The Spirit of Lobby Con
I’m just on my way home from visiting Blue Frost Security’s second edition of OffensiveCon. So, obviously, I need to start with a big thanks to Miguel, Lukas and all of the staff for a great conference! Now, sitting on the train with a few symptoms sleep deprivation, I thought I’d drop a few lines a small event I “ran” on the side: Lobby Con!
One of the most important aspects of going to conferences for me is meeting various friends I’ve made of the years, but due to their distribution all over the world don’t see very often. One of our typical formats for sitting together is “Lobby Con”. And, as you will have guessed already, the name results from its usual location! While for us Lobby Con is a term for sitting together, discussing, talking exchanging thoughts and maybe having a drink, Lobby Con is much more than that.
What is Lobby Con?
Looking back on our recent meeting and the many before, Lobby Con is a symbol for the knowledge exchange that happens during a conference in between the talks, during dinners and in the halls. It’s simply where experts and novices meet to talk about their experiences, discuss problems and try to help each other identify issues for major challenges. In some situations, one might actually call it a self-support group for discussing issues one discovers and gets stuck with throughout work-life. While Lobby Con mainly takes part after the day at the conference, it sometimes also runs in parallel to the actual conferences.
Why is Lobby Con so important?
Except for the fact that meeting with friends is a crucial aspect of life, I feel people in Security often lack the chance for exchanging thoughts, ideas and problems with others that can relate to their situation. Thus, a conference is obviously the perfect chance to catch up. Sadly, I sometimes see attendees who basically sit in a talk, because their employers paid for the trip / entrance, so it’s their job. Just to make sure, I’m not saying that one shouldn’t watch talks, but even though one always learns new ideas and concepts, there sometimes is a talk one simply has no connection to. Slots like these are often perfectly invested in joining Lobby Con, meeting new people, just joining a group and a sharing some experience! Here it is important to note, that next to everybody at these conferences is happy to share their knowledge, teach and learn about views they might not have thought about themselves. So, it’s always worth a try to start a conversation.
Lobby Con Rules?
The rules of a typical Lobby Con are very simple and rarely spoken about (in random order):
- Be nice a friendly
- Sharing is a bi-directional process
- None of the attendees can / may talk for their employer
- They attend the event as researchers and hackers
- What happens at Lobby Con stays hat Lobby Con
- Except for the thoughts, ideas and concepts one takes away
- Have fun! Enjoy yourself!
- Make sure all others are also having fun
A note on the side: The attendees of most Lobby Con’s have known each other for a while, thus they talk openly and act accordingly…
What are typical topics during a Lobby Con?
As it turns out, hackers are actually humans! A lot of the discussed topics aren’t necessarily of technical nature. This makes a typical Lobby Con cover many topics from coping with co-workers and management into longer presentations on cultural history which give new insights into why somebody might have made a specific decision. Also, well, be sure that one is never alone with a specific problem. Somebody else will have been there are will currently be fighting the same war.
…to everybody who joined Lobby Con during Offensive Con!