For all the power of the Internet, there is something special about connecting in person. It can add a lot to a company’s brand, and even help inspire a movement, to have an in-person component. In 2008, my team at HubSpot demonstrated the power of building an influential in-person industry event. We were looking for a way to unite the marketing industry and position HubSpot as the brand leading the inbound marketing revolution. From 2008 to 2014 we scaled the event from nothing to 15,000 people, and it is now an event that takes over the Seaport. Having thousands of people from the marketing, sales and SaaS industries descend on Boston for a week is great for the city and the tech community at large.
What made it so successful? What I knew then, and still firmly believe today, is that the long term success of an event depends completely on having great content. This applies to any conference, meet-up or forum, regardless of size or industry. Since I joined Cybereason last year, one of my goals has been to apply some of my learnings and change the typical marketing playbook in the security industry.
That brings us to today. As you see, almost daily on all the major news networks, some of the world’s largest companies and organizations across the private and public sectors (despite big investments in cybersecurity) are breached by hackers or competitors or foreign governments (do Sony, HBO, Verizon, FedEx, Yahoo!, Merck, Cadbury, Maersk, and Nuance Communications ring a bell?). And recent global attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya leave the vast majority of companies searching for solutions.
The security industry is overdue for a new approach. In order to help organizations and businesses stay ahead of an ever-evolving adversary, we need to ask smart questions. We need to bring together maverick thought leaders to inspire. We need to go deep. To help the community come together around these challenges, Cybereason is introducing DEEP 2017 -- a collaborative event where thought leaders will discuss new approaches to today's sophisticated threats.
But how will we create an event that is actually meaningful? Read on.
Identifying an Audience, Building a Connection
What’s really important with any event is identifying the audience. With a clear focus on the audience, you can more precisely build content and an agenda that fits their interest. With that in mind, we’ve designed DEEP 2017 for leaders and executives in the cybersecurity world. We're limiting attendance to C-level and VP-level folks, with a few exceptions for remarkable individuals. We want a place where a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or CIO feels like he or she is with peers. We have the former CISO of the CIA and the former Director of InfoSec from Sephora both speaking, plus many other security industry experts and thought leaders to be announced. Boston is a major hub for the cybersecurity industry so it makes sense to have the event here, and the Liberty Hotel is a former jail which seems like the perfect venue to host an event like this.
Creating a Unique Strategy and Customized Format
So you may be thinking, is the strategy for DEEP 2017 is the same as INBOUND? Not at all. INBOUND is about the masses. DEEP is about the elite. We want to build the event that the world's best cybersecurity minds put on their calendar every year as a must-attend event. We only have room for 150 people this year, and I don't ever see DEEP getting much bigger than a few hundred people. Think back to the original TED conference - before they watered it down with all the TEDx events where anyone can speak - they had former Presidents and Nobel Prize winners speaking to a crowd of 500 people. I want people to feel like they are seeing the cybersecurity equivalent of Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, U2 and Metallica doing one show at the Paradise Rock Club. In future years we will live stream the presentations so we can have an audience of thousands, but still, keep the in-person event very intimate. We think this format will be more effective and resonate better within this industry.
Finding Engaging Speakers and Influencers
I’m excited to share that we’ve lined up Steve Wozniak, the legendary Apple Co-Founder as a keynote speaker. He is a geek, an entrepreneur, and a big time hacker and prankster too. I had him speak at our annual conference when I worked at SolidWorks back in 2007 and it was awesome. When I reached out to him about keynoting the first DEEP conference, he jumped at the opportunity. He's excited to connect with fellow geeks.
In addition to Steve, we’ve lined up several other dynamic thought leaders from the security industry and beyond. We’re filling the agenda with folks who can fuel valuable, actionable, and exciting discussions. Again, it comes down to content. By selecting the right thought leaders, we can start powerful discussions that will have a far-reaching impact.
Can you Come?
Maybe. DEEP 2017 is taking place at the Liberty Hotel on October 3-4. Please visit deep2017.com for more info and to request an invitation. The first ten C-level or VP-level security and IT professionals to respond with promo code "VENTUREFIZZ" will get in for $99 instead of $1000.