The “mmm…” in Community

When I got home last weekend after an awesome week at WEareTROOPERS, my 5yr old asked me what actually happened in Heidelberg…
I told him we were meeting with some people from all over the world to talk about computer security, and he asked me if it was “to stop the bad guys, like super-heroes?”. So I told him “yes, kind of…”, and he decided he would take his new Troopers T-Shirt to school on Monday to show his classmates. Kids are truly amazing… [<3 <3 <3]

But since you are not a kid anymore, I would like to take the opportunity of this blogpost to go into a bit more details and tell you what really happens at Troopers… I’ll skip on the technical for now (most probably will do another post once the recordings are made available), and in this post I would like to put the focus on the human side.

Attending troopers had been on my list for a while, but I would have never thought back then I would one day Attend/Speak/Host all at once… [Life does come in mysterious ways…] but for my first Troopers, I got to wear those 3 hats and it was a total blast at every level.

First, I would like to thank @Enno_Insinuator. I know he doesn’t like it, but I think he deserves credit for creating such a Con. Other managers might have given me bullet points and a list of stuff to do, but when I asked him what was expected from me as a member of the Troopers Crew, the only thing he told me was “make the people feel comfortable…”. This to me resumes what I know of Enno. He is a big man with a big heart, and I feel lucky to work under his guidance.

Then I would like to thank all the Crew at ERNW. I spend most of my consultant time on site at customers or working from home, and rarely get to come to Heidelberg. Working with all of you was a great experience. Your positive energy, creativity and dedication was contagious, and I feel honored to have worked with you all on this event. I hope I got to say it face to face, but if not: THANK YOU ALL. YOU ROCK.
Special mention goes to Kerstin and Rachelle, your availability and reactivity was impressive thru out the whole week. You ladies did an amazing job and deserve massive credit for it…
Next up, @hnzlmnn & @JeffMakes, both of you guys hold a special place in my heart. I love people with crazy ideas (and the talent to make it happen). The badge is just awesome again this year… curious to see how you can beat that next year…
Also special shout-out to:
@talynrae + @khae & Crew, for organizing the @WeAreNahuel spin off (thanks for letting me in on this… Security is serious business, we need to laugh about ourselves once in a while. Loved it).
@Priyachalakkal & Co, for running a BlackHoodie in parallel and bringing more diversity to the community. We all know we need that. Thank you.
– All those who contributed to CTF/Student Challenges/Packet wars and Co. I know the amount of work that went into this… kudos to all of you.

Next come the speakers/trainers. [I will here focus on the AD track as this is my area, but I believe same goes for the other tracks]. Thank you all for showing up and doing more than the job. I know for a fact that travelling half of the globe [leaving family behind] to come and deliver a talk/training is not as easy and natural as it seems.
Many of you could be considered “InfoSec RockStars”, yet none of you seem to have a misplaced ego. Loved seeing all of you attending each other’s talks the whole day and being always available for interaction with the attendees.
[On a more personal note: @Carlos_Perez, @harmj0y, @_Wald0, @CptJesus, @PyroTek3, @JaredHaight, I’ve been following you guys for while,  you all are a great source of inspiration for many of us… Thank you all for you guidance thru the years. Your support means a lot. <3]

Last but not least, I would like to thank all attendees. I know most of us would rather spend the evening home than in a venue packed with strangers, I know many of us make that initial effort to get ourselves out there without really knowing why, but it often pays… [Talk to an introvert, next thing you know you are eating kangaroo in Mongolia… ;)]

One might wonder what is the common drive to all these odd people.
What makes an introvert break out of his shell and talk to strangers?
What makes a nervous speaker face the crowd and show his ugly code to the world?
What makes the organizing crew go to bed late and wake up early with that same smile?

I think Enno nailed it with the Troopers motto: MAKE THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE…
And maybe my son is right, maybe we are Super-Heroes after all…

Events like Troopers reload my batteries and boost my motivation.
I now feel ready for another year of scary adventures in the corporate world,
happy to be a part of this community…
For the rest, what happens at Troopers stays at Troopers,
so I will not say anything about flaming hats, late night karaoke, and mandatory elevation & escalation…
You had to be there… I’m happy I was…

Thanks you all for making Troopers 19 what it was, and I hope we see you next year…

Hack the planet.


[PS: Forgot to mention the venue staff: Food was good. Ice cream was magic. Service was discreet & efficient. The French part of me enjoyed that. Thank you all.]