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Welp, RSAC is a wrap. I’m still in introvert recovery, but allow me to attempt a summary of some things I discovered last week.

Note: I also have GoPro footage that I’ll share. So stay tuned for a video tour of the expo halls in the next newsletter edition.

Meeting in person matters

First, I was impressed by the amount of attendees that showed up and how much traffic I saw at the event in general. I don’t have hard numbers, but just based on my first-hand impression, I felt a lot of energy and excitement at the event. There was a lot of actual handshaking, people laughing, conversations, and just more energy than I’ve seen at RSAC since prior to the pandemic.

As evidence of this, there was a point in the event where I ran into at least six old colleagues within a span of 2 hours. It was uplifting and I would argue that it beats virtual connection any day of the week. I also noticed that unlike prior “pandemic” years, I found people to be more open to shake my hand without hesitation (though I may have applied hand sanitizer every time after out of habit), diving in for hugs, and just being more personable.

I captured this as I was entering the conference as I noticed the large crowd.

This used to be the magic of RSAC’s in year’s past, and I sensed that it returned, finally. This is a good thing. I’m not trying to get all sentimental, and trust me I jolted back to my hermit kingdom as soon as possible, but relationships and trust are the oil that turns the gears of any industry – and it’s harder to gain that virtually. I genuinely had fun seeing people in person. Scary, I know.

Messaging Notes

As mentioned earlier, I’ll post a video tour with more observations soon. I have a ton of footage that I gathered by walking around with my GoPro. I wasn’t stealthy about it, I just held it up high and recorded every booth in all areas of the expo halls. I felt like a Google Maps car driving around recording our local streets! Anyway, stay tuned for more insights and the video.

Snapshot from my upcoming GoPro footage I’ll share soon

My general messaging observations are:

  • AI-Powered, AI-Driven, AI-Augmented, AI-Native: yes, AI was nearly everywhere.
  • For All, Everywhere, the World: I noticed more broad-brush messaging. The word “everywhere” was everywhere!
  • Acronyms still abound: I noticed some “category-claiming” or new category creation attempts.
  • Identity and Zero Trust: seemed on the uptick, or maybe I just noticed it more?
  • STOP: I noticed this term used often.
  • Leader: lots of “leader” mentions.
  • Also trending: Proactive, signals, productivity, optimize.

Meeting the Team!

Quick pic with the PMM team on stage at the Splunk booth theater

Also very cool was the ability to meet the team in person. For some it was my first time meeting in person, and for others it was the first time in a year or 6 months. It makes a difference when you can sit and eat and hang out and just be in person together. Best of all, you don’t have to click “Leave” on a virtual call when the conversation ends.

Theater Talk – Eating my dogfood

Trying out my audience hand-raiser advice to start my theater talk – it still works!

A funny thing happened as I approached my theater talk. I realized that I was starting to apply the tips I wrote about in this newsletter. I suppose that sharing the tips actually does change my behavior because I immediately did a hand-raiser to start my talk. And the result was 4 practitioners, 3 security leaders, 1 student, 4 colleagues, and about 10 anonymous attendees that were in other roles. This helped me take a broader talk track as a called an audible.

And I also tried a new tactic. Before I went on stage I grabbed two swag items from our booth to test the audience with at the end. And I had several in the audience answer the questions correctly, so I was able to use that to better draw out engagement and the audience was laughing and had fun with that. Highly recommend a prize+test exercise at the end of or during your talk.

Touring San Fran on an e-bike

The weather was perfection last week, 70’s and sunny. So I took the opportunity to arrange a quick e-bike tour to the Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning. And two friends joined me this time, which made it even more memorable.

It’s amazing how much you can see on an e-bike in San Fran.

A few tips if you ever want to do this;

  • Plan ahead – plot your walk path from your hotel to Golden Gate Bike Rentals (search for it on Google Maps). Then it will cost about $50 to rent an e-bike. You can make it to the bridge in only 35 mins or so.
  • On the way back, stop for coffee, breakfast or lunch in Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • You can also ride to Golden Gate Park which has lots of cool areas and you can even reach the beach to walk in the water if you’re feeling adventurous. I always love stopping at the Blue Whale sculpture (see pic above).
  • Timing: If you take a ride at 4:30pm after the day and before dinner, it’s a good escape before or between “shifts”. You can do both trips (Bridge or Park) in ~2 hours.
  • I also stopped to see the houses from the show Full House (pic above) which was fun.
  • Tip: If you use Golden Gate Bike Rentals, they give you 50% off your future rides.

Discovering the Crab Station

Crab Station – highly recommended for a local experience

I usually go to the Crab House for my annual whole Dungeness crab duties, but while I was on my way, I noticed a spot called Crab Station. Sorry Crab House. I was delightfully surprised to see they offered an entire crab for half the price (just $31)! So I went for it and sat outside. Highly recommend for a crab fix.


Thanks for tuning in. Hopefully this shed some light on my learnings at RSAC last week. Stay tuned for the full RSAC video tour which I’ll post next.

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