• Finding your passion

    A few months ago, I gave my 2p (2.9c) on how one could find their niche.  In short, it was about finding the intersection between your passion and expertise.

    Passion is what drives people to work beyond their set hours. It’s an inner drive and desire to be better. Or as the dictionary would put it, an “intense desire or enthusiasm for something”.

    I read a book called Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: (And Other Things I Learned From Famous People) by Neil Strauss. (You may know him as the horrible person who wrote “the game”). Strauss was a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine and the book is a collection of interview segments with celebrities that didn’t make the final cut.

    An interesting recurring question he asked musicians was,

    “Could you record what you felt was the greatest album you’ve ever made, and then bury it in the ground somewhere afterward – knowing no one else will ever hear it – and still be satisfied?”

    I like the question because it forces people to think and I like to turn this around a bit. Often asking myself that if no-one ever visited by blog, or watched my videos, would I still create?

    To security startups and vendors, I’d adapt this to ask,

    “if you made the best security product that’s easy to use and stops specific threat vectors, BUT it would never do more than break even financially and you’d never be able to raise any capital – would you still make that security product?”

    The trick to this question is that, if someone really makes a great product, the money will more than likely follow. But if your objective is to chase the money, well, then the product will usually be pretty lame.


  • Ramblings of a travelling madman

    The airport lounge

    Another day another airport lounge. I’m doing my usual people watching… silently judging.

    The lady opposite me, looks to be in her mid 50’s and a nervous flier. Or maybe she always enjoys a glass of wine and packet of crisps at 0930.

    A boy walks past who looks identical, albeit a bit taller than Ahmed ‘clock boy’ Mohamed. I smile internally – at the uncanny resemblance and the fact that if anything goes down he’s more likely to get tackled to the ground than I am.

    The guy next to me has got an iPad but no keyboard and is struggling to type anything of any significance. I felt his jealousy as I pulled out my Macbook Air. I’m deliberately hitting the keys a bit harder – to let the sound of the majestic keys float through the air and pinch his inner eardrum to fill him with regret. Granted, nothing is quite as satisfying as the clickety click of a mechanical keyboard – but you have to make do with what you have at times.

    A rather large gentleman just walked past and has reminded me of the Clarkson observation as to why do so many Americans lose all sense of fashion when they are tourists? He was big (not uncommon) wearing ugly shorts, flip flops and a bum bag (fanny pack). I am now regretting why I didn’t snap a pic of him when I had the chance… hindsight truly is 20/20.

    As you can probably tell, the prospect of long flights and time away from the family can begin to grind a man down at times. But it’s at these times I am reminded of a Hunter S Thompson quote:

    “Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”

    But bear in mind, he also said, “It never got weird enough for me.”

    Urinary Synchronisation

    As I write this, I’m 7 hours into my 10 hour flight. I’m sat in the middle aisle between two men. But this doesn’t bother me… especially since me and the gentleman to my left seem to have synchronised our bladder cycles. Both times I’ve needed to go relieve myself he’s been a step ahead of me. I kind of feel like we’ve bonded. Maybe I should high-five him and say we’ll forever be urinary cycle brothers. But that may get a bit awkward.

    Why do I think like this?

    Growing up I was an only child. Well, actually, I still am an only child. Unless of course my parents have had other kids and thought to themselves, “you know it’s best we keep this one away from them, we can’t afford to have him influence anyone else.”

    Bear in mind, I grew up in the 80’s before the internet was born and smart phones and all the other amazing things we have today. Yes, there were board games and card games and all sorts of other things to do. But you try playing a board game by yourself and you too will begin calling them bored games.

    And just in case you’re wondering, even on your own, it’s impossible to finish a game of monopoly and, yes, I almost fight clubbed myself because I thought I was cheating at monopoly.

    One of the biggest benefits of being an only child though is that I don’t mind my own company. Leave me to my thoughts and I’m happy. I never felt the need to be around other people all the time. Engaging in activities that others typically found boring was great for me. I guess that explains a lot about my observations and why I am killing some time writing this on the flight.

    Hope you’re having a good day – and may your journey’s always be blessed with synchronised urinary neighbours.

    The Carousel Situation

    Arriving into Austin yesterday, the airport staff were perhaps the most friendly and helpful bunch of people I’ve ever seen anywhere. Which after a 10 hour flight puts you in a better mood.

    The mood nearly turned ugly as I was standing next to the carousel waiting for my bag to come around, I felt someone slam their trolley into my left ankle.

    Being a tough guy, I didn’t let out a scream.

    Had this been London, I would have turned around and apologised… because that’s how British people respond.

    But I quickly remembered I was in the US of A. So I turned around with a scowl on my face that screamed, “YOU BLIND MOFO? I’ve stabbed people for a lot less before!” Which actually probably looked like the same face I make when I’m trying to hold back tears at the scene in Titanic when Leonardo drowns.

    It turned out to be an elderly African lady. She was definitely over 60 and wearing a traditional-ish canary yellow African outfit. She apologised and I reassured her that it was OK.

    One of her bags came around first – it was a big old suitcase. You know the kind without any wheels, with big belt buckles and duct tape holding it together. There was no way fragile her was going to be able to pick it up. I saw her leaning in – her arm outstretched to get the bag.

    I asked her to step back and that I’d get her bag for her. She looked so relieved.

    After putting it on her trolley, I asked if she had any more bags to come and she said there was one more.

    The next bag to come was mine and I grabbed it – sensing freedom was close. But I didn’t want to leave the lady by herself to get her bag. So I waited until her bag arrived and loaded it on her trolley for her.

    As I wished her a pleasant day – she put both hands on my shoulder and said “thank you son.”

    Even as I’m halfway across the world, far away from family, I find someone who reminds me and gives me the love of my elders.

     Meeting Wendy
     I met Wendy for brunch & she gave me a guided tour of Austin. She’s awesome!