I’m sitting in a Sheraton hotel room in downtown Seattle. I’ve got a cup of Starbuck’s Pike Place in front of me, and my eyes and brain don’t want to focus. After WordCamp US, I worked a few frantic days at home and then grabbed yet another flight, this time to WordCamp Seattle.

I had a blast at both WCUS and WCSEA. Right this moment, I am tired. I am not sure if I’ve been this tired before in my life. And yet, it’s been worth it.

Open | The Community Code

At WCUS, we premiered our documentary short about the WordPress community, Open | The Community Code. It started as an idea and recognition of our friends in the WordPress community that give so much to make WordPress what it is. We weren’t sure exactly what the story would be when we started. As such, we collected 37 different interviews at 4 different WordCamps (Portland, Seattle, WordCamp US in Nashville, and Phoenix) and our production team and editors started digging for the story.

When the story emerged, it was beautiful. Our director Sean Korbitz really nailed it. He’s immensely talented and an incredible human being. I am blessed to know him.

Seeing Open premiered at WordCamp US as part of State of the Word was indescribable and unreal. I was able to watch so many people who contributed to our documentary short see it for the first time. To me, this was a huge win. The feedback we received was overwhelming.

There were many stories about WordPress we could have told, of course. There are so many individual stories of what WordPress and this community have done for people, and there are so many successful organizations in this space. I think we were able to really tell the story of WHY. Why do so many people give so much to this community? Why does WordPress work so well the way that it does? Why do so many companies and people make money with WordPress?

Open kind of tells it all.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please check it out.

We also had a bit of a movie premiere party, which was way too much fun.

Hey that’s me at the Open premiere party.

You can also see some photos from the premiere and a recap on the Open.film blog.

The Hacker Mindset

I also presented a talk at WordCamp US. I was immensely honored to take the stage at WCUS, and I wanted to give a security talk that was more than basic security recommendations. I wanted to inspire people to think about their life in a different way. I think I got it. I’m pretty happy with how it went even though I was off script quite a few times. You can watch that talk below; slides here.

Lockpicking and Conversations

Of course, we had a booth, and a rather large one. And yet, we used every inch of that booth for customer conversations, lock picking, filming… it was non stop activity all weekend long. I wasn’t even in the booth for very long at all, opting to have conversations with as many people as possible anywhere I could have them. And I did. It was like a family reunion of friends from around the world. From early morning to late in the evening, I had inspiring, informative, and amazing conversations.

I had people comment to me “I feel like I already know you” because they listen to the Think Like a Hacker podcast. It was humbling to know that I am helping people to think more about security in their life in a less scary way.

Why am I Doing All of This

So yes, I am tired. I am really tired. It has been a few weeks of whirlwind activity and I am taking downtime over the upcoming holidays.

But I have my why’s. Knowing that the community who gives so much to WordPress has something that they can show friends and family to explain why we all do what we do is such a monumental win. The fact that so many people I admire and respect saw themselves celebrated is something I will both cherish and be humbled by for quite some time.

Teaching people to be empowered by security practices instead of fearful is also very much a “why” for me. When people are in fear states, they’re less likely to reach out and lift others up, they’re less likely to live life from an inspired place, and they’re less likely to make the world a better place. My goal and mission in life is to help people break the chains of fear, to become inspired to act from their highest value system, and to change this planet for the better.

Sounds like a weird “why” for an infosec person, doesn’t it. Well, I’m a weird infosec person, this is something I can confirm.

Overall, WCUS, and my talk and conversations at WordCamp Seattle, have done all of this for me and more. I connected with a lot of people doing incredible things with podcasting, publishing, video and more. I’m inspired to not only write more, but also to bring that mission of empowerment to a wider audience at WordCamps and beyond.

I feel a renewed hope for where I am going in 2020, and I can’t wait to see what happens.


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