RSA Hacks: Tips for Finding Value
Two things in this unpredictable and, at times, inexplicable world remain steadfast: tradeshows can be overwhelming and hard to find value in, and cybersecurity continues to be one of the most buzzed about industries across the globe. Combine the two, and you’ve got hundreds of sessions and speakers, endless events, and likely a good bit of mileage on your FitBit, all crammed into five days for the largest cybersecurity conference in the world, RSA Conference 2017.
Whether you’ve been planning for months or you just registered last week, follow our best practices for a successful visit to Moscone Center.
Hack #1: Pick five influencers to connect with, and know why they’re on your list.
Just as the sage advice that you cannot be everything to everyone holds true you, you cannot set out to meet with every reporter and analyst who attends RSAC. Avoid wasting both of your time by picking five influencers that truly focus on the work you do and problems you solve. These are usually people whose writing or research you follow regularly and whose opinions you value. Once you’ve got your list, research their focus inside and out. Do they typically churn out multiple articles per day at the conference, or are they focused on one or two post-event features? Do they typically do a post-RSAC report for their analyst firms? If you’re worried about missing a connection, plan on being at Moscone from Tuesday through Thursday for maximum onsite exposure to the influencers on your list.
Hack #2: Be ready for mobile meetings.
With RSAC starting next week, media and analyst schedules are booked and have been for weeks. No level of persistence or oh-so-polite follow up is going to change that now. Don’t fret, this is where mobile meetings come in. Remember those five influencers? Do a quick search on sessions they’re speaking at, or events their publishers or firms are sponsoring, and get in the same room as them. The best connections don’t get stronger over a conference room table, so don’t worry if you haven’t secured a ton of calendar meetings. Proximity is your friend at this stage of the game, and an in-between–appetizers chat at one of the RSAC Bash events or a 5-minute introduction while standing in line at the Cybrew Café can sometimes be just as valuable as an hour-long meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The tradeshow floor, while a fun way to get a lay of the security land, is a great place for bumping into media or analysts that are checking out the exhibition hall. Keep in mind to always approach with consideration – nobody likes an ambush. Make an impromptu tradeshow floor connection with a Forrester analyst? The hallways outside of the show floor at Moscone North are close by and offer a slightly quieter space for an extended conversation.
Hack #3: When you arrive at the conversation, make it worth everyone’s time.
While getting your client’s pitch down is a must, it’s important to make time to reflect on the industry as a whole. What’s the future of encryption? How does the new administration affect the cybersecurity landscape? Is privacy an undisputable right to individuals? To companies? To the government? It’s not only wildly refreshing to have a thoughtful conversation at one of these fast-paced, high-energy conferences, but constructive discussions that do not center solely on the product or company you represent can be some of the most valuable occurrences of the week. Once you’ve found a chance to connect – make it worth everyone’s time.
RSA Conference is five days of opportunity (which happens to be the theme this year) to connect and engage with security influencers who empower and inspire the entire industry. I hope these tips help you make the most of a conference that truly sets the tone for cybersecurity thought leadership throughout the year.