[Owasp-leaders] Speakers at Appsec conferences

Steven van der Baan steven.van.der.baan at owasp.org
Thu Sep 11 20:11:49 UTC 2014


hi Leaders,

I've got a question for you all and it is regarding speakers at Appsec
conferences.

I am of the opinion that we should cover expenses for speakers that are
presenting at Appsec conferences. At the moment this is not the case and
I truly believe that this is wrong. I think that if OWASP wants the
AppSec conferences to grow in size, we should also give the speakers
more than just an entrance ticket. I would like to see that also some of
the expenses are covered. This is currently only done for the keynote
speakers. I agree that the keynote speakers should be handled more
special, but they are only the 'cherry on the cake'. It's the speakers
that 'make the cake' and without good speakers you will have a lousy cake.

I know that conferences like HitB and BlackHat/Defcon provide hotel
expenses next to the entrance fee (with BH and Defcon you can choose
between more badges or money). And they do get a large number of
attendees, especially due to the numbers and quality of their speakers.
This is what I would like to see with the OWASP Appsec conferences as
well. Being known for outstanding speakers and at the same time
attracting more attendees. Reflecting back at taking part in organising
Appsec EU 2014, the attendee numbers where really low for a long time
(below 100 up to two weeks before the conference). Thought it did pick
up in the last two weeks, i firmly believe that these numbers could
easily have been doubled if we take more care of our speakers.

I know that I have a personal stake in this as I'm one of the speakers
at Appsec USA. But it should not only be an honour to speak at an OWASP
conference, we as OWASP should actively support this knowledge sharing
by stimulating speakers and meet them with their expenses and take care
of the hotel for them. I am aware that in the current model the Appsec
conferences are used to generate revenue for the foundation, but I am a
firm believer that you first have to spend money to make money: to
invest into the speakers, which in turn will attract more attendees and
therefore generate more income.

Below are two tweets that I quickly found searching online about this.
These tweets are from non OWASP members
https://twitter.com/MatiasKatz/status/323490014136791041
https://twitter.com/notsosecure/status/478912487182827520


I'd love to see this change happen.

Steven.


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