Real thoughts on Defcon 23

Hey, I hope everybody enjoys the intentionally ridiculous Amp Blasts post that I made about Defcon 23. The big theme I generally have for these posts is that they are based on elements of truth but made to be ridiculous to the point where it comes off as funny. With that in mind I figured that I should share my genuine thoughts about my experience with Defcon 23 as it was an important event for me for reasons different than most people.

Originally, I wasn't planning on going to Defcon due to the fact that I figured I had no legitimate incentive to go back due to how the event has inherently changed over the years. What changed though was that I gave my Elena (my girlfriend during Defcon, now my fiance) the choice on if she wanted to go to Vegas or not and that if we did it would be more of a general vacation which Defcon would just be one aspect of. I honestly didn't expect her to say yes to this so the end result was that I ended up back at Defcon. Overall, the sad reality though is that while I did enjoy that trip to Vegas as it afforded the opportunity for myself and Elena to take a much needed vacation, the reality is that for myself (along with Blake and other SX associates who attended the event) it was probably the least enjoyable Defcon overall.

Now, I'm going to state upfront one important reality about why this may be the case. When SX and many of its associates started to attend this event, we all did it during the Alexis Park era which was much more intimate. Thus I feel one thing that can be pointed out is that part of what happened may be the fact that there may be an element of nostalgia for some of us now for that era. However, this doesn't encompass the reasons that were stated though for feeling this way.

The reality is that I feel that while I can understand why they decided to split to two different hotels for the full event, I feel that they didn't do the best job of planning and handling it so that people could still maneuver somewhat quickly while also minimizing the foot-traffic causing issues for people who were not attending Defcon. In addition, having events take place on a different floor that was only accessible via an elevator made maneuvering very problematic, particularly since the live music venue did take place up there. I can understand wanting to take advantage of that space, but I do hope that they utilize that space better and have the larger after-hours events only on the ground floor.

I will state upfront that there were a few things that I did enjoy about Defcon. Some of the best talks I saw were easily the Skytalks as many of them were really well thought out. Also, I did like the Cult of 23 theme that was utilized. (In short, it was a Scientology based theme for the live music venue with John McAfee serving as the Hubbard-like entity on this.) Some of the performers for the live music brought their A-Game and Dieselboy did a better set than I expected. I'm mostly indifferent towards the nerdcore venues and didn't attend them so I can't really comment about it officially.

The big issue though was that with each passing Defcon, I am questioning more if there is a reason for me to continue attending. This year we did have the SX Party which both myself and Elena enjoyed and it was great to see how far SX and many of it's associates have come in the past 15 years. However, beyond that I really don't have much to contribute to the event of have any interest in doing any particular events at Defcon. One of the possibilities that were mentioned by Elena and Blake was that I see about becoming a Goon, but I don't know if I would really be the best fit for that or not as I openly admit to being inherently eccentric.

So with this in mind, it does leave me to ask where I should go from here. Should I skip Defcon 24 and revisit this for Defcon 25? Should I try to become more involved in some fashion? Is it time for me to walk into the sunset for that event? I know that I do have some major thinking to do with regards to if I should attend or not. One thing that I do know is that like Blake, I will most likely be staying at a different hotel than normal for that event and most likely. Regardless of what happens I will say thanks Defcon for the good times and bad times.