#S2Roadshow Recap – Week Three

Chicago, IL and Dallas, TX

If you’re new, or you’re confused about this #S2Roadshow thing, start here (maybe).

Previous Week’s Recaps:

The purpose of the SecurityStudio Roadshow (#S2Roadhow) is to meet people and make partners. We want to meet people, understand their businesses, and help them grow using simple, fundamental, and compliant solutions (S2Score, S2Org, S2Vendor, and S2Team/S2Me).

Our mission is to fix the broken information security industry. Success requires collaboration, partnership, and transparency.

BBQ Reviews

In full transparency, we have a secondary mission on the #S2Roadshow. We eat as much BBQ as we can. After stuffing ourselves, I summarize our BBQ reviews at the end of each recap article (see below).

Chicago, Illinois

John and I started the roadshow this week on Monday night with our flight to Chicago.


We were invited to Chicago by HSBC to talk with employees about information security. This was part of the company’s annual awareness campaign coinciding with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Their theme for this week was “Cyber Week #3: Cybersecurity in Our Personal Lives/Cybersecurity on the Move”, and it was an honor to be a part of it. Our talk was delivered in their Arlington Heights headquarters and it was telecast live all over the world. Super cool experience!

John took this pic and posted it to his LinkedIn feed:

In the talk, I discussed how people are creatures of habit. The same good (or poor) security habits they exhibit at home are the same ones they are bringing into the workplace. I also discussed:

  • Limitations in traditional training and awareness programs.
  • Motivating people by making information security personal.
  • If security doesn’t motivate, maybe privacy will. If privacy won’t motivate, maybe safety will.
  • The free S2Me personal security assessment and results from our audience (this was eye-opening for many).

Feedback was awesome, and we hope we made a difference. After the talk, there were a dozen(ish) people who came up to us with questions and requests for more information. If you’d like a copy of my presentation deck, I made it available here on SlideShare.


Our HSBC meeting was arranged by one of our amazing partners, Ryan Heining from FRG Solutions. Ryan met us at HSBC before the talk, and after the talk we collaborated over lunch. You get one guess about what we had for lunch (read the review below).

We also met a new prospective partner while we were in Chicago; Spector Security. It’s funny how you can tell right off the bat if there’s a fit between two organizations. Spector is in business for the right reasons, to help organizations be more secure by focusing on fundamentals first. They’re not in business to sell snake oil or take your money regardless of need. The company is run by two upstanding guys; Kevin and Zach. They’re the real deal. The conversation was awesome, and I’m excited to stay in touch while they grow their company. Check them out on their website or follow them on Twitter.

We love finding and helping companies who are serving their clients’ best interests. Companies like Spector Security are friends in this mission to fix the broken industry.

Overall, Chicago was nice. We ate some good BBQ, gave a good talk, and made a bunch of friends. By Wednesday afternoon we were on our way to Dallas, Texas.

Dallas, Texas

John and I were both excited for our visit to Dallas, for a number of reasons:

  • We had some meetings scheduled with security folks in the area.
  • John is originally from Dallas.
  • My wife and daughter were flying down from Minnesota to meet me.
  • We were participating in the ISC2 Cyber Aware Dallas Conference, where I was also giving the keynote.
  • There are rumors that the BBQ in Dallas is the bomb.

We landed on Wednesday night, got cars, met people, and got settled for what turned out to be a great couple of days!

ISC2 Cyber Aware Dallas Conference

The conference was held at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Dallas on Friday (10/18). It was a beautiful venue!

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I kicked things off with my keynote. My talk was one that I had given a few times before, and if you’ve followed me at all, you’ve probably seen it a few times already. Nothing earth shattering, just basic and fundamental information security truth. I even kept the title the same; “WANTED – People Committed to Solving our Information Security Language Problem”. I’ll keep preaching this until it feels like people really get it (and apply it). If you’d like a copy of this slide deck, here it is. Feel free to share it, use it, steal from it, or whatever else you’d like, as long as you’re helping fix this industry with it.

After my talk, I met a bunch of really good people. It’s hard to remember all of their names and all of the places they work, and I need to get much better at this. Three people in particular stuck out to me:

  • A man who runs IT (and infosec) for a group of colleges in Texas. He stuck out to me because he asked a great question during my talk, he followed up with me afterwards, and we ran into each other five or six times later throughout the day. He’s been in information security for a long time, and he really get’s it (the importance of fundamentals, how S2Org/S2Score are great tools, and how we need to solve our problems together). He became an advocate for us at the conference and brought many people to our booth. I can’t remember, but I think I gave him a signed copy of my book. Anyway, meeting him and talking with him was a wonderful experience for me.
  • There was a guy here who participated in FRSecure’s CISSP Mentor Program! We talked briefly before my keynote, but he didn’t know who I was. He didn’t know that I was Evan Francen or that I was the same guy who runs the CISSP Mentor Program with Brad Nigh (FRSecure). After my talk he ran me down to express how excited he was to meet me in person and to thank me. These encounters are always a little awkward for me, but I told him that he made my day by sharing.
  • Someone who works at a Fortune 500 company and feels unfulfilled in his work. He wants to start his own information security consulting company because he wants to help SMBs be better protected. He was looking for some advice in starting his own business and wanted to know how SecurityStudio’s tools could help him. This conversation brought back memories. I’m looking forward to seeing him get up and running!
  • JP Hill III is the President of the (ISC)² Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter and he was instrumental in putting this conference together. He’s a great guy with a lot of energy! I loved meeting and collaborating with him. We’ll be visiting with the (ISC)² Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter many more times in the future as we work together to serve this community.
  • One last person who really stood out was a guy who made it a point to track me down and tell me how much my talk meant to him. He stuck out because of his enthusiasm and authenticity. I pray he never loses either. 🙂

There were many others, but these are the conversations that stick out right now. It was a very good conference and all of my conversations were great! Huge success.


We met a handful of partners in Dallas, and I’m pretty sure we’ll formalize at least three of our relationships here. There’s a great deal of potential in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so I’m sure we’ll make more friends here.

We will be back in Dallas in a few weeks, so we didn’t overdo this trip.

P.S. While we were in Dallas, we took calls from a potential partner in North Carolina and started conversations with a company in the UK. Things are heating up! Good things.

BBQ Reviews

Holy buckets, we had some great BBQ this week! There’s no shortage of BBQ joints to try out in Chicago or Dallas, so we had plenty of choices. John and I also receive suggestions everywhere we go now.


We visited three BBQ joints while we were in Chicago. Here’s what we thought…

Blackwood BBQ – https://www.blackwoodbbq.com/ – Overall: 7.5

There are five locations for Blackwood BBQ, and we visited the Schaumburg location for lunch. John and I both ordered combos. He got sliced brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends. I got sliced brisket, burnt ends and ribs. It was a really nice BBQ joint with a rustic, busy, but open atmosphere. The BBQ is self-service, meaning you order at the counter and grab your food when it’s ready. The portions were generous and the taste was pretty darn good. I’d say overall, it was definitely above average is all aspects.

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If you’re in the Chicago area, it’s definitely worth the trip.

Big Ed’s BBQ – http://bigedsllc.com/ – Overall: 8.25

We made the drive up to Waukegan to give Big Ed’s BBQ a try, and we’re definitely glad we did! This is a BBQ joint that is run by Ed (a few of his business partners) and his lovely family. You can read about the Big Ed story on their website. The atmosphere is great, with Ed’s son preparing the meat while Ed’s wife rings you up at the register. By the time we got there, they had already sold out of the brisket and burnt ends, so we settled for ribs and rib tips. We thought we were settling, but we were wrong! The ribs and tips were awesome!

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The service was top notch, the portions were huge, and the meat was great! You have to visit this place. Highly recommended!

Smoque – https://smoquebbq.com/ – Overall: 6.75

Smoque was recommended to us by a friend. He claimed that they had the best BBQ in Chicago.

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It was OK. They have two locations, and we visited the one in the Old Irving Park Neighborhood. The placed was cramped, the service was good, the portions were sort of small, and the taste was above average. Overall, it was good and worth the trip, but it wasn’t the best in Chicago as we were promised by our friend.


We visited three BBQ joints while we were in Dallas, but we only ate at two. This is because we were both too full to eat at one of them, read on…

Pecan Lodge – http://pecanlodge.com/ – Overall: 9

We heard from multiple people that we had to go to Pecan Lodge located in Deep Elum, so we did. Are we ever glad we did! This was the best BBQ we’ve had yet on our three week-old #S2Roadshow, and I even made a friend.

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I had the sliced brisket, pulled pork, and sausage. John had sliced brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. You should have seen the look on John’s face when he tasted the brisket for the first time! The atmosphere was awesome, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. The service was great. I even got the cook to show me his smokers (see pic). The portions were very generous too, but it was the taste that was amazing! I’ve never had better brisket and I may have never had better pulled pork in my life. I’ve had BBQ at 100+  of the best places all over the country, and I’ve never had brisket with the perfect mix of smoke flavor, fat cap, and rub.

Pecan Lodge is an absolute must visit for any BBQ lover. It’s almost worth a special visit to Dallas just to go to this place. The best I’ve had in a very long time, if ever.

P.S. My new friend’s name is Winston, and he’s from Michigan. He and his son travel the country riding roller coasters and trying new BBQ. BTW, he agreed that Pecan Lodge was awesome.

Hard Eight BBQ – https://hardeightbbq.com/ – Overall: INC

We had a happy hour visit with one of our potential partners here. They heard that we loved BBQ, so they arranged for the meeting here.

This was the first time that John or I have ever gone to a BBQ joint and left without eating BBQ. We’d been at Pecan Lodge earlier in the day. Bummer! We’ll be back…

Spring Creek Barbeque – https://springcreekbarbeque.com/ – Overall: 7.25

My tweet sums this one up. Just about everything about this place was OK, but nothing special. What the it special was sharing it with my girl. 🙂

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BBQ Summary

That was five new BBQ joints to add to our list. The winner this week, hands down, was Pecan Lodge. Pecan Lodge is also the overall #S2Roadshow leader with a score of 9! The current overall standings are listed below.

Overall Standings (at the end of #S2Roadshow Week Three):

  • Pecan Lodge – 9
  • Divine Swine – 8.5
  • Big Ed’s BBQ – 8.25
  • Mission BBQ – 8
  • Blackwood BBQ – 7.5
  • Spring Creek Barbeque – 7.25
  • Redd’s BBQ – 7.25
  • Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ – 7
  • Smoque – 6.75
  • Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse – 6.75
  • Red Coal BBQ – 6.75
  • Hambone’s Smokehouse – 6.25
  • Shakedown BBQ – N/A (wasn’t open when it was supposed to be, wasted trip)
  • Hard Eight BBQ – INC (we were too full, need to go back)

Pecan Lodge takes the top stop from Divine Swine and Big Ed’s takes up third.

Next Week’s #S2Roadshow

I’m heading west again, and John’s heading east. I’ll be speaking at the San Diego ISSA chapter event and John will be speaking at BSides – SW Virginia. We’ll be taking meetings before and after our speaking engagements with partners and potential partners too!

Stay tuned for next week’s #S2Roadshow updates! You can follow us on Twitter (@evanfrancen, @HarmonJohn, @StudioSecurity, and the #S2Roadshow hashtag) and on LinkedIn.

See you next week! If you want to collaborate with us, get in touch!


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