervous as you are. A compliment or a question will go a long ways there. Hackers are universally the wallflowers of the world because we're too busy looking at everything around us. Share whatever you have. Try and don't get buried in your phone. Bring something silly to give out as an ice breaker.

    Check your local Meetups, hacker spaces, or even Reddit for other folks who are going.
    DJ Jackalope
    dopest dj in the galaxy. *mwah!*

    send in the drop bears!


    • #3
      There's a much simpler answer to this:

      Do I have other people who I know will be there? Then no, don't go alone
      If yes then go alone