It’s been a while since I’ve been to Infosec so I was somewhat unsure of what to expect. I do like to think I’m pretty down to earth and whilst I may not tread every HR guideline I’m absolutely honest and what you see is what you get.
Infosec was a pleasant surprise. I was tied to a stand for large chunks of the day and in amongst the ‘car boot candidates’, there were some really engaging and entertaining people. A passing nod from an MoD employee turned into a 45-minute conversation about everything and anything, from what my company did through to book recommendations for the car drive home (audible before you ask – although I’m still working on that Tesla purchase). There were people who clearly weren’t interested in our particular tech so I steered them to whichever stand I thought could help them. It’s not all about lining pockets, it’s about enabling people.
On display were so many great companies from behemoths to one man bands, all with a different take on their niche, all with ideas and challenges and all wanting to do something slightly different. Sure, some of the stands were very confused, long words and acronyms, clarity of messaging leaving a lot to be desired but the people on those stands were there to impart knowledge.
There were inevitably some tyre kickers but when you open your eyes to the world around you the vast majority of people want a chat. The same people who avoid eye contact on the train suddenly become engaged and animated when you talk about security or SDN or NGFWs or even what books are a good read. That quiet guy hovering near the stand is dying to ask a question but can’t break the barrier of communication without you stepping forward and saying hello.
So what is it about our day-to-day environment that makes us so reticent to talk to each other. The rise of smartphones contributes to it and we’ve all become accustomed to our own space, it’s only when someone stops you and breaks that cycle that you can discover something fantastic. As a part of the tech world you have a responsibility to contribute to a better, faster, safer world. If that means stepping outside your comfort zone to answer an email, pick up the phone or stop someone outside the office then do it. Start with ‘Hello’.
Seize an opportunity, you never know what you’ll learn until you leave your comfort zone.
Oh and if you wanted to read that book, check out ‘Future Crimes’ by Marc Goodman. (Thanks for the recommendation!)