The first Suits and Spooks event took place in Palo Alto at the old Facebook loft on September 24, 2011. It was basically borne out of my frustration at participating in over fifty speaking engagements at conferences where nothing constructive came from any of the talks. Speakers never engaged with attendees, and attendees couldn’t challenge anything that they heard coming from the podium. That was one problem.
The other was that there was little interaction between the three-letter agencies of the Intelligence Community and the technology startups in Silicon Valley – at least back then. I thought there was a way to tackle both problems with one event, and there was only one name that summed up that mission: Suits and Spooks.
Nine years and 19 events later, it has proven itself to be a durable and successful model for tackling hard challenges. Past locations have included Washington, D.C., London, NYC, Boston, La Jolla, Monterey, and Singapore.
The speaker to attendee ratio averages 1:4; something almost unheard of at any other cybersecurity event. That’s one of many reasons why I call it the anti-conference.