Having arrived at the Hilton Metropole on Monday lunchtime and finally left the hotel (virtually for the first time) on Friday morning, I am left with a sequence of mad, fascinating, zany, intriguing, bizarre, educational, alcoholic and downright enjoyable experiences. I knew what to expect having attended last year. In no particular order (except by which they fall out of my head) here are my high points, and occasional low points.
Meeting Wendy Nather (@451wendy) of the 451 Group at last and having lunch with her and Kai Roer (@kairoer, and a constant and welcome companion throughout the week);Dinner at The White Swan with my fellow panellists/debate team, Christian Toon(@christiantoon), Geordie Stewart, Rowenna Fielding (@InfosecGeekLady), Kai Roer, Javvad Malik (@j4vv4d), Gemma Paterson (@GemmaPats) and Chris Batten (@Acumin), and supposedly talking about our debate the next day but actually just sharing inapproriate jokes (mostly led by Chris…); The actual debate itself, not a massive attendance although not only were we up against stiff competition numbers were down somewhat anyway; meeting my first bona fide infosec journalist John Leyden (@jleyden) of The Register as well as my second, Dan Raywood (@DanRaywood) of SC Magazine; Meeting James Lyne (@jameslyne) who is not only a genius but also has the audacity to be charming, funny and an all round lovely guy, goddamm him; Watching Christian Toon bluff his way into the Media/Analysts party on Tuesday night, and watch Javvad have to do nothing to get into the IOActive party on wednesday night because everyone knows him; spending nearly an hour chatting with Javvad talking about blogging, public speaking, charlatans and heroes and being very pleasantly surprised at how much we have in common on these topics; walking out of Bruce Schneiers keynote because I found it dull and unengaging which was a real disappointment; finally making my mind up about Ira Winkler after watching his presentation; wishing I wasn’t late for Josh Corman’s (@JoshCorman) keynote, watching Hugh Johnson again, a master of working the room and engaging his audience, and marvelling at what a thoroughly lovely guy he was; spending time with Brian Honan (@BrianHonan) again and always enjoying his funny yet surprisingly modest company; Eating Schawama’s with Javvad and @sirjester, and subsequently meeting the aforementioned James Lyne and Dan Haywood; failing to win a single thing in any of the prize draws, yet still coming back with five t-shirts and a bag of booty; Watching Javvad and Emma Tweet each other whilst standing side by side; Being amazed, yet finding myself also tweeting almost every 10 minutes in synchronisation with everyone else you happen to be with – what has this world come to?; getting beered up with Chritian Toon on Tuesday and not being able to work out why I feel so drunk and he seems so fresh. The next day it turns out he is nearly 15 years younger than me! I obviously look young for my age, and he the opposite!; Spending a fascinating 90 minutes with Josh Corman on Thursday night and being impressed with how genuine, non judgemental and actually concerned he is about our industry; receiving my first ever Friday Five’s in Twitter and seeing it suddenly explode with activity as everyone joined in, for 10 minutes!; Watching Javvad being awarded his RSA Rockstar t-shirt.
There are many other people I met, chatted with and discussed topics raised in the presentations that are just too numerous to mention. If I have missed you out I apologise profusely and blame my poor memory and being inundated with great times.
The photos throughout this article barely scratch the surface of the fun and educational experience of the week, and I am already looking forward to RSA 2013 in Amsterdam next year!