Thursday, December 11, 2014

Herbie Hancock Stories

Herbie Hancock 2010 by Guillaume Laurent

Herbie Hancock

After the horror of faux country bubblegum abuse of “Crazy” I saw part of an interview with Herbie Hancock, it more than made up for the horror. Hancock has a new book out, “Possibilities”. I haven’t read it yet, but it is in my Audible queue for my next road trip. Based on the interview I heard, I’m really looking forward to hearing the book in his own voice.

Miles Davis 22

Miles Davis 

The first story came from the days when Hancock played with the great Miles Davis. During one show Herbie played an obviously wrong chord, and he was mortified at his mistake. Miles’ reaction was to pause very briefly, then play the “mistake” into the song until it was no longer a mistake, but part of the performance. And nothing was ever said about the mistake- because it was no longer a mistake. At face value, that is a great story about a gracious and talented musician. Beyond that, you can find a lot of inspiration and run with it as it moves you. It certainly can be applied to the mayhem of InfoSec in a few different ways.

There are a couple of quotes we often hear in InfoSec (and in the rest of life), both carry the same message, but come from two very different people.

In recent years, the more common quote comes from Mike Tyson:


Mike Tyson Portrait

“Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.”

The older quote, which I’ve heard attributed and misattributed to many people, is from Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf, translated and paraphrased from the original German:

Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

As accurate (and quotable) as these quotes are, they are negative. I think Herbie Hancock’s story of Miles Davis dealing with the unexpected is a much better model for us and the challenges we face, no matter how idealistic that may be.

Tomorrow you can have the second story.