8 Bits with Regina Bluman!
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Pj Metz 2:06
Brandon Hi Brandon, you look great today I think your computer's a little frozen
Sarah Guthals 2:13
yeah sorry about that
Pj Metz 2:25
ever been a part of in my whole life? You're not reading it on your doctor sir Oh, welcome to the podcast about tech and their lives and people and see normally Brandon does the intro so he actually knows what to say. I'm new at this BIOS PJ bits with me this week, Dr. Sarah got holes over here during me as CO hosts because Brandon's feeling a little under the weather. There's some weather on top of him. And we wish him a speedy recovery and lots of rest. He's fine. But you know, sick. Yeah. Yeah, that weather umbrellas will stop it. I think that's honestly, the way to go is an umbrella or raincoat? I mean, I mean, he lives in. Like, rain happens. Weather happens. Yeah, like we're blaming you now.
Sarah Guthals 3:24
Just kidding. I hope you feel better random.
Pj Metz 3:26
Oh, yeah, we're both sad. I mean, like, I'm sad. No, but I get to hang out with you.
Sarah Guthals 3:30
Sure. I get to do something today. This is great.
Pj Metz 3:34
How have you been? What's going on?
Sarah Guthals 3:36
Oh, I've been great. I am taking a little break from full time pneus of careers to do some fun things, do my podcast with Chloe get to kind of come on eight bits. But maybe start a special project with PJ on scary movies and tech. It's gonna be fun. Yeah, so just kind of hanging out and being a mom. Yeah, it's great.
Pj Metz 4:00
It's fantastic. To be able to do stuff like that, you know, to be able to take that time off and to Yeah, because you've been full time working constantly busy since 13 years old. Honestly, honestly, I know. I feel like our families have similar dynamics where we both like just kind of started working young and just kept going.
Sarah Guthals 4:22
Yep, it's true. It's true. So I'm really excited. I'm gonna, you know, appreciate this moment.
Pj Metz 4:28
Heck, yeah. Good. Good. Yes. earlier how I'm doing? I'm good. I'm fine. We just started the new fiscal year at GitLab. Yesterday. So we are and our organization is that we're in fiscal year 23.
Sarah Guthals 4:43
Yeah. 2023. Yeah. When I was at GitHub, they did the same thing. It was February 1, and it was fy 23. It always used everyone.
Pj Metz 4:55
Always and honestly because I'm on the education team. We also operate with the idea of semester all the time. Oh, what's going on this semester? Oh, what's going on this quarter? Oh, what's going on this FBI? And like, oh, it's confusing, but as far as I can, I can do it.
Sarah Guthals 5:11
You can. I believe in you. Yeah. In the chat. Rihanna suggests the umbrella too. And you know, raise green. So I agree. Man better.
Pj Metz 5:23
Man, you're my favorite person that comes into stream all the time. You're so supportive of me. Everyone say hi to my sister. Awesome. Well, yeah, we do have a show today. Uh, we you are our co host. You're not our guest. Your your work. And we are paying you appropriately for that work. I assume. Sue branded got that. Checks coming in. I think that's right. And it's it's a piece of paper that says thank you. And he signed it. He did the
Sarah Guthals 5:54
number one. So I think it'll be easy to find.
Pj Metz 5:58
That's right. But yeah, we have a great show today. Um, we have a guest today who is very important in, in my life, because when I started this journey of getting into tech, I had two mentors. I had Brandon, I had Chloe and both of them were giving me a lot of help with a lot of the things I needed to learn things like get things like just the the way work is done in the developer world. And this person on today, was instrumental in me really starting to take seriously that I could work in tech and that I could be a part of tech. And I'm very, very excited to have her on the show today. And I'd like you all to please welcome, Regina. Ah.
Regina Bluman 6:45
Hi, thanks so much for having me. God,
Pj Metz 6:48
that's such a good sound. I have too many stupid sounds that I've downloaded from stream deck. And I don't get to use them enough for Chinami
Regina Bluman 6:56
like radio DJ and family guy who plays and effects. It is.
Pj Metz 7:01
It is honestly my inspiration is terrible. American 1980s radio DJs. And I think I'm doing pretty good at it. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, they never should have gotten me the stream deck. Rash. How are you doing?
Regina Bluman 7:20
I'm really well thing. Oh, yeah. Well, you've covered how you are. Very good. Thanks.
Pj Metz 7:27
Good, good. So there's people out there who don't know you, which I find hard to believe. But how about you tell us about yourself a quick intro if you don't mind?
Regina Bluman 7:36
Yeah, sure. So as PJ said, I'm I'm red. And my name is Regina. But everyone calls me red. I am American, even though you can't tell from the accent. I've been in the UK for 11 years, I think. And I am a tech convert. So I started off my life, my career in marketing. And yeah, now working in cybersecurity. So me.
Pj Metz 8:05
Fantastic. So that that tech convert, like you weren't in tech, and then you switch to tech. I wasn't in tech. And then I switch to tech. Dr. G, you weren't in tech, and you switch to tech, right?
Sarah Guthals 8:16
Yeah, I switched in college. So I think people don't often associate it with kind of a switch. But then I also didn't focus exclusively on tech. It was like tech education. So Oh, yeah. But yeah, I didn't discover it until I took one class. And I was like, What is this?
Pj Metz 8:34
It's always exciting that that one thing that like sort of flips the switch for you that makes you go, Oh, that's neat. Yeah. What was that for you? What was that, that thing that flipped the switch for
Regina Bluman 8:43
you. Um, so I went to a security conference. So I, technically, I was still working in tech, because I worked for IT companies, but I was in marketing. So I was very hands off. I was not technical in the slightest. I was doing social media and, you know, organizing events and stuff like that. So I wasn't doing the tech side of it. And so I went to a security conference, to just try and get some more content, you know, for blogs and stuff like that. And there was three or four speakers who spoke who kind of stuck in my head to this day. And it was just the idea of how how much security touched everyone's lives and kind of the impact that security has on things. And so there was a journalist is called Jeff White, and he talked about some research that he did on different types of ransomware around the world. So we we tend to think of ransomware as you know, being very generic across the board. And he talks about different attacks, and this has stuck in my head forever. He talked about this one, basically in Japan, and it was how they changed And the viruses based on the culture of the companies that they were attacking. So, in Japanese culture, there's a lot of people who are very by the rules, it's very kind of formal and it's, you know, the kind of the inbuilt right and wrong is a very important thing. And so it was a pop up, that would come up on some porn sites that basically the the attackers are kind of taken over. And so it didn't pop up and say that, you know, we've got you on video, and now we're gonna hold you to ransom, or, you know, it didn't, it just popped up and said that you're in an area, which is for members only, and you haven't paid to be here. And so you have to click this window, you have to click this and pay to be in this area, because you've you've accessed this and you shouldn't be here. And that was it. It was literally just a pop up window. It didn't do all people needed to do was close it, it wouldn't affect their computer, it didn't encrypt the files, but the sense of like I'm in a place shouldn't be, they made loads of money from worked. And that was just passing the idea. Yeah, the idea of the kind of personal side of security. Just hooked me. So here I am.
Pj Metz 11:14
Something amazing, the idea of like security being a cultural thing, too, and how like different attacks come from different cultures. That's wild. Yeah. Dr. G, did you find
Sarah Guthals 11:28
the Japanese porn site? No.
No, I was looking for a similar story, that I recently heard about how these attackers were looking for people who were very, like high up in their industry, and inviting them to be on like a board of some sort. And, and what the hackers did was actually hack a university's server like email server and be able to send emails from the university. And they actually created like a page on the university's domain. So they were sending emails to the like, high level professionals as this professor, getting them to sign up for this thing. And like, it all looked legit, because the people that they were trying to hack were like, people who would check domains and like, not just click on random links. And so they did this whole convoluted thing. But Reggie, actually, I wanted to ask you, because I know you said, you know, you were marketing, but not none of the tech stuff. But every single marketing person I've worked with at technical companies is very technical, like, and I don't mean, their writing code. Because I don't think that's the only way of being technical. But the fact that you were at this security conference, and the fact that you were looking for content, you you understood kind of who the technical audience was, you understood what the company did. And were able to translate that I think that that is more technical than what a lot of developers do, to be honest.
Regina Bluman 13:08
Yeah, I, I think you're right. And I, I've been pulled up on this before, and I need to, it's something I need to work on is I need to stop saying that I'm not technical. There's a lot of things I can't do that are techie. But I am technically minded. And I think you're right, there's a huge element of people who are in marketing. And there is, that was one of the reasons why I kind of got into security is because I needed to understand, like marketing or sales, right, and I need to understand what I was selling. And so I need to understand who am I going to target with this. And I think bad marketing, you can still stay very removed from what you're what you're selling. But good marketing, whether that's tech or cars or anything else, you have to understand who your audience is, you have to understand why they're interested in it. So you're right. That's a really good point. It's, and yes, there was the technical understanding.
Sarah Guthals 14:06
Yeah. And I feel like you're, you know, skills in in marketing and understanding whether it's technical marketing or not just understanding your audience and being able to deliver what, what would work for them. I bet those skills are huge insecurity, because that's kind of the whole point, right, is being able to anticipate what, you know, a victim of a hack or, you know, something might be being able to anticipate the actions of the hacker like, you know, I'm just using hackers, but like, you know, I feel like that that understanding of how people think and act is probably huge. And you're here now. Yeah,
Regina Bluman 14:48
it's, it's come in handy so much. Whether you're trying to get a developer to understand why you need to do things in a certain way, whether you're trying to get your mom to understand how To do something that you know, it's still relating something, then you have to learn how to translate something in a way that makes people care about it. Because as much as I love security, I know, most people don't. So I can be really excited about it. But if I don't know how to make it relevant to them, it's never gonna land. It's never gonna go anywhere. So yeah, it is it is marketing. And it, it took me a really long time when I was kind of moving across and the amount of people who didn't get that and to say that it's a transferable skill. And actually, you know, it is a really good thing for me to have this experience. There's so many people who don't see it like that. Yeah.
Pj Metz 15:39
It goes, go ahead, Sarah.
Sarah Guthals 15:41
I was just gonna ask like, I don't I don't know the story of Reggie and PJ. So I know, PJ, you had your career before that, too. Before what you're doing now. And education. And like, you know, could y'all share a bit more about about what Reggie kind of shared with you? Because I feel like those skills prior to entering tech are so critical. And I agree, Reggie, I feel like some people just don't get it. They're wrong. Don't quote me. But like, yeah, what can you tell me a bit more about that?
Pj Metz 16:16
Oh, I think I'll take it, I'll take a stab at it. So I was a teacher for 10 years before this, I wanted to be a high school English teacher. It's something I realized in my third year of college, that was what I really wanted to do. And so that's just what I was going to do forever. Um, it did amazing things. For me, I became a really confident public speaker. And a lot of the skills I developed as a teacher really sharpened what is I think inappropriately called soft skills. I think that soft skills are interpersonal skills. And I think interpersonal skills are how we relate to each other, and all businesses, how you relate to each other. Everything is how you relate to other people. So I got really good at that. And I, when I was thinking of transferring, the first thing, I think that really made me realize I could work in tech, because at first, I was learning to code. And I was like, Oh, I can build a website or an app for my students that make me a better teacher. One of the first things that made me realize I could be a great that I could be in tech at all, was close reading a description of a DevRel job for airtable. And actually posted that clip on Twitch a few days ago. But what Reggie did specifically is Reggie was the first person outside of my mentors, who I felt like had to like me, like they had invested time in me. And they were like, well, PJ's got to succeed. Now I'm going to make sure he succeeds. Because otherwise, like, that looks bad. For me. i It's like the way you can write off compliments from your partner very easily sometimes. But yeah, read said, Oh, I think you would probably be really good at this. And like, sent me a position for her company, and was like, I can put you in contact with someone. And the fact that a person who only saw what I had been sort of doing online where I was like doing streams with Chloe and building Twitter bots and sort of that stuff, saw something
Regina Bluman 18:14
in me and enough for me like
Pj Metz 18:17
I should i bought it. That's my that's my application. Actually, I just send them a link to Shanaya bot and say it is. But yeah, this realization that my skills and what I had learned as an educator, were not only useful in a new career, but desirable in an employee completely changed the way I was thinking about my job search. And like I said, Reggie was one of the first people outside of my mentors who was like, Yeah, you can do this because even at home, I was constantly like, I don't know that I can do this. And my wife was like, I mean, are you gonna be able to do this? I was like, I don't know. Like, this seems to be fine. Um, but yeah, absolutely. And that's how I met. It was through Chloe. Really? I think Chloe knew you. Y'all were like, well,
Regina Bluman 19:04
yeah, just on Twitter.
Pj Metz 19:08
Regina Bluman 19:10
All I did was send the link.
Pj Metz 19:12
It meant the world to me at the time. I remember actually, I was looking through our Twitter conversation that we had when you were reaching out to me. And you were like, do you have time today? I was like, Oh, I'm babysitting a national English Honor Society meeting right now. But afterwards, I can chat. And remembering that part of my job was like, working with student groups that the student groups really ran themselves and I was just there as an adult in the room. So I have these times. I was just like, I would just let them kind of do work and make sure that they were like headed in the right direction. And there's value in and I just loved, I could talk teaching all day. There's days I miss it, but like other days, I get to string with two awesome people and that's way cooler than talking about AP English.
Sarah Guthals 20:00
So read you said that you moved to the UK 11 years ago? Yeah, I think so. But you didn't have an accent prior to that. I know curious about that.
Regina Bluman 20:13
One and raised in Colorado. So I lived in the States my whole life. And then I met my boyfriend in the States, whose English so I moved over. And I think so I have a lot of friends who are American who have been here for longer than me, and they still have their accent like 100%. But Colorado's dead center in the US, it's a very neutral accent to begin with. So I didn't have like a southern twang, or like a Boston accent or anything like that. So I had a pretty neutral accent. But then when I moved here, I didn't work for an American company. I didn't move here with family. So I didn't hear an American accent. Like unless it was my family at home. Everyone I lived with everyone I worked with is English. And so it just kind of crept in. It was never like, I always felt you know, the episode from friends when Amanda comes back, and everyone is like, oh, Amanda ring me on my mobile. I'm forever paranoid that I'm that person. Like, you know, the person who likes studies abroad, and they come back and have an accent. But if I actually try and do a British accent, and it sounds horrible, so I can, I can assure you that this isn't odd. But it's just like I still say like banana and tomato and like it's still there. It's just very weird. Now I just sound like a month.
Sarah Guthals 21:40
I don't you know, cuz i. So I'm Latina. And my mom and Grandpa are from Hawaii and South America. And so they speak a very specific kind of dialect of Spanish. And then when I went to school, it was more of like a Spain Spanish. And I even had some teachers, I had some teachers that were Mexican and some that were from Spain. So that I would do like a fail every once in a while. But I you use like voce with my family and then who stay with us? Yeah. And then and then when I got to high school, all of my friends were Mexican. And so my Spanish is just like so confusing. And I'm like you said like, I'm like a mutt of the Spanish language. And then I you know, I don't speak it every day all day anymore. And so now I've got this, like, you know, I forget verbs. And so then it's like some English in there. And it's just like a mess.
Pj Metz 22:33
It's it's a U N accent. Yeah,
Regina Bluman 22:37
yeah, exactly. I had no idea until I moved here and went to Spain for the first time how different Spain Spanish was. And my boyfriend. We were at dinner, and he said, you know, graffia and I was like, yeah. Why have you got a lisp? All of a sudden, were and I just pour into it. I was like, What are you doing? It's not how you pronounce it. And then I was like, Oh, all right. different accents. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Oh, Mexican, Spanish. Like, that's what I would in it. I that's what I grew up learning. Spain Spanish is like, I don't know what, completely.
Sarah Guthals 23:16
I've heard that American is different, too. It's like a mixture.
Pj Metz 23:20
I was in high school. My my girlfriend for most of high school was Colombian and my mother is Puerto Rican. And when our mothers would talk, it was like, two completely different languages. Like my mom would use slang and have to like, oh, wait, what's the real word for that? Like? Yeah, yeah.
Sarah Guthals 23:37
So much trouble for saying God fool. In the movie,
Pj Metz 23:43
the TIC TOCs that are like when you're Spanish in the Spanish class, like if you're Latino and Spanish class and like Cuomo said, He's saying car and the kids are like in correcto. And say, DC se el coche. Che? And he's like,
Sarah Guthals 24:00
seeing my grandpa was like, No, it's the movie.
Pj Metz 24:08
I've heard that an accent like falling into an accent from people around you is related to empathy. And like, my sister and I are the same. Like I'll start pulling in accent when I'm around people and my brain is always like, don't do it. They're gonna think you're making fun of them. Be careful. But an accent can be really important to being understood when you're in a new place. When I was in Korea for a year and a half. I had to learn to say lone words with an English and with a Korean accent, which made me feel terrible. The first time I tried to order a hamburger over there. The way you order things is you say the noun of what you want. And then you say just say oh, which means give me please. So a hamburger juicio means please give me a hamburger. So I went to it. It was like my second month there. I went to a what's called a latte. Lots of RIA which is a fast food place that does burgers. I said, cheeseburger just sale. And the guy looked at me he was terrified. And I was like, oh, no, I said it wrong. What and I was like, um, cheeseburger, just sale. And he was like looking around for the person that spoke. And I was like, okay, just look at the menu and read the because I could read the Korean. And so I looked them and you I found it and I went, Qi Jabba juicio and he went, Oh, Cheetah burger. And I was like, No, and that's when I realized, if you're, if it's a loan word, especially saying it with the accent actually helps make you understood better.
Sarah Guthals 25:39
That's so fascinating. I also like my husband can tell who I'm talking to on the phone, depending on how I'm speaking. Like, my, my voice, like my, my, just everything about how I speak changes, depending on which friend I'm talking to. And I'm not conscious, I can now notice it, but it's not conscious at all.
Regina Bluman 26:01
I would just went back to Colorado a couple of weeks ago, and I was there for 10 days. And while I was there, I could hear me becoming more American. When I was there, again. It's crept back, I think it's back to whatever my accent is normally now. But while I was there, I can hear me pronouncing stuff. And I was like, Oh, I don't normally say it like that I was that definitely
Pj Metz 26:28
rides when you're so this, this total career change, like you moved into security from marketing. That happened two years ago, you said a year and a half
Regina Bluman 26:38
ago? Yeah, yeah, year and a half.
Pj Metz 26:41
So what is something? We talked earlier about how important our former careers can be as far as skills related to a new career? What's something you think you brought with you from marketing securities that you wouldn't have known otherwise?
Regina Bluman 26:56
Pj Metz 26:59
I put you on the spot. This is a big no, actually, as I was asking this question, I was like this a lot. So
Regina Bluman 27:05
I think similar to what we talked about earlier, in terms of the the ability to kind of understand your target audience, and to be able to kind of frame things in a way that they need to understand or that will hook their interest. And I think that that bit of it is is super important. But I think probably more practically been the marketing side of things. I had a huge amount of exposure to different vendors and different companies and how they positioned themselves. And now kind of being the other side of it. In terms of like the buyer, the user of the tech, it's been really nice to kind of have that understanding to say, Oh, actually, I know a company who, who kind of positioned themselves in this way, or I know a company who offers that. Because when you're this side, it's there's so many, you know, there's so many companies, and those new security companies that are starting up all the time, and they all have a slightly different, you know, niche that they fit in
Pj Metz 28:08
very hyper specific thing. Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Regina Bluman 28:11
And so it's kind of like you just can't see because there's so many companies, whereas the fact that I've been the other side, and I know, you know, I spent my job was to understand their positioning and to understand their selling points and do competitor analysis. And, you know, my job was to research these companies. And so to be the other side of that, I think that's really helped me kind of understand what a good kind of security tech stack, I would want to build a one to use.
Sarah Guthals 28:40
I think it's so fascinating, because I feel like too often, people who started out as devs, and are still devs, and didn't have like a different career interest, forget that they're a part of business in a larger capitalistic ecosystem. And so I've often had conversations where it's like, you know, yes, I understand that tiny feature might be technologically interesting, but that's not going to sell. And it's not that everything needs to sell, but it does, like, we work for a company that is part of it. And I think like, like understanding how to position things to customers, but then also back to the rest of the team, right? Like, that was always part of my job as like an engineering manager was, was saying, like, I understand that you're interested in this, how can we dislike show the benefit to customers, and then weigh whether our effort is worth that amount of benefit, right, and being able to frame it like that? And so I feel like that's a really good, kind of, I don't know, just perspective and we had a question in the chat for you too. Mostly, but do you feel like you would be be successful in your current career, your current position, if you hadn't had your experiences in marketing or in teaching?
Pj Metz 30:08
I absolutely wouldn't be.
Regina Bluman 30:11
I mean, I I disagree with that. I know, I know. I don't know, you see, but I think you would be you obviously have the inclination for it, and you have the, you know, those skills aren't loaned. That's something inside of you that you're very good at teaching that you're very passionate about things. I think, yes, I probably would be successful, but I'd probably be a dickhead. Like, I know, I would be one of those people. And there are security people who think that they do run the business and they think that everything is is the security is the most important thing. And you lose sight of of what else is out there. If you've only ever done one thing and not to say that people who have had one career path our whole lives are dickheads because someone will hear me say that and go Oh, thanks a lot veg
Pj Metz 30:59
Regina Bluman 31:03
Yeah, exactly. But I think it absolutely helps contribute to success to kind of be able to see things from another side.
Pj Metz 31:13
I agree that like, certainly, I could say I would I would find a way to be successful. I believe that like, what what I do is something I not not that I always could have done it. But my personality is a big part of what why I'm doing well right now, I think. But I think about very specific things like classroom management and preparing lesson plans and considering things like, Well, what do I want them to learn by the end of? Or more importantly, what do I want them to be able to do by the end of this? And because I did 10 years of thinking like that, that's ingrained? When I create a workshop or even just a presentation, what do I want them to be able to do at the end of this is just the thought I have while I'm working now. So I think I think of like the specific skills I picked up as a teacher. And I know for me that those skills are what I'm leaning on right now to do well at this job right now. But I agree with you that like, and I agree with you to Sarah, the the person who is kind of like hyper focused on their job will often overinflate the importance of their specific work. And it's important to recognize you're part of an ecosystem, you know, your finger is super important. And it allows you to grab things, and it allows you to gesture and allows you to do a lot. But it is a part of a body and that body is a part of a person. And we need to understand that when you're on a team. It is all in service of a single goal. And whatever you're doing to achieve that goal, it has to work. Yep,
Regina Bluman 32:52
yeah, yeah, there was one thing I learned. So they said it to me on my first day at my company, in our induction was basically we find ways to say yes, so security, our job is to say yes to things, our job is to find a way to say yes. And that is completely counter to almost everything that I learned kind of when I was self studying insecurity and trying to skill up. It was you know, security should lock things down. And security shouldn't allow that. And then to come to a company where they wouldn't look, we want to allow things we want to say yes to things. It's a completely different mindset, but the attitude and the way the relationship that we have with the rest of the business, the respect that we have within the business and the weight that that kind of carries that we are listened to. And you know, if we do say no to something, they know that it's a very serious No, because we don't do it off. And it's it's really important, I think, to understand, again, especially I've definitely worked places where security teams are our business blocos. And, you know, if you work for a security company, that's fine. Security can be the most important thing. But it's not our job to run the business. It's our job to facilitate business safely. You know, it's not our show. And I think not having I think I'd lost sight of that self study. And I think it's very easy to think of security as, as an all encompassing thing. And that's super important. And that's one thing I mentor, a group of kind of career changes. And that's one thing I always try and enforced to them is it's super important to just remember that it's very rare that you're going to be in the position where you get to call the shots like it's it's not security space to do that.
Pj Metz 34:50
That idea of security being about saying yes, and I think that's a really fresh way of looking at it. It's security really is about making sure that The right people, tools, actors, whatever, have access when they need it. And it's not about blocking everyone out, because then we could just pour concrete walls over things and be like, that's great. But yeah, it very Yeah, good, good security is about letting the right people in not just keeping the bad people out. That's fantastically your company. sounds dope.
Sarah Guthals 35:26
I think that's a good point, too. Because it's, it's like, the idea of like, I feel like I would trust a security team thinking more of trying to say yes, because it's the idea of being able to eventually prevent things that you're not expecting. Right. So. So it's kind of like going with the assumption. Like, I've always liked, okay, I've always hated when I worked with other developers, and they wanted to go with the assumption that people were going to use the technology correctly. Right. And so and so I always approached it, because my mom, you know, just retired from teaching, and she was the, the most technologically advanced teacher on her school site. And no, I love her but no, like. And so, you know, I would always approach things from that perspective, like, you have to understand that there are entire ecosystems, these employees who literally don't understand how email works, literally say, you know, my passwords not working, because they're using their email password to unlock their Facebook, like, you know, and and, and so I would always try to approach technology as like, how do you make sure that people can't do the wrong thing? And I don't and it's not the can't it's like, how do we assume that they're going to try to do the wrong thing? And then we protect them from that. Right. And it sounds like that's more of what your company is thinking about? Like, how do we assume anything can happen and still ensure protection? You know, beyond that?
Regina Bluman 36:56
Yeah, it's, have you seen that? The video of I think it's a tick tock of a UX designer, and kind of watching someone put the the holes, the, like, wooden
Pj Metz 37:10
scrapes, and they're like, Yes, that's right. Where
Regina Bluman 37:14
it's yeah, it's exactly like that, like, you can just not you can put best effort into designing something properly, but people will do what they've always done, and they what they know how to do. And if they're allowed to do it, they'll do it. And there's a really big, I mean, there's a huge trade off between trust and security, right. So it's, you don't want to alienate people too much by saying, Look, we don't trust you, at some point, if you've hired them, if they have a job, you have to trust them. But at the same time, you know, there are people who are corrupt, there are people who will, you know, who can be tempted to sell something from a company or whatever. And so it's always this balance. And, you know, you won't always get it, right, like, some things will happen, and some things will go wrong. But I think at the end of the day business, you know, that's a risk that the business has to take, and if they want things to be done, and if they want productivity, you know, something has to be sacrificed. In an ideal world, everyone would be, you know, on air gapped devices, and no one would have access to anything. And wouldn't that be nice from a security perspective, then we're out of a job. Like, that's not what we're here, for. We're here to facilitate people doing their job safely and securely, and we're there to keep people safe, we're there to keep the company safe. We're not there to just shut people down and say, No, you can't do what you want to do. Because if you stop people from using tools that they want, if you stop people from using platforms that they want, they'll leave and they'll go somewhere else. And you know that that can't be our fault. We can't not attract top talent because your security team is unreasonable.
Sarah Guthals 38:54
Or they'll like, they'll they'll they'll find a way around it not because they're trying to be malicious, but because it's a part of their job. And they're like, Well, I don't have to do this, I'm gonna have to do it on my personal computer. Now, all of a sudden, you can't track anything is they're doing it on a personal computer, because
Regina Bluman 39:10
people will find a way to do what they want to do
Pj Metz 39:12
exactly what Billy Joel was right? It's a matter of trust. For those of you don't know, that's a Billy Joel song. We're gonna take a quick, quick break. And we're going to be right back after this word from our sponsors. i If you're hearing my voice, that means you've been listening to or watching eight bits with Brandon MPJ. And we're here to talk to you about your product and how it can help you in your life by to do whatever your product does. So if you're an avid listener of the show, or you watch us on Twitch, then you will know that your product your product is right for you.
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Sarah Guthals 40:29
I can't believe that that's copyright free and I want it on everything now.
Pj Metz 40:35
I double triple checked it because like, it's some of the Ren and Stimpy background music is also like Spongebob background music. But like not all SpongeBob music is copyright free. But those are just like things from like the 40s that the Ren and Stimpy team found and we're like, oh, we'll just use this in the background. I love it. I love it. Speaking of copyright, free background music segue. Read, we've been talking about security, we've been talking about letting the right person in. And we've been talking about switching careers and how skills in the past have come to now what is a challenge of of that switch? And what is something that you felt you had to like, overcome that maybe you didn't expect while you were changing.
Regina Bluman 41:25
And so I think a big challenge was around trying to get people to, like we were talking about earlier trying to get people to kind of appreciate those transferable skills. And so a lot of especially kind of automated screening software kind of looks at my CV and like, right, she's head of marketing. So that's a no. And it was just that I never even kind of got the chance to make my argument. And you know, there's a million things that we can say about the the annoyances and the perils of automated screening. But I know from an HR perspective, you know, they can be overwhelmed with applications and you know, something's got to give. But that was a really big struggle. For me, it was kind of trying to trying to get people to buy into that idea of just because I didn't have a traditional background, it didn't matter. I couldn't, it didn't mean I couldn't do the job. And self doubt was a huge thing as well, I have like, the idea that I felt like I had so much to learn and so much catching up to do. And I still do the amount of things that people talk about the history of cybersecurity, and people who are really big in the scene in the 80s. And like I wasn't, I wasn't born, like I didn't know anything about it. And I, I have this constant battle between kind of trying to feel like I have to catch up on on everything. And then just focusing on where I want to go and what I want to do next. And part of it is like, Am I missing out on something? What if there is an area that I really would like that I don't know about yet, part of it, I worry that there's gaps in my knowledge, and so I'm not. So for example, you know, I work for a software company, we have a huge development team. I'm not great with software development, because I've never done it before. And so that's a huge gap in my in my skill set is the whole dev SEC ops thing. It's not something that I've been on this side of before. I've been on either side before. And so the self doubt of maybe I don't know enough to do this may be I need to study more. And I spent years studying before I made the leap across. And I still have that now where I think you know, I need to learn this or I need to learn more about this before I'm comfortable doing this project or before I'm comfortable telling someone what to do I need to go and read this entire book on networking. And it's just, I think I'll always have that. And part of it's a healthy thing. And I think part of it is good. But it was a huge hurdle. Before I started applying for jobs and similar you said, you know, EJ that it was it was this, like I didn't really think I could do it. It was an interest, but I didn't really know that I could do it. So that was a huge, a huge battle as well. I think
Sarah Guthals 44:22
I you know, I it's so funny because I come from I got my bachelor's, master's and PhD in computer science. The reason I stayed was because by the time I was done with my bachelor's, I felt like I did still didn't know anything. And I was like, I got this opportunity because I was already working with a professor whose research area was in computer science education to stay and I was like, great. Now I can learn what I don't know. Right? And during grad school, I started a company teaching kids how to code and again I loved that side of it right? My whole dissertation was always around? How do you incorporate novices not just teach them semantics. And when I applied for my first full time job, like, that wasn't my own startup. I was told by the recruiter, I don't have the right skill set to be an engineering manager at GitHub. And luckily, I was eight months pregnant, needing a full time job and said, I'm no, you're wrong, I need this. Here's exactly why being a PhD student was a skill set that's similar to being an engineering manager, having the startup these are the things that I did to, you know, and I had that confidence, because I was pregnant, like, let's not have confidence in myself, it was like, I need health insurance, I need this job, you're going to give it to me. And luckily, she like passed on my resume to the hiring manager, who was like, Oh, I definitely see how these skills transfer. Um, but like, I feel you so much rich, because I have this more traditional background, and like, you know, doctor in front of my name, whatever, whatever. I don't know anything. Like, That's literally how I feel like, every single time I enter into a room of people, I'm like, I haven't I don't know anything about security, like, at all, you could tell me anything. And I'm like, please, because I know nothing. You know, I barely know about web development, right? Because all the things that I worked on, were more client based applications and, and educational applications. And so, you know, I've, I've been lucky enough to find dev role and kind of I can, I can learn anything fairly quickly. But I, my skill is being able to know enough to help the other person get what they need out of my teaching, right? Like, that's where I feel like I have skill. So anyways, all I wanted to say was, I feel you because as someone with that more traditional background, I'm 100% right there with you. There's no way I could possibly know everything in tech, and every single time I consider doing a job switch, I purchase and download a bunch of textbooks to my Kindle.
Pj Metz 47:14
Yeah, that's right. It can be such a motivating factor, you know, it can be really good to, to feel to know where your gaps are. Because first off, knowing where your gap in skill, your skill and knowledge gaps are, is such an important part of learning that we don't accurately teach in the education system. We don't teach kids to recognize when they don't know, and how, what the next step is. So recognizing those gaps is huge. Both of you are already like, well, I need to learn and so you set out to try and learn it. And that's exactly what should be done. So it can be motivating. But it is very, very difficult. At the same time, in emotional labor, you're constantly having to feel like you should be there. I just learned the other day, people around me had been saying, Oh, we're talking about shifting left today. Oh, we got to shift left and make sure we're shifting. And I would just get like, totally left ship, for sure, man. And I think I was at an education conference. And my manager was talking to someone said, you know, we're shifting left, we're making security more of a focus at the beginning and outlawed and when is that what that means? And she was like,
Sarah Guthals 48:27
yeah, and then I never heard it before. Just saying
Pj Metz 48:30
it's brand new. Right? And it's like, it's about making security a focus earlier in the development process. Don't build the app, make it work, and then go. And now how do we make it secure? make security a part of it? While you're building? Right?
Sarah Guthals 48:43
Yeah, that's my philosophy with inclusion on on technology, you do
Pj Metz 48:48
not build a product? And then say, Now, how do we include others? Nope. Yeah. At the beginning, at the beginning, um, but that that's, it's so exciting to, to have that knowledge of where you're lacking and to be able to use it to get better. But absolutely, it is difficult and it takes labor, real emotional labor to get through that.
Sarah Guthals 49:13
Or to decide I don't need to know this, because we're not all going to know everything in tech. So to decide, you know, what, I am good at this part. And I, I can learn that. And I might want to, like you said, Read you like I might want to explore something because maybe I like it more. But if I decide, You know what, I never need to know how to do that. Yeah, so okay.
Regina Bluman 49:37
Yeah, I, I have a mentor who I work with. And she has been fantastic for kind of keeping me on track because every time I speak to him, like, Oh, I just got a book on this. Or I spent a load of money on a coding course and she's like, so why are you doing coding course? Like, because I might need to know one day. Like, no, you don't need to know. So I hate like I'm horrible at codeine, I know this is a target audience, but I hate codeine. I tried so, so many times to learn, I have spent a lot of money on boot camps. And I am not a coder. And she, it's so nice to have someone to kind of bounce that off of and say, Look, these are my career goals. This is where I want to go. Do you think this is valuable for me to learn or not? And she's like, nope, drop it. Don't learn that learn this instead. And that has been so nice to have, because otherwise, I would just like, you know, I've got a million textbooks, which I've probably never even opened half of them, just because I think I need to know them one day.
Sarah Guthals 50:41
Yeah, I learned. I didn't like to code all day. Like, I could not be in a job where I only coded all day every day. It's just, like monotonous for me. Yeah. And I love making stuff. I love writing code, but for very specific purposes. And that's why I love, you know, Dev Rel in general, because it's, you know, you can you can find the motivation behind it. But I'm with you.
Pj Metz 51:08
Yeah, if I had to actually build real apps, I don't know that I could do it. And that's why I only build Twitter bots over and over and over and over and over again, to go there.
Sarah Guthals 51:16
I do think we could all do it. We could. But I don't think the motivations there. Like,
Pj Metz 51:22
I think that's important, right? Yeah. Like why you're doing something is just as important as what you're doing. And if it's for the money, and that's enough to sustain your motivation. Totally fine. Do it for the money. If it's because you're super passionate about building the best Knucks j s like app, do it whatever it is that works for you. Your motivation is very important. Yep. Yeah. Absolutely. Read you are you were talking earlier about how like, you were like, Oh, I was doubting myself. And I couldn't get that first step out of marketing into it. Because there was a lot of like, well, that's not transferable. Once you got there, you found there was a lot transferable. And now you're a huge advocate for it. You did point to me, you were like, sort of like you, I honestly, I feel like I am more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt, based on a few things. One, I'm a dude. Like, I get an automatic benefit of doubt, too. I'm really like, loud and like, I don't let people not take notice of me. And I think that those things came together. And I think there's opportunities that come my way that don't come everyone's way. And so that's why I always feel strange saying I could do it. So can you because I recognize that there's an immense amount of privilege that came my way. Like, yes, there was opportunity, and I did work but like, I don't feel qualified to say things like, Oh, I did it and so can you I'd rather say things like here's exactly what I did. Here's what I know and I hope this can help but I it's it's it's terrible the sort of the way that a lot of women and and people of color and minorities in Tech have a extra almost target on their shoulders, especially if they're really visible online about it. Yeah, I'm, I'm fairly insulated on Twitter. I follow a lot of people with the same ideas and love and care. But I know that it's a warzone out there. Can you speak to that experience, or I feel unqualified to speak to that experience, but I felt like I wanted to bring it up if that's okay.
Regina Bluman 53:34
Yeah, of course. I say various, you know, yes, I'm a woman so I'm slightly more inconvenience, possibly. But I'm English speaking as my first language. I'm white. I'm straight. I have long you know, blonde hair. I'm like, able bodied. I'm not diverse, like I am, you know, I'm not that kind of token diversity hire. But for the security industry, I still am. And I'm incredibly fortunate that my network on Twitter, that's how I found my job. So I didn't to be very clear, I wasn't offered a job on Twitter, I was sent up. So basically, how I kind of made the move is I was in I was head of marketing. So I headed up a department for big MSP. They restructured and I didn't like the way that they restructured I thought it was bad for the business. And so I kind of made my argument and said, Look, I would do it differently, and they didn't listen to me. So I went alright, I'm gonna go because I don't want to be over a department that is running away I don't agree with and so I handed my notice in and I started interviewing elsewhere. And I just was like, my heart is not like I've talked about moving into security for long enough. Everyone hates interviewing. So if I'm going to be interviewing, like screw it, I'm just going to do it. So I handed my notice and without any job to go to in the middle of COVID. It just started and like, why not, I'll just change careers as well. And so I put something out on Twitter and said, Look, I've had my notice, and I'm looking to move into security. But I've been active on Twitter for a few years, I had a good network on there. And I had loads of people send me links to, you know, to jobs and stuff like that. And that was part of the reason. You know, as soon as I saw that, you were looking, I was like, great people have done that for me. So of course, I will do that as often as I can for other people. But I had a had a few messages, had a guy messaged me and said, Look, we're hiring for this role, we think you'd be great for it. We're looking, you know, we're open to people from non traditional backgrounds, we're looking for someone who kind of has additional experience beyond just traditional security. And I went through the full interview process, like it wasn't like, Oh, you've been hired because you're a Twitter person. But I had messages from people going, oh, you know, you only got the job, because you're diversity, how you got the job, because you're visible on Twitter. And you've taken a job from someone. And the thing is, it is very hard for people to break into security. And there are people who are more qualified than me on paper. And they are looking for jobs, and they are struggling to find jobs. And that is absolutely true. But that doesn't mean that I don't deserve the job that I got, I went through the same interview process that everyone else did. I had to sell myself, I had to sell my skills I had to I had to do the same thing that everyone else did. I do deserve it. But it doesn't mean that other people don't deserve it.
Sarah Guthals 56:30
But what is even more qualified on paper mean, like, I mean, because some of the skills that you have aren't probably on paper. And yeah. You know, maybe they didn't even get the interview, which is a shame, but we can't have every job interview everyone, right. So it's like, I just I always like to push back on, like, what's on paper. That's why I talk about having a PhD not to rub it in people's faces. But to just be like, That is a thing that's on paper, that gives me privilege, for sure. But that does not mean that I am more qualified than then people for every job or every job in tech or whatever.
Regina Bluman 57:10
Yeah, yeah, you're you're so right. Like, every job has different requirements. And every you know, every business is looking for different people. There are some people who, you know, buy the book, and that's the so you know, look at regulated industries at a bank, they need people who have absolutely no tolerance for any variation on security controls at all. They need someone who has lived and breathed security for their whole lives. And that is all they do. Like that, that works for them. And they are more qualified than me to have that job. Where I am works for me, and it's a good fit. For me, it's a good fit for the business, hopefully.
Pj Metz 57:48
And it was for seems to be going well, for you to be honest. Yeah,
Regina Bluman 57:52
I they, I love it. And it just it was one of those things where it was like
I think I am incredibly, like I said, I was incredibly fortunate to have the network that I do have online. And I try again, the group of, of kind of cross skilled people that that I work with, it's something I try and say to them is it's not the only way to break into the industry, it doesn't mean that because I was active on Twitter, you have to be active on Twitter. And that's the way to do it. It doesn't mean that you have to be a LinkedIn thought leader. And that's the way to do it. Like different things work for different people. Thank you. And, yeah, it's just it's very different. Depending and I know, it's, I know, it's very easy for me to say from the comfort of my job and comfort of my home, it's easy for me to say the right thing will come along because other people have more desperate needs than than I did at the time. I was in an incredibly fortunate position where I could have my notice and without something to go to. In the UK, we don't have at will employment. So we have contracts. So I had a three month notice period, I knew I can even if I freelanced for three months, you know, I knew I, by the end of three months, I knew I would land on my feet. But if I had kids, if I had a mortgage to pay, you know, if I had all of these things, there's no way I would have had the confidence to do that. There's no way I would have had the freedom to do that. And so what has worked for me, definitely isn't going to work for everyone. So yeah, I don't want to say that, you know, because I've because I've done it like you said PJ because I've done it everyone can do it. But find a way because there is a way it's just not a cookie cutter approach.
Pj Metz 59:42
And normally we end the show it's asking you to give some advice but you went ahead knock that out of the park without us even asking a wrench. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on and being a part of this podcast. You are an absolute absolute absolutely amazing person. Dr. Gubbels thank you for jumping in and chat with you
Regina Bluman 1:00:06
read and good. Thanks for having me.
Pj Metz 1:00:09
Absolutely. And we will catch everyone else next time on eight bits.