Quick—I say summer, you say…..? Vacation? Beach? Relaxation? RSA Conference speaking submission? I’m pretty sure those are the first four thoughts that popped into your head, though perhaps not in that order.
As you are hopefully well aware, RSA Conference will be held April 20-24 next year. This brings with it the promise of better weather as well as more time to prepare your speaking submissions. In fact, we’re almost giving you the summer off as the official Call for Speakers won’t open until early September. The key word here is almost. Many have asked what the “secret formula” is to getting a session accepted at RSA Conference. As I’ve immersed myself in learning all things RSA Conference these past few months, the secret formula has become very clear. Preparation. That’s it. Know the audience. Know the competition (make your proposal stand out from the others). Know the deadlines (you’ll have four weeks from start to close). Know the process. Know the commitment (put real effort into the whole submission—not just the title and summary). And know the types of speaking opportunities available. Let me provide some insights.
Almost 30,000 people attended RSA Conference last year. Our delegates have spent an average of 9 years in the security industry and 80% are US-based. They’re smart, and intermediate to advanced content is appropriate and expected. They want to hear real world experiences with information they can apply to their jobs. Sales pitches are transparent, and they have no patience for them.
By the Numbers
Last year we had 375 sessions at RSA Conference with 657 total speakers, numbers that have steadily increased every year. This was culled from 1800 original submissions. Approximately 33% of our presenters were first time RSA Conference speakers. We expect over 2000 submissions this year.
RSA Conference content is selected by a Program Committee made up of industry experts—security professionals, scientists, technology experts, researchers, government employees, and attorneys. There are 2-3 judges/track who review each and every submission, a rigorous month-long review process. At the end of this review cycle, the Program Committee informs Hugh and me of their picks, and we set to work programming the Conference. Speakers are notified and RSA Conference provides a variety of resources to them to help achieve the best possible presentation. Additionally, the speakers send their presentations in for Program Committee review two times, helping to achieve the best possible content for delivery in April. By the time our presenters hit the stage, their presentations have been reviewed multiple times, many have received 1:1 speaker training, and all are very clear about delegate expectations.
In 2015 we will have 50-minute traditional sessions as well as 50-minute Peer2Peer sessions. The traditional sessions range from a single presenter to a joint presentation to a panel—remember, keep it compelling and unique, finding a controversial angle if you can, to set yourself apart. We also have a very popular, ever growing Peer2Peer offering. These sessions are limited to 25 participants and are designed to be discussion based and highly interactive. If you have an interesting topic that you’d like to facilitate a conversation around, submit it for consideration (this process will open toward the end of November). We’re working on some other session formats that we’ll be announcing in the coming months as well. 2015 looks to be a very exciting year on the content front.
So as you pack your suitcases and prepare for some much earned R&R this summer….keep a notepad handy to jot down some innovative security thoughts. As your Content Manager for RSA Conference 2015, I promise the best agenda ever—I know what comes from vacation-inspired brainstorming. See you in September!