I was recently having a conversation with a friend who was telling me a story from a conference a few years ago. My friend had an unpleasant interaction with an unpleasant person, and in the telling said something like
“I was talking to this guy, [really common first name] something, a real tool…”
to which I said, oh, yeah, HIM! and the story continued- as another friend joined us and when caught up on the story he knew exactly who we meant and had his own stories about [really common first name]. Keep in mind that none of us had uttered a last name, although by now one corporate affiliation had been mentioned to confirm that we were indeed all talking about the same [really common first name], who we all agreed was “a real tool”.
The active part of the InfoSec community really isn’t that big, and bad reputations tend to stick. There are a lot of brilliant people in our industry, and more than a few successful (by a variety of definitions) people; there are also a fair number of out-of-proportion egos. Don’t be like [really common first name], a little humility and common decency are probably all that are needed to keep you in good standing.
Perhaps we could all use reminding of the classic Midwestern parents’ admonition “don’t think you’re special, because you’re not”, or maybe the modern equivalent, “yes honey, you are special- just like everyone else”.