[Owasp-leaders] Speakers at Appsec conferences

Tobias tobias.gondrom at owasp.org
Fri Sep 12 00:04:13 UTC 2014

Hi Michael,

if I read correctly, Steven was asking about hotel costs. Not all travel 
So the numbers might not be as bad.

For the other questions:
I think they are very valid questions. And I agree with you, that the 
financial side must work out.
Regarding some of your questions: We could do a survey of the current 
speakers at AppSec USA to find out about question #3 and maybe also get 
an idea about the others?


On 11/09/14 21:54, Michael Coates wrote:
> Steven,
> 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 idea.
> 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 covered?
> 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
> @_mwc
> On Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM, Steven van der Baan 
> <steven.van.der.baan at owasp.org <mailto: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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