I spent four years getting to what I would consider the top of Cybersecurity in DC. First I began as a Technical Account Manager (TAM) leading backend support for the first Bank to go all in to the public cloud, Capital One on Amazon Web Services (AWS). During this time I achieved four AWS certifications and another Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity. Stage two I became a Professional Services (ProServ) Senior Security Architect at AWS in DC/Herndon building landing zones and compliance frameworks for the top regulated industries such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Commodities Exchanges like Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group). Finally I arrived as the internal cybersecurity lead for all corporate connected subsidiaries at AWS. In the beginning I rarely got an invite to ReInvent, the largest cloud gathering in Vegas every year. At the end, I went to Virginia Raceway to bump elbows with the CEO of Crowdstrike racing his Super Mercedes. Yet I still left.
Amazon had the greatest corporate culture for me since the Army, better than Microsoft. Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Walmart, you name it. In the end though it became too damn big. I spent one month writing a two-pager to propose a new solution. After spending an hour reviewing it for the nth time, I walked out of the meeting and thought to myself, “If this is how I spend my days I’d rather be digging ditches; at least then I am accomplishing something.” The reality became that we were spending more time planning than actually piloting or producing. Or, “Building” as Amazon is so fond of pitching. In other words, I could have built a prototype solution and we would have spent the same amount or less money while gaining: Experience, a prototype and oodles of data that could guide our future moves. We had a startup culture without startup execution. Time to leave.
So I decided to actually “buidl” as we say in crypto. This popular mashup comes from “hodl” the famous term due to a typo in a Bitcoiners post several years ago. I put in my papers and looked for a Software Engineering Immersive (SEI). The day after my last day a friend and I went to West Virginia to drive Porsches on a racetrack. That night I got a DWI/DUI for exactly the legal limit of .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). This will be the subject of my next post.