DerbyCon 2018


DerbyCon organizers are da bomb!

This past weekend was DerbyCon, Louisville’s infosec (information security) conference — “by hackers, for hackers.” The organizing team is all-volunteer, just bringing the community together for connections, education, and fun. Every year is more amazing than the year before.


This year, there was a brand new Mental Wellness Village, run by Amanda Berlin (@InfoSystir). Part of the time, it was a chill/relax/quiet room, with coloring books, crafts, yoga mats, and massages. And there was also several amazing talks and events there, like dealing with depression or impostor syndrome, and managing time and life. Everything I attended there was amazing. I hope to spend more time there next year.

I also spent about half my time in the Social Engineering Village, which is always a blast. Chris Hadnagy (@HumanHacker) of (who has a brand new book!) hosts challenges and events like a capture the flag, trying to beat an FBI polygraph examiner, escaping handcuffs and crawling past a laser grid, and a panel discussion on ethics.

SE Mission Impossible

Patrick is about to escape handcuffs, pick a lock, and crawl through frickin’ lasers


Apart from my two main hangouts (the mental and social villages), I did indeed go to a few presentations, and visited almost all the special events and villages, and competed again in Hack Your Derby.

The Hack Your Derby (@HackYourDerby) contest is an annual competition for creating something really cool and unusual with a hat. Last year, my entry was a derby that was covered in crime scene tape (yes, I keep crime scene tape in my truck; why don’t you?). This year, instead of an expensive professional derby, I used several of the cheap plastic derbies that the judges hand out to those who want them. My idea was to combine twelve hats into a giant die. It took me a few hours to use masking tape to put die-rolling numbers on the inside of the hats, staple them together in an inverted spherical shape, and rig up a chin-strap. But the idea actually worked! I wasn’t convinced it would all come together until I had the whole thing done.

The musical acts this year were Vanilla Ice and Offspring. Holy cow! At my age, though, staying up until 11:30 for an act to even start is beyond me.

Hack Your Derby

My derby was a functioning d12 (12, 4, and 6 are visible)

I also loved attending CrossCon, the Sunday morning Bible study for Christian hackers at DerbyCon (and other cons).


This was our first year in the downtown Marriott instead of the Hyatt Regency. The new space did have more room, and we weren’t all squished together in the halls as we moved from session to session. On the downside, there wasn’t a single central gathering place like there was in the Hyatt. I heard a lot of complaints about rooms being cold, but I’m cold-natured anyway, so I always felt great.


You can see every video of DerbyCon on Iron Geek’s site.





Dave Kennedy

I, for one, welcome our bobblehead overlords

Ben Hibben

The Hardware Village teaches soldering and other skills

F Society

Vanilla Ice and Offspring brought hackers onto the dance floor

I also loved attending CrossCon, the Sunday morning Bible study for Christian hackers at DerbyCon (and other cons).