I had intended to post this right after the conference, but I spent nearly the entire month of September on the road, and my first week back at work was... adventurous. I've often heard the phrase "better late than never," so I'm going to go with that.
This year at HP Protect 2014, my colleague and friend Anthony Morris ( awmorris) and I presented for the first time. I've been in this community for years, but over the last 3 years I've fallen out of touch. 3 years ago I left Experian for another company, and a year later I came back "home," but in my new roles (GSOC engineer lead, then GSOC lead, and now manager of two engineering teams) I've found little time to contribute. Still, I drop in occasionally, and I keep up with what I can with a lot of email notifications.
The night before our presentation I had come back from an evening event, exhausted and perhaps even a little low from recent events, when someone recognized me and flagged me down. He introduced me as my better known handle, "deathbywedgie," and being remembered did wonders for cheering me up. Then they told me they were just discussing how many of the old "greats" in this community are no longer at the conference, having moved on to different roles, companies, or even products. We talked about a few of the names, what made them great, and how they affected each of us.
Before the presentation began, I made a last minute change to my introduction. I didn't even have time to tell my fellow presenter. We met up minutes before the presentation began, and I handed Anthony my phone, asked him to stand near the corner and wait for my word, then take a photo when I indicated. I opened the presentation by thanking everyone for attending (especially since we were in the last time slot before the buses took everyone to the Counting Crows concert), then improvised the story of the previous night's encounter. I hope I got the details right.
I explained that it got me thinking afterwards, not only that I was happy I could play my small part but also that I owe so much to so many, and a great number of them were not at the conference this year. These giants among this community did more than just expand our knowledge of ArcSight as a tool; they changed the very way we approached new challenges, communicate, develop use cases, think about complete solutions, pay attention to detail, and tackle SOC challenges in general. They made us better information security professionals.
I ended with a request to help me pay some tribute. I pointed at Anthony, who had moved into position, and I asked them to wave at the camera, and I explained that I would post it here to say thanks to all of the great people in this community who have spent time helping and teaching the rest of us.
I want to thank these great teachers with this photo. My only regret is that I didn't realize I was still in the frame and didn't suck in my gut. lol I'll blame it on my leaning angle.
As I move further and further from a technical role, I may not get to attend again next year. Knowing this, and combined with the adrenaline rush that comes with speaking in front of a crowd, I found myself actually fighting back a tear as I spoke (which I have to admit I didn't see coming).
These are some of the awesome people (in no particular order) who come to mind as greats in this community. Some are still here, and some are long gone. If I forget anyone, please forgive me... the scoring system isn't very helpful any more, unfortunately, so I'm doing these from memory.
Mark Runals (deactivated)
Chris Botelho (chrisb)
Kerry Adkins (kadkins)
Pete Babcock (peterbabcock)
Joe Burke (jbur)
Ray Doty (Ray Doty)
Vini Engel (Vini)
Volker Michels (Volker Michels)
Trisha Liu (deactivated)
Anton Goncharov (Anton Goncharov)
Ben Spader (Ben Spader)
Raju Gottumukkala (deactivated)
Balahasan V (Balahasan V)
If you can think of anyone I have missed, please correct me in the comments and tag them to show our thanks.
P.S. I posted this photo in a public post on Facebook as well, and I wonder how many of the people in this photo we can get tagged. If you're willing to participate, click here: