[Owasp-leaders] Speakers at Appsec conferences

Michael Coates michael.coates at owasp.org
Thu Sep 11 20:54:53 UTC 2014


Hope all is well and it will be great to catch up in Denver.

I always enjoy new ideas and discussion. I have a few questions about your

1. Do we have any indication that quality speakers aren't applying because
travel / hotel is not covered?

2. Do you think the quality of speakers would increase if travel costs were

3. How many of the speakers do you think are paying for their travel out of
pocket versus having it covered as a business expense?

4. Would you support an increase in ticket prices to cover the costs of
speakers? If not, where would you suggest the costs be covered?

A bit of cost planning:
AppSecUSA has 79 people listed on the speakers tab.  Let's assume travel as
$900 per person ($500 airfare + 2 nights hotel at $200 night). That comes
out to $71,000.

Cost increase per attendee:
500 attendees +$142 per ticket
1000 attendees +$71 per ticket

Michael Coates
Chairman, OWASP Board

On Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM, Steven van der Baan <
steven.van.der.baan at owasp.org> wrote:

> 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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> OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
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