[Owasp-board] O'Reilly

Matt Konda matt.konda at owasp.org
Sat Mar 19 09:35:28 UTC 2016


As you may know, O'Reilly announced this week that they are running a new
Security conference.

My initial take is that the emergence of a new security conference out of
O'Reilly is "a good thing"™. I believe there is some risk but also some
opportunity here since O'Reilly also hosts many key developer conferences
and is a substantial communication platform with developers with their
books and video training content.

The approach I would generally recommend and advocate for would be a "make
people look and feel good by association with OWASP" and basically try to
help and collaborate in a purely altruistic way aligned with OWASP's
mission.  But I wanted to toss this by the broader board for input because
there are obviously some risks and philosophical questions we want to be
clear about if we do engage.

I know some people at O'Reilly so I navigated and talked with O'Reilly's VP
of Conferences Friday to explore what they are doing.  The conference is
definitely a general security conference not focused on AppSec - but it
will likely include some AppSec content.  They are *very* interested in
co-marketing possibilities.  They would be super interested in sponsors.
Obviously, their business model is to make profit from the conference, book
and other content that they license.

Undoubtedly they are responding to market opportunity.  One outcome would
be to take this as a signal to run more AppSecs or really push more mid
size regional events.  That could mean hiring more staff to help.  They are
also expanding into Asia with local organizations on the ground to do that.

As we are, they are passionate about the editorial and commercial
independence of their content. Within that constraint, there may be
opportunities to assist as a resource to their conference chairs looking to
inject some security talks into their events.  We already have a goal to
get OWASP related content into their conferences such as Velocity, OSCON,
Software Architecture, Strata etc. as a conscious and first class item.
Maybe we could suggest invited speakers and topics and help with talk
selection.  Maybe we could even get our name on a track if we help their
conference chairs?  Definitely idealistic and open ended at this point, but
maybe interesting?  Probably depends a lot conference chair to conference
chair.  This would require a sustained and organized effort specifically
for this by a group of OWASP volunteers.

Just to be clear, I framed the discussion with O'Reilly as:  I'm gathering
information and looking at ideas, there are operational processes and a
bigger decision making process behind me at OWASP that would have to happen
for any of these things, I just wanted to understand where O'Reilly were
coming from and what the possible collaboration paths might be.

I think at the very least we should explore co-marketing possibilities -
and as we do so, I would encourage us to value our brand and experience and
also to think outside the box about what the most ambitious possibilities
are for OWASP and make sure to push for deeper and meaningful commitments
from them.  There may be ways that we can support them that dramatically
change our communication strategy with developers - let's talk about those.

In any case, I think this raises some interesting possibilities and issues
so I wanted to share the information I had gathered and give you all the
opportunity to weigh in.

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