What On Earth was I Thinking?!
This is the first in a series of posts detailing the journey and experiences of Joseph Sokoly as a first time speaker in InfoSec.
Continuing on the â€œthings I learned from speakingâ€ track, the next step is why I did what I did. What would prompt someone to speak at their first InfoSec con ever? And for that, itâ€™s time for a story.
Picture this, if you will. Youâ€™re young, impressionable, and have just discovered the incredible community that is the InfoSec community on Twitter. You find a few names you recognize from your blogs, and follow them. Then you go down their follow list and start following anyone who mentions security in their description. Suddenly, youâ€™re sitting at a few hundred people followed, and without realizing, youâ€™ve stepped into a community of truly awesome people. You donâ€™t know them by much more than some their handles, maybe their display name, but you now know youâ€™re part of a community, if only on the fringe.
Then, one day, one of those people who seem to be talking with everyone all the time mentions heâ€™s on your side of town. (Iâ€™ll give you a hint; heâ€™s got a beard almost double my age.) One random lunch later, and I had decided that I needed to go to any con I could get my hands on. So imagine my excitement when I heard a con was coming to my state! That con was BSidesAustin.
Almost as soon as BSidesAustin had been announced, I put my name down on the wiki and began making travel plans. I wasnâ€™t going to miss this. (As an aside, at one point I told my family that I wouldnâ€™t be going with them on our family vacation so that I could go to BSidesAustin. Just to give you an idea of how dedicated I was to going.)
But then, in my con-noobish eyes, I saw a problem. One month out from the event, there were only about 4 or 5 speakers signed up, and most of those had denoted only twenty-minute talks. I did some quick napkin math and realized that there werenâ€™t enough people signed up to fill time for the day. And if there arenâ€™t enough speakers signed up, then people wonâ€™t come, and then the con might not happen. And there was no way that I would ever let that happen! So I mulled it over for a few days, and made a decision. I was going to speak at BSidesAustin.
And why wouldnâ€™t I? I had taken Professional Presentations, so I knew* how to give a presentation, right? So I thought for a while, and decided that since the only real experience that I had was being young and an InfoSec professional, that would be what I would speak about. I asked a few people who I could bounce some ideas off, what they thought, and in short order, had added my name to the list of
speakers with a quick title and description. The talk was titled â€œThe Young and the Restless.â€ It wasnâ€™t until a few weeks later that I got my real wake up call.
*See my previous post for some of the revelations I had when I realized that I, in fact, didnâ€™t know much about giving a talk.
Tune in next week to witness thrilling breakdowns, startlingÂ revelations, and heroic rescues!