S4x23 is in the books. It took place 13 – 16 Feb 2023. The spirit of S4 always tells the story, and I know people like to know the numbers.

  • 1105 total attendees (sold out)
    • less about 75 people who didn’t pick up their badge
    • plus about 100 people who had 3rd floor only badges
    • 70 people were on the waitlist when we closed it down. Unfortunately we had to turn down people at the door who didn’t believe or take the sell out status seriously.
  • 217 women attendees
    • A record number, and yet the percentage stayed the same as S4x22 … 20%
  • Attendees from 28 countries were at S4x23
    • 77% of the attendees were from the US … a bit higher than the S4 norm of 70%
    • Canada was the 2nd most represented, followed by Israel, and then Germany
    • 9 countries sent over 10 attendees
    • Hats off to the 8 from Australia and 12 from Singapore who likely traveled the furthest to attend
  • 70% of the attendees had not attended S4x22
    • 42.5% of the S4x22 attendees returned to S4x23 (confusing, but S4x22 is working off the smaller denominator of 800)
    • we haven’t updated the master list to see who was a first time ever S4 attendee (my guess is it will be between 60% – 65% first time ever to S4)
  • 64 performers graced one of the three S4 stages
    • 46 of these were first time speakers on a S4 stage (we like to shine a light on hidden talent)
    • Script for at least 3 performers … 1) Attended S4 the first time at S4x22, 2) Talked to Dale about some idea they had, 3) Dale said you should respond to the CFP for S4x23, 4) they took the initiative, did this, and got on the S4x23 stage
  • and finally the Loews said the S4 group drank by far the most coffee they have ever seen in many years

You won’t see the top number, ~1100 attendees, go up for S4x24. We are coming back to the Loews, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and Surfcomber. We felt this was the maximum number of people. With an average annual attendee growth rate of 30%, this is a problem and an opportunity. We are going to use the opportunity to work on the attendee mix. For example limiting the number of vendor attendees and increasing the number of asset owner attendees. Our already set S4x24 goal is 500 of the 1000 tickets we will sell going to asset owners.

I focused on metrics in my opening Explore mini-keynote and in a lot of the on-stage interviews. The numbers above are related to our attendee metrics. We also have creative environment metrics, on-stage content metrics, impact metrics, and financial metrics. For example, one of the impact metrics is:

Capture the top five ideas generated at S4 and count how many of these top five are attempted in the subsequent 12 months.
We did well on this metric for S4x20 with Top 20 PLC Secure Coding Practices, ICS4ICS and ICS-Patch. Not that S4 did the work; our role is more of a cheerleader, facilitator. We did poorly on this for S4x22, with a small and unsuccessful effort for DFIR for PLCs. (although I understand a group interested in this met at S4x23).