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“Good Time” (verb)   1.have a good time – enjoy oneself greatly; “We had a ball at the party and didn’t come home until 2 AM”

By this definition, I unquestionably had a good time at B-Sides Las Vegas. New to the world of marketing, I have experienced many firsts in the past few months and this week was no exception. With my marketing label and warning of the “highly critical” security guru’s that awaited me I arrived at my first security conference. Surprisingly an immediate warm welcome was given. An invitation to dinner was extended by a member of the BSides team and I accepted, thankful I wouldn’t be spending the night alone in my hotel room. Little did I know that dinner (in Vegas) also includes dancing and cocktails, and always goes into the “wee hours.” That first night set a trend of making friends and having fun while immersed in a learning experience with cutting edge security peeps.

I learned all I could in the 48 hours given, stopping to sleep very little, and two things I learned stand out among the rest. First, I learned how completely relational this group is. There is trust at the core of everything they do and in spite of their sometimes rebellious reputation; they operate through networking like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Coming in a close second was when I learned to pick a lock. As I sat with tools and lock in hand, searching to feel the levers release, I was constantly encouraged until I successfully picked a ‘number four master lock.’  It isn’t that I am now skilled enough to raid gym lockers and sport the best gear thanks to my new talent, but rather it was the shared and genuine feelings of excitement for my success.

Many firsts have been thrilling, and most were enjoyable, but none can compare to the fantastic time at B-Sides Las Vegas. The experience has shaped my approach to future events and provided a filter for me to look through when viewing things in the security world. My arrival in Portland was bittersweet, happy to be home but instantly wanting to see all my new-old friends.

Angela Earl is a Marketing Programs Specialist at Tripwire. You can learn more by visiting her LinkedIn profile and be sure to follow her on Twitter @J_ai_Ho.