Conferences Entrepreneur Florida

It’s Startup Week in Tallahassee at Domi Station!

Banner: Startup Week Tallahassee - November 14th to 18th
Domi Station logo.

Tallahassee is the capital of the state of Florida, and it’s also the home of Domi Station, Tallahassee’s business incubator, coworking space, event venue, general all-round supporter of startups in the area, and friend of this blog (they were a host for StartupBus Florida when we passed through earlier this year). Domi Station is also the home of Startup Week Tallahassee, which happens this week!

And the events are FREE TO ATTEND!

Panel at Techstars Startup Week Tallahassee.
Techstars Startup Week Tallahassee logo.

The event is the Tallahassee edition of Techstars Startup Week, a week-long event celebrating entrepreneurship and the startup community. Startup Week features speakers and events to inspire, inform, and introduce people who share an entrepreneurial spirit.

Startup Week Tallahassee 2022 takes place this week, November 14th through 18th at three locations (including Domi Station) and will have 12 tracks focused on different industries:

  • Team and workforce development
  • Arts, culture, and entertainment
  • Marketing and creative
  • Cybersecurity
  • Non-profit
  • Web 3.0
  • Govtech
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Healthtech and wellness
  • Family
  • Legal
  • Fashion

If you’re in Tallahassee or nearby, check out Startup Week Tallahassee! Find out more at their site.

Conferences What I’m Up To

I’m catching Oktane22 online for free, and so can you!

Oktane22 is the tenth annual Oktane conference held by Okta, where I work. Okta is in the business of digital identity — providing authentication and authorization as a service — or more simply put, giving systems the power to know who’s using them and what they’re allowed to do.

And you can register to attend online for FREE!

Even if you’re not interested in authentication and authorization, you might be interested in the big keynotes featuring these guests…

Serena Williams and Magic Johnson, who’ll talk about establishing an identity:

  • Serena’s keynote will take place tonight (Tuesday, November 8th) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern (5:00 p.m. Pacific, 01:00 UTC) and will be a chat with Bloomberg Technology’s Emily Chang.
  • Magic’s keynote will take place on Thursday, November 10th at 12:00 p.m. Eastern (9:00 a.m. Pacific, 17:00 UTC).

I also plan to catch these sessions:

  • Wednesday, November 9:
    • Using React to Customize Your Auth0 User Experience
    • HTTP Security Headers Refresher
  • Thursday, November 10:
    • Terraform-Driven Auth0 Customization Using Modern CI/CD
    • Identity and the Future of the Internet: Where We’re Going, and How Identity Will Shape It
    • The Future of Security: Zero Trust and Continuous Authentication
    • Identity 201: Ten Key IAM Trends for the Next Five Years
    • How Identity Will Transform the Future of Banking, Citizen Engagement, and [Australian!] Football

Want to know more about watching Oktane22 online? I’ll leave it to Vivi to explain…

And don’t forget that you can register to attend online for FREE!

Business Conferences Current Events Florida Tampa Bay What I’m Up To

Scenes from CyberX Tampa

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Anitra and I attended last night’s CyberX Tampa event, an conference about the cybersecurity industry here in Tampa Bay. It was an extraordinarily well-attended event, with over 170 people gathered together to talk about technology, security, and the local tech scene.

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The event took place at TheIncLab’s offices, located in one of the old warehouses in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood, which is largely made of repurposed cigar factories from the late 1800s. They have a beautiful courtyard which I’m familiar with — before it was TheIncLab’s place, it was home to The Undercroft, whose UC Baseline cybersecurity course I took in 2020.

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CyberX Tampa opened with drinks, snacks, and networking, followed by two simultaneous panels.

The courtyard had the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion panel, featuring:

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And inside, there was the panel titled Blackhat Tactics You Should Know, with:

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The final panel of the evening was the big one — a discussion of the state of cybersecurity in Florida.

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The panelists were:

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It was a great evening all around, and I hope it’s a good sign for future events in Tampa Bay, and a sign that our tech community is active!

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Of course, the events wouldn’t have happened without the sponsors. Click on their logos to find out more about them!

Conferences Security Tampa Bay What I’m Up To

CyberX Tampa: Tonight at TheIncLab in Ybor City!

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The topic: Cybersecurity.

The event: CyberX Tampa, an evening conference with some pretty interesting speakers and topics, and a chance to catch up with some local techies and security nerds.

The place: TheIncLab in Ybor City, in the place where The Undercroft — the guild where I took a pretty intense cybersecurity course during the pandemic — used to be.

The cost: Free as in beer. $0. Just register on their Eventbrite page.

The agenda:

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.Networking
6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.Special honoree: Courtney H. Jackson, founder and CEO of Paragon Cyber Solutions and Global 2022 Cybersecurity Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
6:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.Breakout sessions

DE&I in Cyber Panel with:
• Moderator: Suzanne Ricci | Chief Success Officer @ Computer Coach
• Courtney H. Jackson | Founder & CEO @ Paragon Cyber Solutions
• Samantha Ramos | Information Security Risk Manager @ Nextech Systems
• Hugh Percy | Mgr, Cyber Security Threat Analysis & Operations @ Moffitt

Blackhat Tactics You Should Know
• Charlton Trezevant | Senior Application Security Consultant @ GuidePoint Security
• Robert Lubin | Security Operations Center Director@ Abacode
6:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.Networking
7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.Panel Discussion: State of Cybersecurity in Florida
Moderator: Larry Whiteside | CISO @ RegScale
• Jason Allen | CTO @ Digital Hands
• Kari Schori | CIO @ Office of the Public Defender 6th Judicial Circuit
• Rolando Torres | Co-Founder & COO @ Abacode
7:45 p.m.Thank you’s and good night

What you’ll get out of it: Well, that depends on what you put into it. But trust me, there are opportunities and a lot of potential there, and I can tell you that half of winning is just showing up.

I’ll see you there!

Conferences Current Events Editorial Tampa Bay

If you’re going to Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit 2022, YOU’RE AN IDIOT

Did that headline get your attention? Good.

There’s a lot of local hype about the upcoming Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit, and I’ve come to remind you that last year’s stars were these jerkoffs:

CELSIUS. Yes, that Celsius — the cryptocurrency lending company that filed for bankruptcy. The one who paused withdrawals in June, but not before its C-level people made big withdrawals themselves. The one facing federal investigations. The one whose data dump leaked half a million users’ holdings info.

Last year, they were the darlings of the Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit, where they announced their decentralized finance arm, Celsius X, their CTO announced his moving to Tampa Bay (and became one of Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “25 people to watch in 2022”), they helped facilitate Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s being paid in crypto (in a fit of crypto fever, she said she’d take two of her paychecks in cypto; she lost 67% of its value since then), and who threw a post-Summit community meetup so popular that there was a waiting list.

Hey, Tampa Bay! Did we learn nothing from Fast? Are we so desperate to compete against the Miami, Florida’s so-called “next tech hub,” that we’re willing to glom onto any grifter who comes along and promises to make us the next Silicon Valley?

As the one-person show behind the Tampa Bay Tech Events List, I will continue to list crypto events — people still want to attend them, and maybe “there’s a there there,” but I cannot in good conscience not stand by and not remind people that last year’s darlings costs some people dearly.

If you feel you must attend this year’s Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit, remember last year’s hype and this year’s outcome.

Recommended viewing

Conferences Tampa Bay What I’m Up To

More scenes and best practices from Tampa Code Camp 2022

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is accordion.jpg
TampaCC logo

Here are some more pictures from Tampa Code Camp 2022, along with some best practices that I saw at the event, which took place last Saturday, October 8th.

Want to see the full set of photos? They’re in the Photos section of Tampa Code Camp 2022’s Meetup page.

Make sure you see the previous article, Scenes from #TampaCC / Tampa CodeCamp 2022.

Try to get a group shot with all the presenters.

It’s just nice to have, and it helps make a record of the event more complete. The photo above is the post-Code Camp group photo featuring all the presenters, including Yours Truly and Anitra.

Get a venue with a big, bright gathering space.

I may have mentioned earlier that Keiser University’s Tampa campus has a great atrium lobby that makes a fantastic entry space for a conference. Thanks again to Keiser for providing us with such a nice venue!

Provide lunch at the venue if possible.

Providing lunch makes the event affordable to attendees in every economic situation, and it also keeps the attendees in one place, where they can literally break bread with each other and socialize, making the group more cohesive.

Even better, when people don’t have to go offsite to get lunch, they’re less likely to be late when the afternoon presentations start.

Have a great speaker dinner.

If the budget allows, have a dinner where the speakers and organizers get together and get acquainted (and especially this year, get re-acquainted). It helps to set a great tone for the event.

Here are some photos from the speaker dinner that took place the night before — thanks to Tampa Joe’s for giving us food, drinks, and a lovely patio on which to enjoy them!

Bring an accordion.

Because if you don’t, who will?

Have raffles if you’re an organizer or sponsor; enter the raffles and stick around for prizes if you’re an attendee!

Raffles are a great way to draw people to a conference and encourage people to interact with sponsors. If you hold the draw at the end of the conference and especially if you require the winner to be present (I know this isn’t always possible or applicable), you can encourage attendees to stick around for the full day.

Many people at conferences often decided that they’ll fill out the necessary forms or do the necessary legwork to enter a raffle “later,” and as with so many things in life, “later” often turns into “never.”

As a result, your odds of winning a prize at conferences, especially local ones, are often quite good. My general rule is to always enter the raffle — and if you read to the end of this section, you’ll see why it’s a general rule of mine!

Algorand, represented by Russ Fustino, a long-time regular in Tampa’s tech scene, provided a $100 Amazon girt certificate, which was won by Kelvin McDaniel, also a long-time regular in Tampa’s tech scene:

Pomeroy provided a Meta Quest 2 VR rig as one of the prizes, which Roger Hale won. I suggested that he definitely make sure to give Beat Saber a try, especially since it’s now free when you get a Quest, and it’s a fun way to dip your toes into VR:

Webonology also provided a great prize: an Xbox Series X, which got taken home by…

me! Here’s Greg (who’s also Webonology’s CEO) and me with this sweet, sweet gaming console.

And yes, while you can download games from home now, and while we’ve got gigabit fiber at home, the download/install process is still slow, especially for games for current-generation consoles. So we made a beeline for Gamestop, and I picked up Elden Ring, where my character needs to do a lot of leveling up.

Thank you so much, Tampa Code Camp!

Conferences Meetups Programming Tampa Bay

Scenes from #TampaCC / Tampa CodeCamp 2022

Keiser University Tampa’s building and palm trees.

The 2022 edition of Tampa Code Camp (a.k.a. #TampaCC) took place on Saturday, October 8th, and Anitra and I were there to give presentations, attend presentations, catch up with some old friends and colleagues, and make some new ones.

TampaCC logo

Organized by Kate and Greg Leonardo, Tampa Code Camp has been a local tech tradition for years. While it’s been the de facto local conference for people building on Microsoft/.NET/Azure technologies, it goes beyond that to include Open Source, data science, AI/ML, and soft skills sessions. (My own first presentation at Tampa Code Camp was in 2016, when I presented an introduction to React.)

Tampa Code Camp 2022 took place at Keiser University Tampa, who’ve been gracious enough to make their space available a venue for tech events with 100 people or more for the past few years, including Tampa Code Camp and the BarCamp Tampa Bay unconference. They have a spacious lobby that makes for a great reception/registration and sponsor booth hall, a good-sized auditorium for opening keynotes and lunches (made even better by a patio area), and classrooms of all sizes to accommodate all sorts of talks, each one with a reliable audiovisual setup for presenters.

Some of Tampa Code Camp 2022’s presentations

I was so busy either prepping for my presentation, presenting, or just chatting with people that I took all of two photos. Luckily, a number of people who were there took some and posted them on Twitter; I’ve shared them below and they’re linked to their source.

Here’s the opening keynote, given by co-organizer Greg Leonardo, who talked about the unexpected (and often untold) consequences of moving your back end from on-premises to the cloud, often known as the “lift-and-shift.” There are good reasons to move to the cloud, but the rationale (or more accurately, sales pitch) of cost savings has been oversold — in fact, there’s often a cost increase.

A view of the auditorium at the keynote talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo by Yours Truly.

Another key message from the opening keynote: running things on the cloud isn’t simply a matter of “our old stuff, but now on someone else’s servers.” It often requires a different approach and some re-thinking about how you do implementation and architecture. Some of the things you did when your servers were on-prem can be much worse when moved to the cloud. Watch out for these “onions in the varnish!”

Greg Leonardo delivers the keynote talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Chris Cognetta. Click here for the source.
Greg Leonardo delivers the keynote talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Adnan Masood. Click here for the source.

Here’s Chris Ayers, Senior Customer Engineer at Microsoft, giving his presentation, Dev Containers in VS Code, a handy feature that gives you a Docker container as a development environment:

Chris Ayers gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

We caught Sam Kasimalla’s session, titled IT life cycle and a bit of devops – Industry notes, which presented a solid overview aimed at people who are just entering (or pivoting to) our industry:

Sam Kasimalla gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Joey Hernandez. Click here for the source.

After Sam’s presentation, I raced to my room to give my talk, Build cross-platform visual novels, simulations, and games with Ren’Py, where I walked the group through the development of a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style infosec training manual and a turn-based “Florida Man” RPG-style combat game:

Joey deVilla gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

While I was talking about Ren’Py development, Art Garcia was a couple of rooms over, giving his presentation, Azure DevOps APIs: Things you can do with the APIs, where he covered ways to do things that you can’t do using the Azure DevOps UI, but can if you use PowerShell, the APIs, and some tricks that aren’t well-documented.

Art Garcia gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Chris Cognetta. Click here for the source.
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I’d like to thank Tampa Code Camp for not just providing a free lunch (and breakfast coffee and donuts — much apprecated!), but for estimating high in order to ensure that everybody could get a free lunch. It’s little touches like these that add to these events.

Russ Fustino’s “about me” slide from his Algorand presentations.

I don’t have a photo for Russ Fustino’s session, Web3 – Blockchain Myths for Developers, but we attended that one. Russ has been a local fixture on the tech scene ever since I’ve lived here (nearly a decade!) and we definitely want to catch him. His brother Gary (also a tech scene regular) recorded video of the session, so it should be online soon.

In the same time slot, Chris Cognetta gave his Power Apps in the Real World talk, where he covered Power Platform and Power Apps:

Chris Cognetta gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

After that, Anitra Pavka gave her talk, Manage your manager for fun, profit, and career success, which covered the valuable, vital, yet often-overlooked topic of working with the one person who has control of half your weekday waking life:

Anitra Pavka gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo by Yours Truly.

At the end of the day came Joey Hernandez’ Cyber Incident Response Exercise – From Tech to Exec talk — an excellent topic, because so many companies get this wrong for a multitude of reasons. He talked about TTXs — tabletop exercises, which in cybersecurity are preparedness exercises where you go through the steps of a simulated security incident.

Joey Hernandez presents at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Joey Hernandez. Click here for the source.

Also at the end of the day: Jared Rhodes gave his fourth talk of Tampa Code Camp 2022: Homelab – Private Cloud on a Budget! I’ve been meaning to give homelabs a look.

Jared deserves a prize for being the busiest presenter at Tampa Code Camp 2022, because he also gave these talks:

And he came here from Atlanta to give his talks. I think the Azure team should at least send him some of their nicer swag for doing all this work on their behalf.

Jared Rhodes gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

Thanks to the sponsors!

Events like this don’t happen without sponsors. First, thanks to Keiser University Tampa for providing a venue!

Events like this go even better when the presenters get a chance to catch up beforehand, hence the long-standing tradition of a speaker dinner. Once again, it happened at the always-reliable, always-fun Tampa Joe’s. Thanks for the food and drinks!

Starbucks was the coffee sponsor. Free coffee? Bless you.

Photo via Leah Parrott.

Thanks to Pomeroy for helping make Tampa Code Camp 2022 happen, and for providing one of the raffle prizes: a Meta Quest 2 VR rig!

Photo via Leah Parrott.

Pomeroy also provided some swag that I needed:

Photo via Leah Parrott.
Photo via Leah Parrott.

Algorand also had a table, and when Russ wasn’t giving his Algorand presentation, he was at the Algorand table, and he answered a number of my questions and hooked us up with nice T-shirts. Thanks, Algorand!

And finally, I’d like to thank Webonology — which is also Greg’s company — for being a sponsor and contributing the grand prize, an Xbox Series X!

Photo via Kate Leonardo.

Please check out these sponsors. They do great work, they supported this great event, and they’re helping to build the Tampa Bay tech scene!

Tech scenes don’t happen by themselves — they need YOU!

What makes a tech scene?

In the end, it boils down to a single factor: techies who take part in building a tech community. There are cities out there with sizable populations of techies that aren’t tech hubs — these are places without people who help build a tech community. There are also smaller places with smaller numbers of techies but have a vibrant tech scene, and these are the places with a handful of active organizers and people who show up for tech events.

Among these active organizers are Kate and Greg Leonardo, who’ve been consistently stepping up and doing the (often, but not always) thankless work of putting together events like Tampa Code Camp and upcoming events for 2023. Thank you, Kate and Greg, for everything you do for the Tampa Tech Scene!