Gene Spafford is a technology pioneer particularly in security. He wrote a strongly negative view of experience of the RSA 2019 conference.
As I’ve noted from previous years, the deep content simply isn’t here. I no longer attend to learn about anything new and innovative — if I encounter such a thing, I view it as a pleasant surprise. Instead, this is basically a time and place where I can catch up with many friends and former students, see some industry trends, and maybe score a few new T-shirts. It also is a good intro to my spring workout schedule — I do about 20 miles of walking over 5 days, and I don’t eat many full meals.
My experiences of popular/well known technology conferences is roughly similar. Not enough serious content, booths are full of games (not business), requests for badge scans are obnoxious and limited knowledge or expertise in the booth (‘we will get back to you later’).
Most of what is presented in sessions would not be a surprise to my students (at least, not the ones who stayed awake in class). I ran into about 15 former students here, and some basically repeated that to me. Apparently, there is a demand for being told unsurprising, basic information at conferences.
Its common for untrained professionals to see conferences as training and so, yes, basic information is often normal.
You don’t see quite so many seasoned, repeat conference attendees these days because few come back repeatedly. Personally I am much more selective about events that I will attend. For example, I am attending Google Next in a few week but plan to take a break from VMware’s VMworld and Cisco’s Live conferences this year
This is something new :
I noted two companies had commitments to donate to non-profits when people visited their booths: Tripwire and Tinfoil Security. Kudos to them. I’d definitely rather have that than a fidget spinner or a box of mints.
Overall a good review of how conferences are becoming stale and value for money is hard to find.
The RSA 2019 Conference – CERIAS – Purdue University : https://www.cerias.purdue.edu/site/blog/post/the_rsa_2019_conference/