Flattery will get you nowhere

What’s in it for me? Now, if you ask me that’s a perfectly reasonable response any time somebody asks you to give up your valuable time on a professional basis and participate in an event that is being sold to you on the benefits it will have for some large profit making organisation. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question.

I’m very selective about what I give my time to – after all I also have a family to keep happy, a full time job, and interests in things other than security (yes – really!).

So, when somebody comes to me and says “we’d like you to participate in our event and give a day and a half of your time a couple of times a year and contribute to our body of knowledge” I’m flattered to be asked and waiting to hear about the benefits and the pay cheque. When they then go on to say that for the privilege of having me they will also expect me to pay a five figure sum of money then I’m afraid I’m out. And the benefit of being able to network with 20 of my peers (the number of other individuals quoted to me by the salesman as being involved) isn’t something I need to pay for – networking with industry peers is priceless but I prefer to do that where and when I choose: preferably over a pint at the pub than in a meeting room where our every word is being recorded for the benefit of research.

Some causes I will gladly give my own time to: this blog because I enjoy writing and talking about security; the IISP because it’s genuine in its support of the industry that I’m a part of, and one or two others where I get to meet friends and industry colleagues who are similarly enthusiastic about what they do. What I will not do is donate time and spend money (mine or my organisation’s) for the benefit of adding to somebody elses business plan and profits when all I get in return is an invoice.

So, I wont reveal here the name of the well known international organisation that made the offer to me today, I know they read this blog because they made a point of mentioning it a couple of times (and I’ve mentioned them too…), but I hope my answer doesn’t require any further elaboration.