Home > Security Conferences, Speaking Engagements > Thanks For Your Concern, But I Didn’t Steal Dan Geer’s Presentation…

Thanks For Your Concern, But I Didn’t Steal Dan Geer’s Presentation…

As previously mentioned, last week, Mogull and I presented at SOURCEBoston.  Our offering was a bit of a rough first-pass mashup at peering my talk on "Disruptive Innovation" with Rich’s excellent "Future of Security" presentation.  It went over decently well and five minutes after the preso., I bailed to the airport for a flight to New Zealand.

Upon my return, I was catching up on email and noticed all manner of really great feedback on Dan Geer’s keynote that he gave the day after I left.  I was saddened by the fact that I missed it and was really looking forward to reading the transcript of Dan’s talk given how much of a fan I am of his work and intellect.

What followed next ranged from confusion to amusement to happiness and then annoyance and disgust.  I’ve been wrestling with how to frame this so as not to imply anything at all negative about Dan as I respect him tremendously and do not in any way wish to besmudge him.

I attribute what you are about to read to serendipity and kismet with the unfortunate side-effect caused by a small but persistent group of annoying individuals who have nothing better to do than create conspiracy theories in between games of Halo3 and unrequited love via match.com.

If you read the transcript of Dan’s presentation, you will be struck when comparing presentations that a large portion of it mirrors the content and thematic representation in my presentation, down to some incredibly specific examples and references as well as a choice number of unique analogs and anecdotes.

I wasn’t particularly concerned by this, in fact I was jazzed when I realized that Dan was not only saying the same things I was but that we were interlocked on some really cool examples…all until I started getting emails and blog comments suggesting that I had ripped off Dan’s work.

So, let me just (sadly) state for the record two things:

  1. The material in the presentation I gave on 3/12 was an updated version of my keynote presentation I gave at the Information Security Decisions show in Chicago in October 2007.  In fact, I posted the narrative slide-by-slide in four parts:
  2. Rich and I presented the day before Dan did.

So, for those of you who have decided to annoy me and call into question my honor and credibility, you can take both those issues above and stuff ’em in your…it’s clear that I authored and published the bulk of my presentation almost 6 months ago and I spoke before Dan did.  This would make it difficult for me to rip him off unless I was psychic.

I know without a doubt that he didn’t take any of this from me, either, and there’s no reason to suggest otherwise.  I’ll just chalk it up to a great mind (his) and a mediocre one (mine) thinking alike.

So in closing, I’m thrilled that we both spoke of punctuated equilibrium, dampened oscillations, disruptive innovation, cyclical evolution, etc.  It means that I’m doing the same sort of thinking as someone that I truly admire.

I intend to reach out to Dan and tell him how much I really enjoyed his keynote and share with him ahead of time some of my emerging work on chaos theory, the dip and predictive economic modeling theory as applied to InfoSec…I only wish our presentation went over as well as his did πŸ˜‰

I trust we can put this to bed now?


  1. TJ
    March 20th, 2008 at 15:12 | #1

    Are you girls really going to bicker over a mutually firm grasp of the obvious πŸ˜‰
    It's been said before, but applies here too. Good ideas are like success, they have many fathers. Bad ideas are like failure, orphans.

  2. Dennis
    March 20th, 2008 at 17:05 | #2

    Dear Hoff,
    I had no idea you were psychic! That explains how you ripped of Dan!
    ok – seriously; you just had to see that one comming… πŸ˜€

  3. March 20th, 2008 at 18:18 | #3

    @TJ, I think you just called me an illegitimate child? πŸ˜‰
    @Dennis, yes, I'm psychic…I bet you are too! See if you can guess what I'm thinking about saying to you right now. Ready? Go! πŸ˜‰
    Ah, I feel the love…

  4. Tim
    March 25th, 2008 at 02:31 | #4

    Two alternate explanations:
    1) Dan ripped off Chris.
    2) Dan and Chris are the same person.
    Don't know about anyone else but I'm leaning towards the latter as the former is less likely (Occam's razor and all that, you know). There may be some truth to it as I've never seen the two of them together…

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