Mythbusters: RSAC Edition Part 2

In our last post we looked at RSA Conference myths that typically get associated with our call for submissions process.  Here are a few more bubbles we’re more than happy to burst!

Myth: RSAC Covers the Same Topics Every Year; Topics are Never Technical in Nature

Although RSA Conference focuses primarily on the business of security, we do have technical tracks at our events.  Our goal is to help our attendees learn something they can then apply to their jobs. If you are looking to watch someone hack into a random piece of equipment just to show that they can, you’re right to say you won’t see that at RSA Conference. But, you could learn how to develop and direct a successful information security program and that should impress your boss!

In terms of having the same topics, the security world changes daily but at times we still fight the same battles. As such, some sessions may sound similar!  However, we strive for the most current content possible so that you, our attendees, are always learning. This can be daunting with several months in between when the Call for Speakers closes and the Conference begins.  Ever wonder why there is so much time in between the two?

At the start of the process, each session proposal is reviewed thoroughly by the Program Chair and the Program Committee. Selected sessions are then programmed into the Conference. The process balances the topics presented with level of content difficulty.  Presentations are reviewed twice by the Program Committee and speaker training is offered to new presenters, presenters who’d like assistance and even to our top level “rock star” speakers who repeatedly score well.  While the timeline may seem long, it provides quality control and gives adequate time for our volunteer Program Committee to review materials thoroughly and constructively.  It also allows for timely updates to be made up until a few weeks before the event and for presentations to be uploaded to the website for access by attendees and the public. 

Myth: RSAC is just an RSA User Event

Unlike Dreamforce, Oracle OpenWorld and HP Discover, RSA Conference has never been a user event.  In 1991, RSAC was established as an industry gathering of the brightest minds in security; diverse in experience, neutral in presentation and built upon the idea of a free-flowing discourse to better serve information security.  And that’s still true today – RSA Conference is “where the world talks security.”

Myth: RSAC Rejected My Session Which Means I’ll Never Be Accepted to Speak 

Believe it or not, the #1 reason sessions are rejected is incomplete submissions. The session detail portion of the submission is the most important piece.  It is very clear when a marketing or PR person is tasked with preparing the submission, the title is catchy and the short abstract is solid, but the detail is sketchy.  Don’t fall into this trap.  Sales pitches are also easy to spot and quickly eliminated.  We also get a lot of very similar submissions, and with a limited number of sessions, the Program Committee has to pick the sessions and the presenters they think best address the topic.  And remember: RSA Conference has a sophisticated audience.  Basic sessions don’t make the cut, nor do past presenters who’ve been poorly evaluated by attendees (the temptation to sell rarely makes it through the selection process or the Program Committee slide review, but when it does, the audience evaluations make sure that presenter never comes back).

Myth: If I Get Rejected Once, I’ll Never Get Accepted

Although we hate to reject your submission, just because it happens once does not mean you’ll be rejected every time.  Some of our top speakers have learned from a rejected session to provide new session ideas that now have attendees running to see in-person!

We hope these posts have been helpful and give a better sense of our Call for Speakers process. We look forward to seeing your submissions for RSA Conference 2015! 

Posted on September 17, 2014

Britta Glade

by Britta Glade

RSA Security

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