Episode 124 - The Learning Leader with Allan Alford
Introducing the Cyber Ranch Podcast and Allan Alford!
Allan Alford is currently the Chief Technology Officer/Chief Information Security Officer at TrustMAPP. Allan Alford is a member of the Hacker Valley family and has launched a new show called the Cyber Ranch Podcast. Allan has been a CISO at a number of different companies and has a wealth of knowledge in Cybersecurity. Has about 20 years of Cybersecurity and has a background in product security.
Allan is a tinkerer and a second generation information security practitioner. His father was a systems operator/administrator who specialized in Systems Security, his father brought their first IBM PC into the house while Allan was in middle school. Since that moment, Allan has always been interested in technology and had a group of friends who had the brand new tools of the time like the TI-99, TRS-80, IBM PC and Apple IIe. He and his friends were porting and writing games, hacking and war dialing. Allan’s mother was a school teacher and had house rules about television time, and so with an hour of TV a week Allan’s primary form of entertainment was reading.
In high school Allan took a creative writing class where he found a passion for storytelling and reading novels. Before entering college Allan was confident in his technology skills and decided that studying Humanities would make a greater impact for him. While studying, Allan learned that there were many parallels between the study of humanities and technology. There was a vocabulary, grammar, and structure by which things operated that had a consistent set of rules. Allan learned that the correct application of grammar and vocabulary helped all things work properly.
As the episode progresses, Allan shares while reading books, articles or other word based sources there’s a sort of internal voice that is within his mind that reads the words ‘out loud,’ however once he’s immersed in the book or text that the subvocalization fades and there’s a much more immediate type of onboarding of the information, the non-conscious reading voice. Chris shares that he describes this as the flow of learning. Allan also speaks of lucking into a prime slot on the KTCU college radio station and how he found his groove djing by deconstructing threads of music. He would put together his set by starting with a popular song and tracing it back from influence and inspirations.
Allan also shares his thoughts on the importance of networking - And not all networking starting points being equal. With his success now he tries to create bridges and conversations through his network that promote the exchange of ideas and further conversations for people, Allan is hoping to do the same with his podcast - The Cyber Ranch. Professionally he’s embarking on a new journey as the Chief Technology Officer at TrustMapp and is currently learning how to be a great producer of Security technologies.
Impactful Moments During the Show
0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio!
01:30 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley studio and welcome to the Cyber Ranch podcast
02:30 - Allan’s Professional Adventuring Card
03:00 - Allan’s tinkering background and a second generation info security professional
04:30 - Writing and porting video games as a youth, growing up as a STEM kid
05:35 - Creative writing opening the world to storytelling
06:50 - Going to college already knowing about Computer Science
08:40 - Practices and techniques for learning rapidly and staying sharp
10:30 - Understanding the fields of vocabulary and grammar
11:56 - Conscious reading voice, non-conscious reading voice and flow
14:14 - From reading to producing work that people could consume
16:00 - DJ Deconstruction, how Allan put together a primetime radio set on KTCU
17:00 - Networking without inherited connections
19:20 - How networking works for Allan now
22:20 - Networking misunderstood, the traps of the output side
24:00 - Allan’s 70/30 rule for career advancement
25:30 - CISO and CTO parallels
27:30 - What motivated Allan to start his own cyber security podcast
29:30 - For someone entering the Cybersecurity world from a non-technical background
Connect with Allan on LinkedIn Allan Alford - CISO & CTO - TrustMAPP
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