Monday, June 20, 2011

Are you missing the empty glass moment?

I’ve recently dined at a couple of places which won’t make it to my other blog.  They weren’t bad, but they fell short of being blog-worthy.  One of the things that they had in common was that I dined at the bar, and I had to ask the bartenders for additional drinks when confronted with the horror of empty glasses.

Empty scotch glass

An empty glass in front of a patron at a bar is an opportunity for the bartender, not just to sell another drink, but to make small talk, offer a glass of water, anything to improve the drunkard/patron’s experience.  The mercenary reasons are for both the additional sales opportunity and for the shot at improving the tip.  A more strategic reason is to build a relationship, and improve the chances of repeat business.  Another, more human reason is that happy customers are nicer to be around and make the job better.  It is an opportunity to engage the customer when there is an obvious invitation for interaction, a shot at satisfying the customer and maybe even making a buck at the same time.

You’re probably wondering where I’m headed with this, and if I may have been over-served before writing, but fear not, there is a point coming…

A lot of folks aren’t comfortable starting conversations, so we don’t do it.  I get it, it can be hard, and awkward.  One way to make it easier is to look for our own “empty glass” moments, those opportunities where there is a void to be filled.  They may not be as obvious as the empty glass, but look for them, and take advantage of them.  They may be as direct as someone floating a question in a group, or as subtle as a prolonged silence, but if you look for the opportunities you will probably find some.  Instead of selling drinks, we can sell ideas, or simply make connections and make people aware that we are paying attention so that it is easier for us when we really do need their attention.

That’s it, deep thoughts from the end of the bar.




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A transition

I am very excited to announce that I am joining Tenable Network Security in the role of product manager; I am also saddened that this means I am leaving my friends and my fantastic position at Astaro.

This was obviously not an easy decision, and it was made more difficult by the recent announcement of Astaro’s planned acquisition by Sophos.  This move is, however, unrelated to the acquisition- as a matter of fact I have been looking forward to the expanded opportunities available in the combined organization.  (I was especially looking forward to working with the Naked Security and Sophos Labs teams).


When offered an opportunity to join the team at Tenable, I had to explore the possibilities- and the conversations quickly led to an offer I could not pass up.  From the team of people I will be working with, to the product line (including Nessus), and the challenge of the role I will be assuming, the reasons to make the change have been overwhelming.

My time at Astaro has been great; I am thankful for all of the opportunities I have had while there, and for Astaro’s support of many community projects and events.  It has been an honor and an pleasure to work with friends and co-workers at Astaro, and I will miss working with them- and I wish them all the best.  (I also still believe in Astaro products, that’s why one of the first things I have done in converting my office is set up an Astaro gateway running the free, 50-IP home-use license).

As far as what this means for my involvement in BSides and my various other activities- I’ll still be as engaged as possible, and Tenable supports my efforts.  I do expect to spend less time on the road in my new position, so I may not attend quite as many events in person.  And yes, of course I will be in Las Vegas for the annual week of madness in August for BSides Las Vegas and DEFCON

By the way, if you are looking for your next great career opportunity I have leads for you: Astaro, Sophos, and Tenable all have positions open, see their careers pages for details: