Friday, April 2, 2010

[Interview] c7five -- "THOTCON co-creator and...."

So... since I'm speaking at THOTCON ( I spelled it right, see?) I think it only fitting that I give you guys an idea of what this conference is all about, and one of the creators of the soon-to-be premier midwest hacker con!

  1. First off ...who are you?  What are you (in)famous for?
    •  I am c7five. I am not sure if I am famous or (in)famous for much. Google me and let me know what you find.
  2. What sparked you to start conference?
    •  I was on the flight back from DEFCON 17 and thought "Why isn't there a hacker conference in Chicago?"
  3. What's THOTCON all about?
    •  First, it is THOTCON, not THOTCon. :-) It stands for THree-One-Two-CON. 312 is the oldest area code in Chicago. It is small venue hacking conference with a goal of putting on the best possible conference on a very limited budget. We only charged $60 for early birds and $75 for general admin. We started from scratch, used social media and a crappy website to attract 13 world-class speakers and over 200 people together on a single day in April. Given this is the very first edition of the con, we'll likely know more about what it WAS all about the next day.
  4. What's THOTCON's "unique" appeal?
    •  It is in Chicago, which is centrally located and one of the best big cities in the world. It is clean, public transit friendly, and at the end of April will be great weather for visiting. The con is also being held at a bar. Yes, that's right, you can order a drink at 10am and watch talks. It is a single track conference as well, so you don't have to jump from room to room or be worried you wont get a seat. Everyone gets a seat (or a stool).  It is being held on Friday, which means there will be plenty to do post con, the next day and night. Many people are making a weekend trip out of it.
  5. Seriously...what's with the website graphics?
    •  We purposely want to be bare-bones here. It is done in 40 column and zero graphics to be seen. You don't need to spend a lot of time or money on a website to have a great con. Next year we'll upgrade the site to 80 column.
  6. What's the toughest thing about putting together a conference?
    •  Ticket sales was the toughest challenge we had so far. Not actually selling them, but trying to sell them. We had a few false starts after getting bounced from both Paypal and Amazon payments and settled on using Showclix. They have been great to work with and it has gone smoothly (so far). The other part is selecting the right speakers. For a first time con, we actually had a ton of CFP submits. It was tough to pick the right mix of experienced speakers while giving some newcomers a chance to speak.
  7. What conferences to you go to? (or would you go to if you could?)
    •  This year I will have gone to/plan to go to Black Hat DC (I spoke there), Black Hat EU, YSTS (in Brazil; speaking there for the 2nd time), Black Hat USA, DEFCON (this year will be my 10th year going; spoke for the first time last year), and SecTor (great con in Canada).
  8. What is one trend you can easily spot (in conferences) over the last 3-5 yrs?
    •  I see them going in two different directions. There are some commercial cons popping up (i.e. SOURCE) and then there are a new batch of smaller niche cons like THOTCON and QuahogCon making their way. I think we'll see the commercial ones having a harder time than the small ones. It costs a lot more and takes a lot more work to put a commercial con together than it does a small one. Our venue costs us very little as long as people drink and eat.
  9. What blogs do you read?
    •  Only yours, man.
  10. What OS (and version) do you primarily boot into?
    •  OSX Snow Leopard
  11. [Bonus] iPhone or Droid? Why?
    • iPhone. It works. I travel a lot internationally and it also works in those places. Droid might too, I don't know. I just got an iPhone first no reason to switch right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Next year we'll upgrade the site to 80 column.

That sounds a bit aggressive to me. I would take smaller steps and maybe go 60 columns next year. Maybe add a third color.