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Pursuing Failure - YouTube Noob to DEF CON Goon?

Alex Chaveriat
Alex Chaveriat
Whelp, this is now a thing.

Um... What Just Happened?
“Are you planning to be in Vegas for DEF CON 29?” [DEF CON]
Looking down at my phone, exhausted at 1 AM, I saw the Twitter message. Somehow even outside the conference, DEF CON took my night of sleep.
DEF CON asked about my plans, and I overshared with HUGE walls of text. We went back and forth, and a few days later, the lead DEF CON Photographer reached out, I had an interview, and I became a “Goon” (Staff at the largest hacking conference in the world). From an outsider’s perspective, I can see why this doesn’t seem like a big deal. For the sake of this email, just go with me. It is a big deal for me. A massive deal!
With a channel with about 600 subs, how did this happen?
Honesty, I have no idea. It could be my passion, humor, or the fact that I made a video about two idiots (my dear dear friends) that forged a DEF CON badge out of a urinal cake. 😂 Regardless, I am certain if I didn’t START my YouTube channel then Gooning never would have happened.
Fear is a crippling thing. Sometimes it stops us from doing stupid things, like eating asparagus because that vegetable is clearly poison (sorry mom).
Fear also stops us from putting ourselves out there. YouTube is terrifying. I didn’t realize that until I went to publish my first video, and two things kept stopping me from hitting publish and starting.
EVERYONE IS GOING TO JUDGE ME - No one cares. They are too busy worrying about their fears.
I AM GOING TO FAIL - OF COURSE I AM; I have NEVER done it before.
Success comes from failing. Many failures over time to fail better and improve. Rarely do we start with success or at least good success.
Think about programming. We keep trying and failing to compile or run correctly until it “magically” works.
We learn by making mistakes. Learning is a process. We need to do the reps. We need to be failing better constantly.
Pursue failure & Hack on,
😌 Quote of the Week
“In our world, there is no stagnation. Only progression or regression.”
– Random comment at the top of a Peter McKinnon YouTube video
🤘 My Favorite Things This Week
DEF CON Darknet Casefile - The DEF CON Darknet casefile started this week. Check it out at (note the link will forward to This is a teaser for the larger game that takes place during DEF CON 29.
Preparing for Gooning at DEF CON 29 - While prepping for travel is typically stressful, it is hard to be anxious while ridiculously excited for new challenges. I think I have the technology side figured out. There is a weird benefit to wearing masks at the conference; everyone has a built-in pop-filter.
🚽 Things That Are Gross
Missing in Action at DEF CON 29 - Three different friends let me know they are changing plans and will not make it to DEF CON 29. It hit me hard. There are camp friends and DEF CON friends, which I see once a year, yet somehow the friendship extends past mere acquaintance. I think it comes down to an incredible shared passion. It has been 2 years since seeing them, as DEF CON 28 was virtual. What brings a smile to my face is the joy and excitement we will have next year to celebrate our reunion at DEF CON 30.
Dealing with YouTube Content ID - Two weeks ago, the live stream was disabled by YouTube halfway through. I planned a live “React” video with clips from WarGames: The Dead Code; it is a truly awful movie, especially when compared to the original. Since that time, I have been dealing with a “warning” (which I appealed and it was granted 👍 ). After the grant, the video was taken down again by the Content-Id system for copyright infringement, and my dispute was rejected. No amount of editing could get around it, though my latest edit with a new dispute is pending. After 48 hours of wait time, the video was unblocked by YouTube. At the time of this email, it is live on the channel. Though MGM still has the ability to reject the request for the next 25 days even though it is Fair-Use. It has been “fun” navigating these rules and legal aspects.
🎥 YouTube Videos This Week
Announcing Gooning at DEF CON and a bit of the journey that brought me to it.
My DEF CON 29 just got WEIRD | THANK YOU!
My DEF CON 29 just got WEIRD | THANK YOU!
DEF CON has tons of unofficial badges. I made a video highlighting some of the designs coming out this year. Gater_Byte is maintaining a list available here.
Unofficial DEF CON 29 Badges #badgelife | Pre-Con Look
Unofficial DEF CON 29 Badges #badgelife | Pre-Con Look
As of right now, this one is live. Reacting to WarGames: The Dead Code with Gater_Byte, Gourry, and Gulo.
Hackers REACT to the WORST Hacking Movie
Hackers REACT to the WORST Hacking Movie
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Alex Chaveriat
Alex Chaveriat @alexchaveriat

Hey-o, I'm Alex, or Silk among the hacking community. I'm a hacker, information security geek, father, coffee snob, YouTuber, Chief Innovation Officer, DEF CON goon, and I pursue failure. Failing often and failing better each time. Every week I write about that pursuit, stories, and what I am learning on the journey. Hope you enjoy and hack on.

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