Monday, March 24, 2014
Reflections on AppSec AsiaPac 2014
Hello OWASP leaders,
The Appsec Asia Pac 2014 is over, and it enters the pantheon of unforgettable OWASP conferences. I wanted to give the leaders list an update of the highlights, and mention some of the great successes of the event.
As to be expected, the event was meticulously organized in a welcoming venue in the heart of Tokyo. The organizers and the OWASP staff did an amazing job of pulling it all together, which can only be described as "sprezzatura" - cheerfully accomplishing extremely difficult tasks while making it appear effortless.
A few key points from my perspective to success:
1. The conference smashed through the language barrier
- Every conference session had amazing, United Nations quality translators. The translators were so good and so fast, even jokes were being translated in real time (was amazing to see a joke/pun being made in English, followed by near simultaneous laughter from both the English-speaking and Japanese-speaking audience). These super high quality translators eliminated the seemingly insurmountable language barrier. The fact they were able to do this translation with even these very technical topics and industry-specific terms was nothing short of amazing.
- The paid technical training classes (my class and Dave Wichers’ class) had volunteer translators who did great fantastic work. The participants in my class took copious notes and we had many in-depth discussions, thanks to the real-time translation efforts of the volunteers. Little to nothing was "lost in translation".
2. The OWASP community in Japan is very vibrant and growing rapidly
- It was clear OWASP is growing very rapidly in Japan. Participants from many regional chapters made an appearance at the event, from various areas and representing luminary companies. I have a strong feeling we will be seeing continued growth in high-quality OWASP projects originating out of the Japanese OWASP community.
- The OWASP members and organizers went far above and beyond taking care of all the attendees from overseas. The hospitality that I and the other overseas participants experienced was unforgettable. We had multiple dinners, a trip to the top of the tallest tower in the world (Sky Tree), a tour of Tokyo including an excursion in a spaceship looking futuristic riverboat designed by a famous Manga artist and of course a multilingual Karaoke night.
3. Skyrocketing global-level interest in application security
- The conference had an auspicious 404 attendees, and drew in representatives from all over Japan, the region and the world. Clearly significant bridges were built between so many geographically dispersed people. This is one of the great benefits from the live events - face to face communication especially those that transcend language and national delineations.
- Events like this substantially strengthen OWASP globally. As a shameless self-serving example, I personally received commitments from Japanese members to help translate the OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series, making this OWASP outreach effort available new millions of potential OWASP members.
So with deep gratitude I want to again recognize Riotaro Okada, Sen Ueno, Robert Dracea and all the numerous other event organizers who put in extreme effort and dedication to this event, along with the indefatigable Samantha Groves and Laura Grau. Also, a round of applause for ALL past and present event organizers globally. It is your continued efforts unshackle OWASP out of the virtual and allow it to thrive in the real world.