Following my work implementing GDPR in 2018 I have been reading into the topic and evaluating how the tech industry has adapted to it. I was supposed to give a talk about this in the summer of 2020 regarding risks to consumers with misunderstanding their rights and limits of enforcement, but the global pandemic cancelled that event.
The Beer Farmers decided that the 2nd edition of their infosec conference, Beercon 2: Rise of the Rookie would provide a rookie track for all the new speakers whose conferences had been cancelled. I submited a CFP on the topic, focusing instead of the client, on the compliance strategy implementation side of things along with risks to both the client and the business in the case of bad implementation.
The speakers were provided with support from experienced speakers, in the persons of Claire Tills, James Bore, Sam Humphries, Zoë Rose, and Dave McK. They helped us by providing a workshop at the begining of BeerCon 2 preparations as well as listening in to the speakers giving dry runs to test the slides / AV equipment. Their input was incredibly valuable in helping everyone give their best talks on the 29th & 30th October 2020. Additionally, 2 speakers, worked as “goons”. They helped provide some support on the day, as well as helping manage the communications within the Slack server. Lennaert and Gerard, both endured the conference nerves as speakers, with the added nerves of knowing exactly how many people were actually watching them.
Because of course, we’re all rockstars and did our talks live instead of pre-recording. We had live demos THAT WORKED WITH NO HICKUPS. I can safely say that nothing would have prepared me for her the quality of the talks, or the diversity in topics covered. Threat landscape in Japan was covered with the same emotion and energy as an introduction to IPv6.
Fortunately, these talks were recorded and available here. I cannot stress enough the extent to which these talks make their niche topics accessible to people with all levels of experience. I am still rewatching several of these talks between working on different projects given the impressive quality of the content shared.
On the day I was speaking, the experience was incredibly seamless. I missed most of the 1st talk as I was preparing for mine in a breakout room with the “goons” and 2 mentors who helped calm my nerves. Once Zak had finished his talk, I was thrown into the live room, where Scott explained how it would be going. Essentially, as had been practiced with the mentors & other speakers with one caveat: he woud be providing 10 & 5 minute remaining warnings. This differed then that instead of seeing myself on the Zoom call, (and adjusting position to make sure it was my face in the frame) I would be seeing the reactions of someone else. To my surprise, this did not bring any source of distraction, except at the time warnings. Scott did explain that he’d had issues with all the talks as he would forget to switch cameras due to being absorbed in the topics being discussed.
The initial conference nerves faded after a couple of slides, leaving the same thoughts as when giving training – am I talking too fast? am I understandable? can people relate to this? – but with no interruptions. The talk went smoothly, which was a surprise given my internet had been spotty in the previous days, and the positive feedback from infosec and compliance specialists suggested my worries were unfounded. Should you be interested in GDPR, or general compliance strategy, my talk is available on youtube.
The experience with Beercon 2: Rise of the rookie as a speaker was impressive. The work and effort put in by The Beer Farmers over the 2 day event truly reflects their catchphrase #hereforyou. The event generated networking opportunities accross multiple diciplines and nations and I can only recommend this event to people wanting to share knowledge or experience with a wider audience. I eagerly await the surprises of Beercon 3.