Monday, 24 October 2011

On Friendship

We allow ourselves to be hurt. It is not those I do not know nor care for that can ever hurt me. It is only those I call friends and more.

Over the weekend I was hurt by a person I cared about. I live an ocean away from this person and I have only met him at a few SANS conferences when I am in the USA, but I have helped this person and talked via email.

This may seem strange, but we can form strong bonds through electronic media. At times we can share more in this media than we actually do face to face. I have many people whom I call friends that I have not met in person. Others, I have come to meet only after years of knowing them online.

When you interact in groups, we form communities and we create more than a basic sharing of technical knowledge. Limiting ourselves to sharing of technical knowledge and no more is a recipe for collapse. As humans, we form bonds and relate to our community stronger than we do to “outsiders”. In sharing, we become more capable of finding those people we can turn to in times of stress and crisis (such as even a system compromise at work).

My betrayal (and I will not name the person) came when that person was involved in a group discussion. It was bad enough when they did not stand up and say something when I was accused by this group (most of whom I do not care about at all). We are all guilty of this at time, I have been earlier in my life though I have learned and now I do try and support those I know (even many whom I dislike).

I have even (as a forensic expert) been attacked for my religious convictions in court when giving testimony. It is not a good tact I will say as many judges go to church and others do not appreciate these slurs. But it does occur. Although I (other than this weekend and outside my church group) do not talk of religion a good deal, I believe strongly. I also believe that others have the right of their own belief and I do not preach to those who do not wish to hear.

Not standing by ones fiends and even acquaintances is one this. Peer pressure effects us even as adults. To join into the fray is another.

This person I called a friend said they doubted my credentials as well. In itself this was not a lot, but added to the other comments it fuelled far more. I will say what friends do, they ask friends to explain if they are uncertain. It is not as hard as it seems. In my case, I would have  provided anything requested to quench the concerns that person had.

Far more information than I would and shall even post on here.

When it is a comment from a person we do not know, an error is fact is one thing, it is a different matter when it is a friend.

As an example, I was accused of not caring about privacy and the fact that it will be easier to tack and trace people over the weekend. This is not true and I do not know the person who said this, so it means little to me. that individual clearly does not know what I value and seek.

I had pointed out how the future will have FMCGs such as Coke cans with IP addresses. It will, there are already projects for this. These are not my projects and I could not stop the tide of change if I wanted. The economics benefits are far too great and the organisations who embrace this will thrive and in true Darwinistic fashion, the less fit will not survive. So do not shoot the messenger, try and do something and act to ensure that security is built into the project rather than tacked on after the fact.

Due to the nature of another interaction, I had asked what was being said about me to another I know. They found out and sent me a copy of emails and chat logs.

We should really start to understand that we are coming into a world with far less privacy. It is not by choice, but it is how it is evolving. We live in a world when more will be online and when hearsay will give way to electronic evidence. What you say in a group is no longer your own. What you say even in private to another may not be. It is a world where little outside your own thoughts will be truly private. If you share, others also have copies.

Many are not used to this and try to go to the golden age that never existed. The only constant is change and we cannot stop it. We can try and make the world better and guide the tide of change a little, but we cannot make the changes that are in play stop.

It is no longer even now what you post that matters, it is the actions of those you have surrounding you. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I certainly have and do. That stated, I am not afraid of my failings. I let people know what they are as those around me help make sure that I am reminded of my fallacies. In allowing all to see my flaws, I can work on them and I would hope become a better man.

I have been told that I should not say such things. That doing so may impact my chances at a public policy position one day. Well, if there is a position that will not allow me to be human that I need to change from being open and sharing for, then I do not want it. Not now, not ever, I will be open and honest to the best of my ability. That means as an emotive and caring man, not as a figure of marble without flaw or failing.

It is not about being a better Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or whatever. It is about being a better man (or woman as the case may be). I should learn, but in some lessons of the world and not of the heart, I will not learn and I will again allow myself to be hurt. I refuse to close myself to people I think of as friends. Some of these people will manage in coming years to hurt me deeply as one has in the last week. The option of closing myself and stopping pain is not a choice I will take. It is not a choice that leads to growth.

Sometimes we have to risk being hurt even when we know that the certainty remains that one day we will be hurt for the gains are far greater.

I have been betrayed in the past as well. I fail as a business man in many ways. No for my businesses but as I care. I had started a company, DeMorgan back in the 90’s. I sold it and was rewarded fairly well, though it could have been better.

I did learn that as much as you try and be fair, there is no such thing. After I had sold the company, it was stripped a first time and the assets and contracts were liquidated. The staff would have been left with nothing. I could have left this as it was. I guess most would have. I did not.

I paid the liquidators and purchased the company back. I did not have to, but I started the new firm with any staff member we had before with full pay, the vacation time they had formerly accrued as well as the super and more.

I learned from that exertion that people do not care or that most (there are always some that do not follow the rule) do not understand loyalty. In fact, nobody I hired then worked as hard, cared as much. They all (bar one) came to expect that it was their lot in life to be bailed out. They expected that I would save them, not that they would work to make something, but that they are owed a living. This is a flaw in society. We have this anti-capitalistic ideal and believe that we are owed something.

The reality is we are not, we are simply owed the wage we agree to work for and any other conditions in a contract. Anything more is a gift we should (and rarely are) thankful for.

Society, corporations and anything else we deem to name does not owe us or any other a living. We owe society. The simple answer is if you do not like the role you have and you think you should earn more, then change jobs. All that stated, I was stabbed in the back from those former employees who after having been bailed out of troubles they had ended in by myself and my soon to be former wife had and expressed no loyalty.

I do not learn in some ways. This is my nature. I will still befriend people I should not and I will suffer for it. It has been long enough now that I can tell these stories without causing damage other than to feelings of those who prefer things remain silent. That said, this is not something that actually helps us.

In remaining silent, we all suffer.

It is more than seven years, so I will also document how staff I had trusted, people I called friends sold out their profession. This really should have gone to court. It did not at the bequest of the senior management and council of the Australian Stock Exchange Ltd. My company at the time and fronted by myself ran the security systems for the ASX.

In a tale of why checks and validation is necessary, a staff member  at DeMorgan has created a backdoor into the trading systems. Luckily I had found this and alerted the management at the ASX prior to its being exploited, but the damage could have been great. It did start a long battle as the chairman of the board of my company told me to shut-up about it.

He thought exposing the company was wrong. We should have fixed the issue and left the ASX in the dark. I did not. I will detail this and more.


I am human, I have flaws and failings as we all do. Those who attempt to say they do not are hiding for whatever reason and are not being honest. Myself, I would rather be judged as the flawed man I am than the perceived but dishonest talking head some would say I should be.


All said, I will continue.

I have set myself a goal and I work at completing my tasks until it is impossible to achieve them or they have succeeded.

As I said, I will provide details of the good, the bad and all other.

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