wisdom from a hacker looking at 50

I missed G. Mark Hardy’s talk at Defcon titled “A Hacker Looks at 50,” but I always earmarked it to check it out. I’m glad I did since he has a lot of great wisdom to share. I wanted to yoink his main slide bullet points just to reinforce it to myself. His talk is available online (mp4). Here are G Mark’s Observations on Life:

  • Just ask.
  • Don’t wait for perfection.
  • Become a master.
  • Vision is everything.
  • Never disqualify yourself.
  • Challenge your limitations.
  • Have a vision. Write it down.
  • Speak every chance you get.
  • Don’t go it alone.
  • Be flexible.
  • Aim high.
  • Beware of bright shiny objects.
  • Choose tech or management.
  • Do something bigger than yourself.
  • Recipe for life:
    • vision
    • plan (take control back, take a break in the woods)
    • take risk (you can always go back)
    • stay focused (TTL)
    • determination (how badly do you want it?)
  • Don’t save your best for last.
  • Be generous now. (Our stuff doesn’t follow us.)
  • Enjoy life.

2 thoughts on “wisdom from a hacker looking at 50

  1. Did you get a taste of ‘get off my lawn’ whenever he talks about cell phones and the Interwebs devaluing face-to-face communication? Thought that was funny from someone obviously technically adept. I know it’s ironic to note it on a semi-anonymous blog comment, but still.
    Overall, very, very good speech. Very ‘keep pushing yourself, you’ll thank yourself later.’ Loved the Altair 8800 story.

  2. Haha, I *did* get that impression in that section. In fact, it was the only section that made me sit up a bit and take minor issue with. If I had been present in the audience I bet the air would have felt suddenly different!
    I’m not sure if I agree with him on that or not. I can relate, as I’m naturally an introvert and not an outgoing people-person, but that’s not a result of reduced face time in favor of digital interaction.
    From a business perspective, however, there is still obvious value in the face-to-face of it, and I take his viewpoint to be from that perspective.
    He also tied it back around in talking about how life isn’t just digital experience; but rather getting out and doing or creating something. (I admit I may have read more into that part than he overtly stated.) So I get that too; it hits home when I look at that against my video game hobby!
    In short, I bristled at first, don’t agree fully with his assertion there, but I’ll concede a certain business perspective to it.

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