Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Guerrilla Warfare Radio Interview with WSJ Cartoonist Stu Heinecke

Wall Street Journal cartoonist Stu Heinecke beat me into doing a radio interview on guerrilla warfare marketing. Here's the audio link: http://www.podbean.com/media/player/mp5ya-5780a6. Enjoy.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hacking Team Downfall: Mistaking Marketing For Competence

screen-shot-2015-07-06-at-12-10-58.png
"The wholesale sacking of the spyware firm's systems" demonstrates a reality we all face (see the ZDNet story here). Namely, it takes more than clever marketing in the tech world. You've GOT to have the smarts to back it up. Often I get ad campaigns turned down by my clients because, in their own words, "Uh, we're really not THAT good." 

It looks like the Hacking Team should have just said, "We supply invasive systems to repressive governments; sorry about that." 

Hey guys, Karma is a bitch.

As recently as this weekend, on the 4th of July, I was reminded of my own inflated ego. Every day, I ride my bicycle up the mountain where I built The Pirate Cottage. All my neighbors think I'm quite a stud, doing that every day. I even started believing my own hype, just like I did back in 1978 when I sold my electronics company and ran for Congress. I was full of myself then, and clearly this weekend I was full of myself.

Not only did I sponsor a King/Queen Of The Mountain (KOM/QOM) bicycle race up my mountain—a mere 3.4-mile jaunt with nearly a quarter mile of vertical elevation, but I actually threw down a challenge to all the under-40 riders on my mountain. I said "Age and experience will always prevail over youth and energy." That may be true, but my own performance wasn't even on the same planet as the over-40 winner.
 I finished the race almost 22 minutes behind the winner. The good news, he was 43 years old and whipped the mortal snot out of the next-closest rider, who was 17 years old. And then to add salt to my badly bruised ego, the winner's wife achieved Queen of the Mountain status by beating my time by 10 minutes. The only good news of the day—besides my not having had a coronary on the ride—was that I beat a fellow 15 years younger than myself by 4 minutes.

Now back to the Hacking Team debacle.

You guys really need to watch the Paul Newman movie Buffalo Bill and The Indians. The great showman Buffalo Bill assembled (in his own words) the "greatest group of riders, ropers, trackers and indian fighters in the world!" When Sitting Bull, his show centerpiece, takes off, Buffalo Bill (Newman) says "get me my REAL hat and my REAL gun and let's go get him." And as the goofy troop of misfits and drunks rides over the hill, several off them fall off their horses.

So there is a difference between self-promotion delusion and quiet competence. Which is why I publicly confess my own inflated bicycling acumen. Just another in a long line of wake-up calls. As for the Hacking Team? If you really did sell surveillance solutions to repressive governments, your becoming the laughing stock of the hacking world is well deserved. I salute you, King of the Morons!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Yo Einstein, You Can't Even Protect Your Own Stuff!

Central Intelligence Agency

In the "most devastating cyber attack in US history" (see the UK Register story here), a security system elsewhere reported as being named Einstein royally missed the boat. The incompetence of the people chartered to protect our data assets (the CIA, the NSA, Homeland Security, the FBI) keep trying to build a case for getting more budget to protect us average citizens from cyber attacks. The Office of Personnel Management (aptly acronym'd OPM—spell the letters and you'll know what they're on) is running a COBOL system! Good grief, I worked my way through college in the late 60s writing COBOL applications. If anyone still wonders why I'm promoting the privatization of worldwide cyber security, just follow this story.

Selah.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dear Larry, It's Time to Make THE Oracle Movie

To the head of my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League, Larry Ellison, the story in last night's U. K  Register magazine about Oracle revenue had a wonderful picture of your co-CEOs Mark Hurd and Safra Catz (see the story here). The resemblance to actors Steve Carell (from the movie Evan Almighty and others) and Bebe Neuwirth (from the TV show Madam Secretary) intrigued me enough that you could cast them in a ripping romp about Oracle. You, of course, would be played by Robert Downey, Jr. in a reprise of his Tony Stark persona.

Just a thought.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear President Obama, It's Time for Cyber Privateers

Sir,


With due respect, the data breach that hit our Office of Personnel Management (see one of many stories, like in the Washington Post, here) represents a tangible clear-and-present danger to the Beltway-Bandit-business-as-usual mentality. And since you're clearly not enamored with the military industrial complex (one of the few things on which you and I have just a little bit of common ground), it's truly time you consider an alternative to all the federal cybersecurity hucksters with their palms out and their snouts dipped into the horn-of-plenty trough. Instead of bankrupting us with BIG TICKET solutions that obviously don't work, why not privatize worldwide cybersecurity and turn it into a way to completely eliminate the national debt on your watch. Licensed and bonded cyber privateers who adhere to a simple code (see it here) could solve the problem overnight. Think about it.

Selah.