De-Coder’s Ring

Consumable Security and Technology

Category: simple tips (page 1 of 2)

Flexing those Writing Muscles

An interesting thing happened to me this week.  I got asked to begin blogging publicly for my employer.  What??

About a year ago, I decided to start blogging regularly.  I’d blog here at fauie.com, I’d blog on LinkedIn and try to maintain myself on Twitter.

About 10 months ago, I got asked to build a video course on Neo4J, a NoSQL/graph database.

Before that decision a year ago, I was petrified of speaking or writing publicly.

“But Chris, you’re super smart, and funny and all the folks like you!” – said no one

Even if they did say that, it doesn’t matter.  The level of self-doubt that I held was paralyzing.   I knew I could code, I knew I could design big integrated solutions of software, but man, writing? Not my thing.

I was always afraid of not being the ‘best’.  I was always comparing myself to the smart people I know.  I was worried that people might not read what I put out there…   Imposter syndrome is an amazingly hindering affliction.   It’s real.

I’m not sure if it was just the right time, or my maturity or just realization that it didn’t matter if I was the best, but I started writing, and I’m really enjoying it!   Some people read my blog, some people listen to my podcasts, but you know what?  I’m having a blast doing it.

I’m not the smartest.

I’m not the most eloquent.

I don’t use the biggest of words.

…. but that’s OK.  I am me, I know what I know, and I have the experiences that I have, which no one in the world can duplicate.

STAGE FRIGHT!

I realized it was stage fright.  Essentially, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, really – fear of fear.

Once I started creating, I can’t stop.   It’s kind of all I think about.  I have so many blog post ideas, so many podcasts planned, and I’m SUPER excited about it…

bring it on!

Podcast feed: https://fauie.com/podcast

 

Walking on Water Referral

ThumbsUp

ThumbsUp

I had a college professor, Dr David Bernstein, once talk about recommendations and referrals. The line he said has stuck with me for near 20 years since I heard it:

“Don’t give a reference for someone if you can’t, by all good faith, make them sound like they walk on water.” – Dr David Bernstein

Over the past 20 years of my career, I’ve had dozens, if not hundreds of people ask me for a recommendation. Whether they’re going for a new job, a security clearance or some sort of promotion, it’s the first thing they need to iron out. They need solid references so there is more trust built around their case.

This seems to make a lot of sense, but, it’s really hard to tell someone no. You can wuss out and say “oh, my company policy won’t allow me to provide a referral”. Ok, that really may be the case, but, your integrity is important. Sometimes, we need to tell people the truth in order to help them grow.

If you have to say no, let them know why. No need to be mean, but be constructive. If they push you for “why” you can’t give a recommendation, talk to them about specific incidents or habits that they could improve upon.

If they have done something in the past to break your trust, and they still ask you, then you can laugh at them. That’s a no go. Protect your integrity at all costs.

Podcast – Breaches

Affected by Equifax?  Yahoo?    What do you do now….

a little bit of recent news, and some tidbits on how to deal with it.

 

Subscribe here : https://fauie.com/feed/podcast

Learning by Failure

Over the past few days, I’ve had this conversation three times.  When that happens, it screams to be it’s a great blog post.

There are a few ways we learn to grow our brains, careers, personalities etc.  I’m a big fan of learning via tutorials, youtube, books and general experimentation.  By surrounding myself with people smarter than me, I learn as well.

SUCCESSES

Who gets jazzed when they succeed in something?  When performance review time comes around, you get excited to have a list of items that you did a fantastically well.  You walk into your bosses office and say “Hey , boss, check it out.  Here’s a list of 23 projects that worked great, and here’s how I impacted each of them.”

Right?   You with me ??   (For fun, give me an example in a comment on something you slayed and were happy about!)

FAILURES

When was the last time you talked about a failure on a performance review?  I know I haven’t.  Shoot.. who wants to talk about failures, especially when all your peers that you may be compared to are only talking about their successes.  not me!  … until now.

I’ve put a ton of thought into this recently.   What do you learn from more?   Succeeding at something you know how to do? Or failing and learning something new.  Duh.  Since the post title is “Learning by Failure”, my conclusion is that you learn more by failing hard.   You took a risk, you stepped out of your comfort zone, you made a decision that led to an unknown path….. and failed.

It sucks. Failure hurts.

Failure is cool

Failure is cool

but, I guarantee you’ll be more valuable now.

Ship it!

Every time I forget the mantra “F(orget) It, Ship It”, things don’t go well.  Analysis Paralysis.  Develop towards a stale goal.

Historically, projects get bogged down for ages making sure it’s “perfect”.

Face it, it’s never perfect.  Ever.

This applies to software, companies, features, church activities and anything else that might be new and untried before.  Analysis and rework is the killer of new ideas.

I build products for people to use.  I know the data that my products use.  I know some of the pain points I’m trying to solve for customers (current and future!).  It’s SO easy to say “oh dang, let’s just add this one more XYZ widget before we call MVP”.  It’s easier to add new features than it is to declare a product “good enough”.

OMG! HE SAID GOOD ENOUGH!

Yes, I did, and will again.  Nothing is ever perfect, and “good enough” is not a declaration on the quality/reliability/security of a new piece of software code.  It’s ‘good enough’ for someone to use.  This is why we strive for a minimally viable product, or MVP.

Counter that with the bad attitude: “good enough”.  That’s a statement on being lazy, not having professional quality standards and not giving a crap about what happens once something leaves your desk.  This is NOT what I’m advocating for.

Draw a line in the sand

Before you build, define your target. Define your MVP.  Define what is ‘good enough’ to your customer.   It can’t suck.  It has to add value.  It has to be easy (enough) to use.  It can’t be ugly, but it doesn’t have to be a work of art.  Ever see the first Google home page or the first version of Splunk?   Compare them to the current interfaces.  Good enough at work.

 

 

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