shared a link with me on the experiences of Pamela Dingle
and her attempts to attend the RSA conference that I thought was fascinating...
Let's analyze her posting to see if new insights emerge:
I didn’t purchase a conference pass — frankly, I couldn’t, I have just started a new business, and the fiscal reality involved in that activity forced me to be thrifty.
Do the folks at Gartner ever go easy on new startups that are short on money before they provide deep coverage on them? The RSA conference is all about folks with money and like Gartner, if you don't have lots of it to give to folks, then consider yourself and your business the step-child.
Being on the outside, however, taught me that while the tracks were inside, the PEOPLE weren’t always, and that in fact by ditching any illusory pretension to education, taking advantage of the Concordia workshop for which entrance only required an expo pass, walking the expo floor, and attending the parties, I didn’t miss the expensive & time-consuming sessions.
Hmmm. While they publish the value propositions of sessions, we all know that conferences don't make any money worth speaking about on them. A conference derives its revenues from vendors purchasing booth space! Additionally, vendors will purchase even more booth space when they see lots of people visiting their booths and to guarantee lots of visitors (above and beyond those who pay) they market the opportunity to be sold stuff for free by giving out free expo passes. Achieving the goal of educating attendees is never the goal of those who run conferences.
I am usually the most avid attendee at these things, asking a lot of questions and generally participating enthusiastically (ask anyone).
If you come to a conference and literally fall asleep at each session, the conference makes no more or no less than those who avidly participate. You have to tell them why they should care?
I’m sure this doesn’t have you crying in your cheerios at the thought of the loss; but I suggest you examine the trend it represents; it is why you want the movers and the shakers *inside* the conference hall, not outside, as often as possible.
The movers and shakers that matter to them are probably not the ones who have small businesses but those who are in large enterprises with billion dollar IT budgets as what they think matters more to them and of course the folks who are buying the booths on their behalf. My two cents says that a noble gesture would be for the next RSA conference to give free both space to OWASP as this will help attract a new demographic and breed cross pollination that is beneficial to all...