Friday Feb 23
Calling All Infosec Curmudgeons at RSA
Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 10:47

Well, that time is finally here, and in just a few days, Mike Rothman and I will be taking the stage at RSA 2014, in a room that seats 520 attendees, to discuss a topic never before breached at a security conference thus far. That’s 520 hearts and minds we have the opportunity to influence, but our goals aren’t so lofty. If we can open up just a handful of minds, that would be an amazingly gratifying experience. In fact, if the information we offer reaches just ONE of our infosec colleagues and offers a him or her a better life, well then, we’ll mark it as a success!

Realizing the descriptions provided in the booklets, and even online, are minimalist, (I guess that’s what’s expected at an event with 25+ tracks, hundreds of speakers and thousands of sessions) we thought you might like to know a little more about our strange little session on neurohacking and mindfulness. Specifically, we’ve received several questions about the appropriate colors of crystals to bring, and whether there will be Tarot cards available at the door. As it turns out, you guys are really funny, but there are no crystals or Tarot cards. Good one, though; that was very clever.

Here’s the full unedited descriptions of what you can expect if you join us Wednesday morning. If you think it’s all a little weird, that’s okay, just check it out and go from there. There are no commitments here, just options.

Neuro-hacking 101: Taming your inner curmudgeon
with Mike Rothman & Jennifer Minella
Wednesday, February 26,  8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
West, Room: 3018

Neuro-hacking 101 Podcast
If you’re too lazy to read, get the juicy bits in our recently-recorded podcast talking about our session at RSA.

Short Abstract
For self-proclaimed security curmudgeons and anyone else searching for better work/life balance, this session is a how-to guide for happiness, health and finding a paths to increased productivity. Case studies, methods and research in the science of mind and body are followed up with resources and ways to get started. From neuroscience to nutrition, there’s something for everyone.

Quick Abstract
A how-to guide to balance and increased productivity – for curmudgeons and other security professionals. From neuroscience to nutrition, there’s something for everyone.

Session Details
Do we really want to have a balanced lifestyle and be happy? If so, security folks sure don’t act like it! We’re a group of self-proclaimed curmudgeons, grumps and skeptics in a thankless job just waiting to judge others, criticize everyone and complain about, well, everything.

But, a job in infosec is not a jail sentence. We don’t have to be skeptics, nor do we need to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. With an open mind and a few minutes of time, we can completely hack our brains, rewiring the machinery and becoming calmer, clearer and way more productive.

Some call it neuro-hacking, some call it mindfulness, and in Eastern philosophies there are a plethora of words to describe both the actions and the benefits resulting from a shift in perspective. Concepts once viewed as a bunch of hooey now have their results proven daily by scientific and medical research, confirming what people knew 2,500 years ago.

Silicon Valley, the hotbed of innovation, is taking notice — and so should you. Companies like Google have entire programs centered on meditation for their employees. They’re not alone: Facebook, Zynga and a host of other technology companies are integrating these concepts in their businesses.

And these benefits are not just limited to high tech. At every building in General Mills’ sprawling campus, there’s a meditation room. Among General Mills’ senior execs taking a meditation course, 80% reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, while 89% said they became better listeners. Research with business managers show yoga reduced insomnia and anxiety by 66% and depression by more than 85%.

In this session, we’ll discuss tactics to find this balance including meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and other traditionally Eastern practices. You may think we’ve been spending too much time smoking the peace pipe, but in reality security is lagging in using these easy and effective techniques to enable you to deal with the daily grind of security with elegance and grace.

You don’t believe it. We get it because we’re paranoid skeptical curmudgeons just like you. We didn’t believe it until it started to make a difference in our own lives. So we’ll show you the research and share the data to prove it. We’ll share case studies and our own personal experiences. And we’ll give you detailed information and resources on how to start putting these techniques to use today – with as little as ten minutes a day.

We hope you’ll join us Wednesday morning at RSA!


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