Aug 19 2008
Someone asked me about blogging today and I realized I missed my own 5 year anniversary. Not my wedding anniversary, that’s next week, but the fifth anniversary of the day I wrote my first blog post “Here goes nothing“. I’d had a site about security for quite a while before that, but it was all manually coded HTML, it was ugly and, quite frankly, nearly impossible to update in anything resembling a timely manner. Then I found Movable Type, fought with it for about a week to get it installed, suffered the ridicule of my co-workers and started writing. Or maybe it was started writing and then suffered the ridicule, someone ask Ron Kehoe. Either way, it was definitely the start of a long and interesting journey.
The journey has definitely been worth it. I can say, without conceit, that I am one of the top security bloggers. Don’t believe me? Type “security blog” into Google and see for yourself. In the same vein, if you enter “security podcast“, the Network Security Podcast is the first entry you’ll see. I guess I should beware of hubris, since Google is a fickle mistress and that could change in a moment. I’ve been told the name of the blog was a brilliant stroke of SEO, but then I had to have search engine optimization explained to me, since I’d never heard the term before.
But blogging and writing was never about where I sit in the search results. It’s always been about learning for me. I had ideas when I started blogging, and even then I knew some were good, some were bad. I wanted to throw some of my ideas against the digital wall and see what would stick and what would stink. I’ve had a lot of ideas that people have agreed with, more that people have let flow by without comment and a few that have caused people to tell me that I’m an idiot at best. And some days I agree with them.
There’s three things about blogging that I’m thankful for. The first, and least important, is what it’s done for my writing skills. I never was a bad writer, but just writing on a daily basis has helped my writing immensely. I’m still an informal writer and never will be asked to write a book or anything, but five years of writing on a nearly daily basis has enabled me to at least express my thoughts in a way that most people can understand. I was good enough that Computerworld invited me to blog for them for a year, which would probably still be going on if other factors in my life hadn’t intervened. I like writing and blogging gives me a chance to do it on a regular basis.
The second thing I’m thankful for is some of the opportunities that blogging has opened for me. I already mentioned Computerworld, but there have been a lot of other doors that opened simply because I put myself out there with the blog. I never would have had an opportunity to work with Alan and Mitchell if Alan hadn’t contacted me after a particularly interesting blog post (I wish I could remember which one). I’ve been to RSA, Defcon, Black Hat, Shmoocon, IANS and more because I got press passes or people wanted me to see what they’re offering. I got an chance to do some video blogging for Podtech, which quite frankly was a heck of a lot more work than I ever thought it could be. A couple of years ago Symantec even flew me down to SoCal for a day trip to their headquarters, which just happen to be a couple of blocks from the Playboy office. It’s amazing what you find when you wander around in SoCal. And let’s not forget the annual RSA Security Bloggers Meetup, which I somehow ended up helping host!
But the most important thing about blogging is some of the friends I’ve made along the way. First off is my co-host, Rich Mogull. Without Rich there to keep me in the game, the podcast probably would have died a year ago, even if the blog continued. It’s hard to do a weekly podcast and having someone to take part of the load, to bounce ideas off of and just have a little energy when your tired can’t be overstated. With Rich’s help I hope to be blogging and podcasting for years more to come and maybe one day we can have a cage with Leo and Steve for a show on NPR. I’d bet on us; Leo’s getting old and Steve would probably get distracted by something bright and shiny mid-fight.
I’ve made more friends than I can list thanks to blogging, but I’m going to try anyways: Michael Farnum, Cutaway, Chris Hoff, Mike and Melina Murray, Jennifer Leggio, Jeremiah Owyang, David Mortman, Mike Rothman, Michael Santarcangelo, Rob Fuller, Alan Shimel, Mitchell Ashley, Michael Henry, Ryan Russell, Adam O’Donnell, Jack Daniel, Andy Willingham, Lori and Don MacVittie, Dan Kuykendall, Robyn Tippins, Paul Asadoorian, Larry Pesce, Ron Gula, Brian Krebs, Jennifer Jabbusch and Michael Dahn, just to name a few. I’ve probably missed as many as I’ve included and I apologize to those I left out; it’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday. But I never would have met most of these people if it wasn’t for the blogging. I put myself out there for the world to see and these are some of the people who’ve responded with friendship. I actually get a little choked up thinking about it. Seriously.
Blogging has helped me grow as a security professional and as a person. I’ve put my ideas out there and people have responded. I’ve been able to use that feedback to learn and grow. People have recognized the willingness to communicate and opened doors that I never even knew existed before. And I’ve made such a wide ranging, supportive group of friends that I know I never could have made without the blogging. I’m truly thankful, if not exactly humbled.
I’m looking forward to blogging for the foreseeable future. It feels like I blinked and five years have gone by. I hope I’m still blogging in another five years, but who knows what the future will bring. If it’s anything like the last five years, I can’t imagine where I’ll end up, but it’ll definitely be an amazing journey. And I’ll learn a lot along the way.