BSides Liverpool 2019

Thank you to all who supported the inaugural BSides Liverpool event. We had a brilliant first event and are glad that the feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive. We have learning points and will address them briefly here and in future events. 

Pre-Sides

It was brilliant that so many of you joined us to help prepare for the event on the day.  Thanks again to our lovely goon squad and Head Goon Lee Morton for the extra pairs of hands that were required, for your company, humour and brain power. 

After an afternoon preparing the venue we met friends old and new in the Pumphouse Pub, packed and much fun was had by all and we got ready as the sun went down for our first event. People congregated steadily over the evening and speakers, sponsors, goons and rookies all enjoyed each others company on the banks of the Mersey into the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Day and the Venue

When the Armed Forces turned up en-masse outside we all wondered what was going on at first, but of course the date we had chosen was also Armed Forces Day and they had displays and demonstrations outside.  This mostly helped with the atmosphere although a couple of attendees definitely regretted attempting some of the Royal Marine Physical Training challenges in the summer heat. We’ll say no more about that…

About that heat!  

We had ordered sunshine,of course, but when it came it was brutal!  The venue had air conditioning but an old building with over 200 people in it and even with the River Mersey as our onsite cooling system, the venue was sweltering hot!  Again a special thanks to the speakers, sponsors, villages and crew/goons who persevered and helped up deliver the day despite all of us visibly melting. Little did we know 29th June 2019 would be the hottest day of the year something to bear in mind when we consider our venue and temperature control systems next time!

This was our first event and so many little things can go wrong at a conference.  Thanks to all the advice from the many other BSides, friends and other cons that had supported us and warned us gently that what could go wrong will go wrong and did it ever?!  We won’t bore you all here with all the issues that we had to fix in the run up to the event and on the day, but let’s just say that we appreciated how many of you commented on how smoothly the event unfolded, we are glad it looked that way! 

The Maritime Museum is quite a special building that offers overlooking views of the Marina. On the topic of the museum – if you are ever in the vicinity take a peek at http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/

Attendees

We had a wonderful friendly and diverse crowd attending our conference!  People came from near and far to support the event, and we lost count of the people that mentioned it was their first BSides event too, and how they felt it was a positive and collaborative environment! This is always good to hear as the ethos of BSides was reflected well and drew veterans and newbies alike.

So many of you have told us that you felt welcome and supported and this, to us, was the mark of a successful event.  Thanks to you all for adding to this safe and friendly atmosphere. We hope to bring more of you to the event next year and encourage you all to come back again and bring your friends and colleagues to join us. 

Helpers

The event required an incredibly coordinated effort between social media assistance, security assistance on the day, safety of the attendees and speakers, and everything from making sure we had the correct dongles at the last minute, to 4G connectivity for the speakers. The entire BSides Liverpool crew would like to extend an absolutely massive THANK YOU to all of you for making our job so much easier, your work was not missed and you sum up exactly what the BSides spirit is all about.

Speakers

Despite having a lot of very late cancellations, (best wishes to all who needed to be elsewhere that day our love and support goes to you all) for various reasons we will not go into here,  we still had a fantastic mix of wonderful speakers who gave wonderful talks on a variety of topics.  The acoustics were a little loud and temperamental at times but that’s what you get for springing up in a building over 100 years old.

Thanks to all our speakers for your time and effort, and special props to our rookies and their mentors for delivering their informative talks. We are so proud of you all, well done.

Panel

On the subject of speakers, we are aware of the debate on social media regarding the make-up of our panel.  We did improvise the panel on short notice due to the aforementioned cancellations and we are grateful to them all for participating and supporting us at literally the last moment.  

Thank you all so much for your help and support.

Diversity, inclusion and representation are all incredibly important topics for our industry, were part of the planning of our event and will remain a priority for us all at Bsides Liverpool. Whilst we know our event did reflect this commitment,  we must also be mindful of reflecting it clearly and unambiguously in all our communications and in everything we do.

Diversity and inclusion matter so much, but clarity and visibility of this is essential, for the avoidance of doubt and ambiguity, concerns, problems or issues.  This has been a learning point for us and will help us a lot in the future.

We can and will do better, and ask you to help us get it right and continue to point out when we can improve. 

All advice and feedback is welcome bsidesliverpool@gmail.com will reach the core team.

Sponsors

Thank you once again to all our sponsors who provided us with the funds to hold the event, entertain you all, networking and recruitment opportunities, company and friendship.  You were all amazing and we are indebted to you.  

Workshops 

Thanks to the amazing lock-picking, car-hacking and social engineering stands and to Richard and Matt who held incredible workshops. Every time we walked around these areas there was an awesome atmosphere and such a positive energy, with crowds of people learning and enjoying all the activities. 

These activities really added to the day and gave it variety and value.

 After Party

After a great event comes the inevitable letting your hair down.  We couldn’t have done this without our after party sponsor. LMNTRIX provided us with much needed food and drinks and carried people through after an exhausting day, it was great to hear from delegates as we reflected on the day. The evening couldn’t have been better and rewarded us with an amazing picture of a late sunset on the Mersey. Thank you once again to Ian & LMNTRIX for your help and generosity!

Conclusion

Once again, thank you to everybody who helped make the inaugural BSides Liverpool event a huge success, we could not have achieved it without YOU. We got a lot right and we have lessons to be learned and we hope to see you all again next time for another amazing BSides Liverpool…

Speaking of which…

Do you think you can help us next time? Want to be a Goon? A Sponsor? A Speaker? A Mentor? Have great ideas?  We want BSides Liverpool 2020 to be another incredible event and we are starting to plan very shortly! Get in touch with us, be part of our community, BSides Liverpool is very much on the map, lets keep it moving and make it even better next time. See you by the River…

You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.

John Lennon and #ScouseSec

BSides Liverpool Crew