Changes to Workshops

We’ve made some changes this year to our workshops that we think will help grow BSides Orlando and the talent in the Central Florida community. We have also dedicated ourselves to being transparent about decisions regarding the conference as this is a community event and you are our community.

In previous years all workshops have been 100% free. However, recently we’ve received feedback that attendees want more technical content, training, and workshops for people who are mid-level in their careers. We also have the opportunity to engage some world class trainers in workshops. To that end we decided to see how we could balanced paid training with our driving ethos of helping grow students and professionals new to security.

We will continue to offer free workshops, but we will also begin to offer some high quality low cost workshops that allow us to bring in professionals from the field to provide training. Our goal is this:

  1. Keep costs for paid workshops low: $50-$100 – This price range is something many students can still afford while also being a price professionals looking for training can manage.
  2. Cover travel for trainers when needed – Too often conferences ask for favors of professionals to spread knowledge. Our community is amazing, but if we don’t help them offset some travel costs we are essentially asking them to pay for the privilege of improving our conference. We don’t want to be that conference.
  3. For some trainers training is their job – In some cases, we may engage professional trainers that may be compensated for their time. Generally this is in the form of some revenue sharing of the seat count in the class. When we have this type of arrangement it allows the conference to be better and benefits the attendees. The Board will discuss all professional training options and make a decision based on the benefit to the attendees. The goal will always be to deliver the content at low or no cost to attendees.
  4. Any money made after covering costs will go into a speaker travel fund – We are very excited about this! Essentially, for those that can afford to purchase paid training that money will go into a fund to help cover travel for nationally known technical professionals to come speak at B-Sides Orlando in the future. This will help ensure that students just breaking into the field can hear from some of the best in the business without those pros paying out of pocket to travel to our conference

Our goal is always to keep B-Sides Orlando 100% free for students. However, with the feedback we received last year adding some paid workshops strikes a good balance between serving the community, taking care of the people sharing their knowledge through training, and taking any money made and feeding it back into the conference to improve the experience without raising ticket prices

Let us know what you think and keep an eye out for workshops soon!

Ean

A big welcome to our new organizers

We’d like to give a warm welcome to our new organizers Julianne and Bree! Julianne is a sysadmin, jack-of-all-trades, and wannabe InfoSec, currently attempting to learn almost everything she can get her hands on while Bree is a DFIR analyst with a specialty in host based analysis and litigation matters. We’re honored to have them both on staff helping us provide the best security conference in the central Florida area.

CFP 2019

Our organizing team has been hard at work preparing for B-Sides Orlando 2019. This year we’re continuing efforts to improve transparency and we hope this helps aspiring speakers plan talks and content for this year and future iterations.

  • This year we moved from Eventbrite to BusyConf in an effort to move to a blind review where CFP reviewers are unaware of the submitter’s name. We believe a blind review will remove unintentional bias and give speakers an equal footing on submissions.
  • To increase the diversity of the event, our staff has reached out to both women and PoC to encourage speakers from minority groups to submit.
  • We have a goal of a 70/30 split of blind review talks to staff picks to ensure that new voices are heard while maintaining a technical core.

We hope these adjustments will improve our content while providing a more diverse set of speakers that represent our local community.

Improvements for 2019

Coordinating a successful community conference from year to year requires a drive for continuous improvement based on the feedback we receive from the previous year. Last year we sent out a survey on what we could improve and based on your feedback we will:

Add content

  • Increase the content by adding another track (from 2 tracks to 3 tracks)
  • Reduce the length of the lunch gap
  • Further encourage diverse speakers to present
  • Solicit a technical keynote
  • Promote Fire Talks on Twitter

Improve workshops and villages

  • Add more soldering stations
  • Add workshops
  • Provide clearer instructions for labs

General conference improvement

  • Provide further onsite food and beverage options
  • Increase signage
  • Add outdoor shade

Be on the lookout for another survey after this year’s conference. Thank you for your feedback and we look forward to providing an improved conference experience for B-Sides Orlando 2019!