The Challenges of Learning Something New

The last six months have been very interesting as I’ve grappled with some ambitious goals and learning some very new skills.  Around October of last year I decided to give online training a try and what a ride it has been.  I’ve had good technical skills for quite a while and I’ve been a professional trainer.  I had already written a couple of technical courses and been involved with the development of online training materials.  So, how hard could it be?  The answer was that it could be very hard indeed.  (At least for me)

The first set of challenges were with figuring out audio and video recording equipment, lighting, video editing software, and stuff like that.  Fortunately, those are still largely technical skills, so while it was frustrating, I was still able to learn the basics and get started.  In the last 6 months I have written and recorded two online courses.  I put them on at Udemy and had grand visions of how they would go on to be successful.  I was sharing something I enjoyed and I tried very hard to teach some very good materials.  The reality was that it isn’t enough to just put a good product out there.  I actually needed to learn how to market this stuff too!  Now things started getting difficult.

This is me trying to write marketing copy

Ah the world of online marketing.  It sounds so simple when I read people’s write ups on it.  You put together a blog, prepare a product, setup a mailing list, lead magnets and then let everyone know about it on Reddit, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, yada, yada, yada.  Then your list grows and you have amazing course/product launches.  After banging my head against this a while, I’ve decided that I’m doing things in the wrong order and trying to force things to happen.

Honestly, one of the issues is that I keep trying to restrain myself and sound more “polished” than I actually am.  I’m not an established business with marketing people, money for ads, or any of this other stuff.  I’m a security guy who likes teaching, playing with new stuff, learning new tech and helping other people out.  So screw the polished words, crafty landing pages, and stressing about getting flamed for not being someone else’s idea of an expert.

My immediate plans are to just write, put out useful materials and try to share those materials.  I still will use landing pages and I’d love it if you signed up for my mailing list.   But I really, I just want to write and share somethings I’ve picked up.  So I’m going back to some of my roots for a while and will be playing with some sysadmin stuff.  I’ll talk about the crap I see on pen tests and how easy it would be to avoid some of the stuff we get away with.  I’ll write up tutorials on how to do things.  I’m not going to stress about giving away stuff that is or will be in some class I that I do.

So what does that mean for you?  Well, here are some ideas that I’ve been kicking around for posts.  Maybe some of these will sound interesting to you.

  • Examining mobile applications for hard coded keys
  • Bash on Windows 10 (I’m really curious about this one!)
  • Scanning for unprotected services on IPv6
  • Some tutorials on FreeBSD 10.3 (I <3 BSD)
  • The balance between being confident in your abilities and the need to stay humble

Those are few that come to mind right now.  I hope they are interesting to you and that you’ll be back.  If you are interested in my online training, you can check it out at  If you’d like a free PDF on how to prepare to give a talk at a tech conference (and join my mailing list), you can download Speaking Out here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be talking to you later.

– Jason