Host Unknown does the RANT Conference

Host Unknown WatermarkLast week saw our presenters trying their hand at working the conference circuit, as attendees, presenters and vendors, and all in one day.

Apparently it was a success, and despite the somewhat dubious swag that was given away throughout the day there was a lot of interest in what Host Unknown has to offer the info sec world (Although Andy will say it was more down the the bucket of sweets he was handing out, Javvad will talk endlessly about his nail files and Thom will proselytize about the merits of stickers).

Since Host Unknown is obviously now playing with the big boys in the conference space, we decided to put together a series of Top Tips on how to successfully attend a conference and have your brand make an impact. These tips are vital to anyone looking to get the most out of meeting their potential customers for the first time. Use them with caution though, they are powerful stuff!

Tip 1: Get your story straight. Ensure you are all know what your key messages are and that they are consistent.

Tip 2: Always promote your brand. Use every opportunity to get your brand ahead of your competitors.

Tip 3: Share the days workload with your colleagues. Conferences make for long days, so make sure you do your best to support each other throughout.

Tip 4: Ask for constructive feedback from the other vendors. They were new to this game as well, and that conference camaraderie means they will always help you to improve.

Tip 5: Leave your potential customer knowing who you are. They should be in no doubt as to who you are and what your brand stands for.

The first tip was posted yesterday, with another one coming every day for the next four days.

Look out for our in depth review of the RANT Conference next week! The internet phenomenon known as Host Unknown is now officially in business.

Host Unknown Loves Conferences – But Which One is THE BEST?

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Host Unknown is willing to help everyone in this community they call Info Sec, and that includes contributing to other blogs and ensuring our unique point of view and brand are spread as far and wide as possible.

Previously posted on Information Security Buzz last week, our hosts discuss which conference is the best one to attend and why, as well as other very important factors that affect our decision to attend one conference or another. Indeed, our hosts will be representing Host Unknown at a conference just next week!

What is the Best Security Conference to Attend and Why?

Andrew Agnes: THE best event to attend was Defcon RANT Conference 9 in 2001.  It had everything; fancy new badges never before seen (funky badges have since become a feature at some cons), technical content I understood, female attendees (not so common before that), new friends and lots of alcohol.  Plus I recall the pound being fairly strong against the dollar at the time so that helped too.

Javvad Malik: Yeah, I could list the usual suspects and say if you want a view on all the latest technology then something like RSA RANT Conference is the place to be, if you want the latest exploits Defcon / blackhat RANT Conference are great venues – and if you just want to ‘keep it real’ like the NWA and chill with the do-ers and practitioners in the hood, I’ll take a local Bsides RANT Conference event over anything else each and every time.

Thom Langford: Any conference that allows you to get a complimentary cup of tea throughout the day. Too many conferences (I’m looking at you RSA RANT Conference) define when I am in need of the elixir of life leaving me dehydrated and close to the edge. It sounds small, but when you take advantage of the hallway track as much as me only having tea available during formal breaks is no use.

Unfortunately, based on that criteria that leaves the list quite short, so I have had to resort to attending under the guise of the Press to get access to a lounge, or tough it out for a few years until I get access to the VIP lounge. Still, at least it got me participating.

JM: Wow Thom, way to set the bar – your enjoyment of a conference is directly proportional to the amount of free caffeine they provide. Nice, then people wonder why the quality of conference attendees is so poor – it’s freeloaders like you who give the rest of us a bad name! I mean, don’t worry about things like – you know, actual content or networking with talented peers.

AA: Don’t “tea’s” him Javvad, I actually agree with Thom for the most part (don’t mocca me)!  I don’t know if the quality of conference attendees is getting poorer or if that is just some unsubstantiated statement which others continue sharing.  Very few conferences have a continuous schedule that holds the interest of everyone.  Attendees will go with the intention of seeing a select few talks (or speakers) and then whatever else looks interesting to them.  A lot of the time that “whatever else” is the hallway track RANT Conference, either one-to-one or with a small group.

If an attendee wants a drink, let them have it!  It’s actually law that a British citizen should never be denied a cup of tea when requested.  It’s our equivalent of the First Amendment in the US [someone should check this fact before we go to print] <we checked, it’s true. HU.>.  Let attendees decide when they’re ready to sit and concentrate and when they need a different type of interaction – we don’t all learn from presentations.  Most conference RANT Conference venues are in easy to reach, metro locations.  People will walk out to a local cafe to enjoy the ambience of the “cafe track” RANT Conference in favour of the hallway track RANT Conference if you don’t give them what they need and those are networking opportunities the thirsty people who remained behind will miss out on.  If the affordable and reasonably priced conferences RANT Conference can do it, the bigger commercial ones should be able to as well.

So have we talked enough without actually specifying a single, current, upcoming conference which we recommend as the best?  Or shall we just hide behind our love for community driven events like BSides RANT Conference,  SteelCon RANT Conference, et al and those we know supply a healthy selection of beverages with great content like RANT Conference and 44con RANT Conference?

TL: Yes, the best conferences are the ones that give you a great environment to chat with your peers, colleagues and friends, as well do a bit of career networking too. Different conferences are better for different people depending upon the subject matter and your areas of interest, so it is going to be the mandatory tea that makes the difference.

That said, I really like 44CON RANT Conference; I can’t understand a word of most of the presentations (pretty sure they are given in Japanese or maybe even Greek) but the people you meet are fascinating and well educated and I always learn something. The mandatory tea, beer and gin o’clock obviously help too.

Lawyer Up Thursday; an unreserved apology & clarification

"They looked something like this officer"

“They looked something like this officer”

We have just had three gentlemen leave the offices of Host Unknown, and it is with broken fingers a clear conscience that we feel we must set a few facts right about the forthcoming RANT Conference.

The two gentleman accompanying the lawyer were very ‘persuasive’ in their arguments, and as they were putting away their snooker balls and socks a sudden change of heart came about us and we decided to clear up any misunderstanding once and for all. For clarity their lawyer let us use his notes to ensure we didn’t forget anything. We wish to thank him for his consideration, kindness, and supply of tissue to clean up with.

  • Host Unknown is not known for their philanthropic adventures; we are in it for the fame, glory and above all the money.
  • The RANT Conference is not a fledgeling conference, but rather a power house of modern, security focussed thinking bringing together the brightest lights in the industry to ensure the future is a better, more secure place for our children.
  • Host Unknown is not playing a keynote role, but turning up for the free food and chance to  vent its spleen about the information security in a cynical and frankly, upsetting way.
  • There were no negotiations for a booth in the vendor hall of the conference. Rather, Host Unknown begged “for any space, it doesn’t have to be much, even by the toilets is OK“.
  • There is no need for more class and respectability in the vendor area as those in attendance (Host Unknown excepting) are the very pinnacle of the information security industry.
  • Host Unknown recognises that all attendees will get a huge amount of benefit from attending the conference and watching the sessions. The most anyone could expect from Host Unknown is some badly produced swag, three idiots and a camera.

Now all of this is cleared up, we hope the snooker brothers will not see a need to visit our offices again and inflict further damage ask politely for a further clarification. We are still looking forward to seeing you there and hope that none of the above put you off from coming and saying hello and donating to our medical bills charity fund.