Writing UNSECURITY Journey – The Idea

A series of posts dedicated to the journey of writing my first book, UNSECURITY. This is the second post in the series. The series started with the Introduction.

This is where the book started. The journey began. I had an idea. Before I wrote a single word of the book, I had to have an idea.

Let me explain my idea, including where it came from, and let’s see if you can find your idea too!

My Idea

So, I had this crazy idea. Not an idea really, but a mission.

My earliest recollection of the mission was soon after I worked my last “real” job, and just as we were starting this little information security consulting company called FRSecure.

We started FRSecure in 2008, and we started it with this notion that we were going to do information security the right way. We weren’t going to play politics, we weren’t going to cut corners, we were always going to tell the truth, and we were only going to work on problems that needed solutions. We started our information security careers working for large companies. Large companies where politics, cutting corners, telling less than the truth, and just working for the sake of working seemed like the norm.

In 2010, I met my soon to be business partner Kevin, and one day he asked me why we do things the way we do things, and my answer without even thinking was, we exist to fix the broken information security industry. At the time, we had three employees. Crazy, right?! If I were a sane person, I’d have two questions right there:

  1. What exactly is broken in our industry?
  2. How do three people intend to fix what’s broken?

The answer to the first sane question is, there are many things that are broken in our industry. We don’t speak the same language, we don’t build security programs with solid foundations, we buy a lot of snake oil solutions that don’t really fix our most important problems, we say one thing and do another, we don’t have enough talent to do the work, etc. Years later these things ended up becoming chapters in the UNSECURITY book.

The answer to the second question is, we don’t. Three people can’t possibly fix an entire industry, but three people can inspire others to join the cause. As more people join the cause, the industry begins to change. Today, FRSecure has grown to more than 70 employees, and the company has more than 20 partners. Each employee is committed to the mission and our partners participate whether they’re completely committed or not. The way we apply the mission locally in our work is we ask ourselves a simple question all the time:

Will this project or solution (not product) contribute to fixing the industry or will it contribute to the industry’s brokenness? If it’s the former, we do it. If it’s the latter, we pass.

The mission is a little less crazy today, but it’s probably still crazy.

In all of this is the idea. My idea is we have this broken information security industry, and I will write about that. The idea morphed into the theme for the book. It’s about what’s broken in our industry and ideas for how we can fix things.

Everything worthwhile starts as an idea. The UNSECURITY book started this way. I think all books start this way.

What’s your idea?

If you were going to write a book, what would you write a book about? For me, it was about my mission, my passion. I’m an optimist and I like to think I see the best in people. I actually believe that every person has a mission and a thing (or issue/topic) that they’re passionate about. Some people know their mission and passion, and sadly some people don’t.

For those of you who know your mission and passion, do you think you can find an idea for your book somewhere in the midst of that mission and passion? If so, find it. Write it down. This is it!

For those of you who don’t know your mission and passion, I wish I had some magic pill you could take, or some easy button you could push. You may not care, but I can tell you that living a life with a mission, and living life with passion are incredible gifts. It’s not that you don’t have a mission, it’s that you haven’t found it. Don’t stop looking until you find it, and once you do, go for it!

For those of you who know your mission, and you’ve chosen to not follow it. Find the courage to follow your mission. The fulfillment, joy, and sense of satisfaction found in following your own personal mission can’t be understated.

To summarize; find your mission, find your passion, and once you do, tell the rest of the world about it. Choose to write about it!

Caveat: I suppose you could probably write a book about something that’s not missional, or about some topic that you’re not passionate about. For me, this would have been hell. I would have never made it through the hard days if I was writing about something I didn’t care deeply about. Believe me, there will be hard days.

Next Post

The next post will be about encouragement. Just having an idea and passion wouldn’t have gotten the first book done. I needed someone to push me and encourage me to do it. I’m going to go through the story of how I was encouraged to write my first book, and I’m even going to name names!

Stay tuned!


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