Table of Contents:
- What is it?
- How was it, actually?
This blog is about my experience at the Cyber Security Summit here in Houston, TX!
I originally received an invitation on LinkedIn, which was pretty weird TBH. I then changed my perspective on the marketing strategy that was used in order to increase their attendance rate once I arrived at the summit. The invitation came from being tagged in a post, with others, on LinkedIn with a promotion code and link. See what I mean?
The target audience isn’t exactly huge or social. While I do try to leave my apartment in order to BE social, it does take a lot for it to happen and even then, anxiety strikes as the seconds wind down to actually take the first steps out the door.
This might be something not really talked about in the IT (Information Technology) world, but I think that more people do feel this way as I didn’t actually start getting social anxiety until I turned my focus from Army life to straight IT.
All this being said, it is no wonder it can take quite a lot to get a turnout. Also, a majority of meetings are usually online, not to mention Covid.
Best thing that could happen, I just leave with 8CPE/CEUs for SANS.
What is it?
“The Fourth Annual Houston Cyber Security Summit returns In-Person and Virtually Live-Streamed as it connects C-Suite & Senior Executives responsible for protecting their companies’ critical infrastructures with innovative solution providers and renowned information security experts. Admission is $195 each for in-person attendance, giving you access to all Interactive Panels, Discussions, Catered Breakfast, Lunch & Cocktail Reception.”
Despite what the description says, there were actually a lot of people there who just held normal positions, to include anyone else, who aren’t really sitting at the Gold summit of Senior Executives.
I was wondering why I had gotten an invitation after reading the description, until I actually went and talked with others.
I met people who worked at small IT companies here in Houston, to teachers/professors. One company was a small startup with a size of 4 people! So, I guess one of them had to be the executive, right?
I will say however, there was a strict “no students” sign that I remember seeing somewhere… but it didn’t seem to matter as anyone could register on the site lol.
The promotion I received allowed me to register for free, which could have also been used for my team/colleagues. This was a such on the fence event that I was not even sure if I was going until the day of.
How was it, actually?
When I arrive somewhere, I like to scout the parking lot and see what kind of people would be attending the event in order to get a feel of the environment. This helps me relieve some of my anxiety. It also didn’t help it was at a really nice Hotel.
There were two main things I noticed:
- There were a mix of vehicles, from old to new, to semi-new, which is super calming because at least there were normal people here, to me anyway (at least they weren’t all new and shiny).
- The crowd was extremely diverse, from sweaters to suits and some just wearing t-shirts/tank tops.
This is awesome. Lot of different people. Cool. I was greeted on the floor of the event with a sign-in table, and afterwards was given a lanyard and badge showing my name and company from when I registered online (BUT they didn’t check my ID).
The food was amazing, delicious breakfast food in the morning and a variety of food for lunch (pasta, meat, salmon, salads, desserts).
UNLIMITED Starbucks Coffee/Tea or water
Why is this important to say? Because it felt COMFORTABLE, like this will make me want to go again next year for sure. Everything you needed was within an arm's reach so you can focus on the conversation, exhibitors, and panels.
They also held on to the best for last, and open bar after the event ended in order to hold everyone hostage. It worked! Oh, and also a free cigar. Which was pretty darn good.
Last thing I will mention here are the exhibitor goodies. There were things from thermals for coffee to stickers and notebooks, each with an exhibitor brand printed on them somewhere. For a list of them, you can find them on the main website. There were also some only specific for that state, such as state cyber security programs, law enforcement, or in-state company.
Each table scanned your badge in order to enter you for a raffle at the end of the day. Items that were raffled off ranged from TVs to headphones and drones. All the cost was to strike up a conversation about their product. The end goal is have them in the back of your mind if you ever need that specific service now or in the future.
The area was super comfortable and the people were all likeminded professionals. There was not a single person I had spoken to that I was not able to have a fun meaningful conversation with. It was an absolute blast to meet them and to increase my network. The price tag with the event is hefty, but some would argue, and I am close to saying it, that the event itself outweighs the price to get in, but I wouldn’t do it if it does cut into your budget.
I just had too many nice things to say about the event. I felt absolutely no anxiety after the first 10 mins of arriving to the event.
It would be awesome if it grew into some larger like Defcon30 in the future, but I am not sure if that falls in line with their plans.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and hope this helps make your future decisions on any cyber security related events!