The PhoneBoy Blog


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What A Long, Strange Trip 2009 Has Been

The beginning of 2009 had a rocky start for me. My employment situation was up in the air thanks to my long-time employer Nokia selling off the Security Appliance Business I worked in to Check Point Software. While I had an idea that I would probably have a job with Check Point, I couldn’t really breathe a sign of relief until I had a job offer in-hand, which did not come until April.

Even before Nokia announced the Security Appliance Business was getting sold at the end of September 2008, I had maneuvered my career into a comfortable, but rather limiting position. My job was not at risk, but I also did not see a way out of it either.

In a sense, this forced employer change was exactly the kind of fresh start I needed. Even though the entire process was downright scary–change often is–I am happy with how things are going now.

Even though it took me a couple of months to get plugged into Check Point, which is typical anytime you change employers, my true mission was known to me almost immediately. There wasn’t a whole lot of discussion about it, either. I just started doing what comes naturally.

I began the process of reconnecting with a community I helped to build many years ago, but more or less walked away from to pursue other interests. I spoke at Check Point events. I established Check Point’s official presence on Twitter, Facebook, and CPUG. I engaged our customers, looking for trouble, finding it, and did my best to find solutions.

What surprised me was that so many people remember the work I did all those years ago, both inside Check Point and in the larger Check Point community. The appreciation and generosity everyone showed was quite humbling. It made the transition back into the Check Point world that much easier.

Then again, I never really left it. Even though I spent a lot of years at Nokia supporting “everything but,” there was always the occasional need for obscure bits of Check Point knowledge that only I had. I also supported various aspects of the IPSO operating system and was the go-to guy when it came to analyzing security vulnerabilities. And yes, I had my hands in the knowledge base almost the whole time I was at Nokia :)

Mobile Change Happens, Too

One thing that ended with my employment at Nokia was easier access to “free” mobile phones. Between our normal replacement cycles and my contacts, I was able to get a few handsets a year to play with for varying lengths of time. This means, going forward, I have to buy my own stuff. However, for the first time in a decade, I am able to own something other than a Nokia device without feeling like a traitor :)

So what did I do? I bought an iPhone 3GS, of course. It was a bit of a leap of faith, as I wasn’t sure how I’d like it after playing with it in the Apple Store, but now I love it! It completely changes how and when I use my mobile phone. Not that my Nokia devices didn’t have all this same functionality ages ago, but the laser-like focus Apple puts on user experience, the speed of the iPhone 3GS hardware, and the plethora of applications really showed me what a mobile device could be!

And yes, I agree that the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music–a device I received as a “parting gift” from Nokia–touched more lives than Apple’s device did. It’s no iPhone, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and easy to get without a contract. However, the iPhone was the mobile device that rocked my world in 2009.

Increasing Social Currency In 2010

One thing I learned in 2009 was that relationships really matter. It is a form of currency–social currency, if you will–that everyone has, regardless of their station in life.

Meanwhile, my friend Ken Camp has a great piece on transforming the world by looking in the mirror. I encourage you all to read it and really let it sink in. My way of transforming the world will be by increasing the social currency in the world–one relationship at a time.

Increasing your social currency is easy. You improve your relationships with others through your words and deeds. Conversely, as you neglect your relationship with words and deeds, your social currency decreases.

The beautiful thing about social currency is that everyone can have it in limitless amounts. When you give your social currency away, you often get it back–with interest.

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C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.