hankrules2011

A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘social media’

“How Do You Solve a Problem Like Facebook?”

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 2, 2021

“How do you solve a problem like Facebook?” Interesting question. Intriguing. Funny, I was talking with my wife about these very issues, & more, just within the past 24 hours. Finally got around to glancing at email just now, this article was the first thing I saw. Obviously it’s a controversial article, topic, issue, etc., and I literally know, have worked with, have former colleagues and friends and hundreds of connections at Facebook so I want to tread a little lightly, but I’ll just say I’ve not really been thrilled with where they’ve been going over the past decade for many reasons. Facebook has great power and can use it how it wishes. A decade ago, people were happily playing Oregon Trails, Angry Birds, talking with friends and relatives about all sorts of stuff (music, reading, travel) you literally never seen anymore because the money is where the hot stuff is and that’s in ticking people off, engaging in flame wars, encouraging the degradation of once rational humans, etc. Not everyone, but it’s been shown that’s more than potential – that’s been fact & much more (don’t have to point just to Haugen. Cambridge Analytics remains a great place to look at the goings-on.) I got off Facebook years ago and was happier than I’d felt in years, because all I ever seemed to do was encounter people who felt their purpose in life was to rip me hard for just about anything. When I publicly intellectually destroyed these bozos every single time, usually within minutes, they resorted to childish name calling and religious threats of eternal damnation. Didn’t need it, walked away. Nicholas Carr is one of several to write some interesting books lately that go further than the surface things I’ve mentioned. One is The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. In fact it was a nonfiction Pulitzer nominee. (Another more recent book of his is The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us.) Don’t have to buy into it, but makes for an interesting read. Facebook has done a lot of good. It’s also done a lot of bad. Sometimes I view it as a metaphorical Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors.

(Movie’s a lot of fun. Seymour isn’t.)

Source: The Mary Sue

I really don’t mean to Facebook bash. Like I said, I know hundreds of good, decent people there and most people I know are still users. But I think it’s good to read pieces you may not always agree with though, just to get other perspectives. So I urge you to think about reading this because it brings up some food for thought. (And don’t misunderstand me. Power, potential, do good, power corrupts, rein in — one of those rare things found in the US that can’t be looked at in a traditional American Calvinist black/white construct. I’m not damning Facebook. Just urging thought, analysis and reflection, at a minimum.) (I mentioned there are a number of books and resources out there these days. You can look many up yourselves, so I’m not going to post a list, but another potentially interesting book is Cathy O’Neil’s Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.)

[This blog post is an expanded and modified version of a small post I made on my LinkedIn page on October 30, 2021.]

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Leaving LinkedIn. Hopefully Some New & Diverse Blog Posts Here…

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 3, 2019

I am coming to the conclusion I may finally terminate my LinkedIn account after 15 years there. There are a number of reasons and it both pains and saddens me, but I see no viable alternative. I’ve worked hard over 15 years to build the largest very high-quality network on the platform, and by most accounts, I did pretty well. I have 19,910 followers at the moment (really wanted to reach 20K very badly), of whom about 55% are senior execs and some 40% C-level execs, and in every industry that exists in over 160 countries, at the highest levels of commerce, government, military, science, etc. But for some reason — and I have my theories — after being a huge ambassador for LI for a decade and a half, they turned on me last year — and I’m a PAYING customer! — and started to arbitrarily and punitively harass and “punish” me for alleged rule violations that tens of millions of people do everyday but on a far worse basis than I ever did, and with the company’s full knowledge and blessing. And for a year, I’ve interacted with these customer service pukes and it’s like talking to a damn brick wall! They refuse to respond to anything I say, assert, allege, ask, to send me to colleagues or supervisors or even their Legal department, to defend their blatant hypocrisy in their absurdly inconsistent enforcement of alleged rules they continually cite, but which are not at all on one document they cite and it’s hidden beneath generic links on the other they cite, so no one could ever find it, and they just robotically intone the same idiot sentence or two repeatedly, regardless of my question, assertion, statement, topic, allegation, etc. It’s like they’re brain dead zombies! I have a lot more to say, but this wasn’t originally going to be my topic, so I’ll end this part. Suffice it to say though that I’ve NEVER been this stonewalled, this ignored, this shit on by any company in the world and I think it speaks very ill of them, especially since they’re lying hypocrites. I expected more from a company such as theirs. If I still had my health, time, energy, strength, stamina and the money I once had before my medical bills decimated it, I would literally sue them — and I would win! I’ve never lost a lawsuit and I’ve sworn to go to my grave with that record intact. I’m confident it wouldn’t be too hard to prove my allegations against them, and despite what their terms say in regards to litigation damage maximums, a good attorney will get around that, and I would be looking for millions….

In any event, I often post links to interesting articles on a variety of topics there, and I often add my own commentary or thoughts or opinion. And sometimes I’ll just write a much longer independent article, again about various topics. Some of my posts don’t get too many views, but many get quite a few, and some get a large number. I posted about the Capital One Hacker a few days ago and got about 650 views. Then I posted about how the DoD has banned military personnel from using CBD, even though it’s federally legal in all 50 states. That one got closer to 2,000 views. Some of my posts have exceeded 15,000, 20,000+ views, but those are rare. And it’s always hard to predict which ones people will find interesting.

The point of all of this rambling that as I take several days to extracate myself from LinkedIn, I may stop posting pieces there and start posting them here. I don’t have a fraction of the followers or readers, but that doesn’t matter. I post on things I find interesting and hope others will too. If they don’t, they don’t. If they do, they’re definitely welcome.

Cheers!

Scott

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Some Blog Site Changes

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 5, 2019

While I’m having a hard time finding the strength, energy, time, etc., to write many blogs, to write any articles, book reviews or much of anything, as well as rare new difficulties doing things I’ve always done and taken for granted my whole life, such as simply reading, playing computer games, watching shows or films, paying bills, walking, swallowing, and well the list is endless. And the time I spend online and using my computers has diminished by a shocking degree, which saddens me. Nonetheless, I am capable of making a few changes here and there, things that aren’t time intensive or brain taxing, such as edit or modify this blog, and make occasional changes at LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Discogs. So I wanted to briefly let you know about a few things I’ve done here.

It may not be apparent that I’ve done anything, which is understandable since I haven’t changed the theme or general layout. That said, I actually HAVE made some changes to the layout, or more precisely, I’ve eliminated some of the sideboard items (Twitter and Instagram feeds), edited my blogroll, added to my right side “Music” category with a few other minor additions or deletions in various sections on the sidebars. I’ve also updated and added some Pages, which are the topical tabs at the top of my blog (“About,” “Contact,” “Favorite Books” and so on). I’ve been trying to modify and lessen my digital footprints for several reasons and dating back to last year and before. Some of the actions I’ve taken have been to delete my Facebook account, the most important of them all. Followed by the termination of two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts, a few others that were somewhat similar, and most recently, and at a painfully slow pace, trying to get away from Google’s clutches! I feel strongly about this and have for a number of years. There are many variables, but ultimately I’ve known for a long time that Facebook’s business model consists entirely of data mining their users’ personal information and using this to attract advertisers or selling it to various highest bidders. They offer no products, make nothing tangible, are essentially useless as a commodity — except for the massive amount of personal data they’ve constantly harvested from every user (and even non-users!) to sell to those willing to pay. And as the world found out, adversarial states are more than willing to pay insane amounts in efforts to destabilize other countries, their governments and organizations such as NATO, the EU, etc. And everyone has jumped on that bandwagon right after that. I’ve stopped using any Chrome or Chromium-based web browsers, terminated my Blogger account, my YouTube account, two Gmail/Google accounts (with one more major one to go), no longer use Google Maps or even its search engine, among other things. There are alternatives to all that don’t involve any known data mining, spying, storing, analyzing, and selling ALL of your personal data, which until recently, was the exact same business model of Facebook’s.

(For those of you with their heads in the sand the past few years and you’re unaware of the dangers posed by Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and sadly Amazon, among others, I encourage you to research this. I’m going to provide you with a few helpful links for those of you who wish to avoid Google as much as possible. Not perfect, a little rough around the edges, some of these, but sometimes you have to sacrifice things like convenience to save and salvage your privacy, etc. For starters, here’s an article on Google and privacy dangers, another on 20 alternative Windows web browsers to help you get away from the major norms, a basic article titled “How to leave Google behind,” and a similar one called “Drop Google” with more links to more Google alternatives that I’ve found pretty helpful.)

OK, the last half of this post was not intended to be the tangent it turned out to be. Just mentioning some changes, start giving a seminar. Sorry.

The main change is this: I belong to literally dozens of various professional associations and organizations for many different reasons. Indeed, I’ve also belonged to a number of other, different ones at various times in the past. And when people see this list of over three dozen active organizations in which I’m a member, most express a great deal of surprise at the variety and diversity of career fields, specific professional categories, and more seen there. So I decided to post these here, with links to each one’s website, preceded by an explanation, of sorts, attempting to provide a partial story that might help make sense of it. And I created this, not as a blog Post, but as a permanent Page as one of the tabs at the top of this blog, beside the ones I mentioned earlier, and others. As it is the newest Page, it’s located on the right end of the row of Pages at the top of the blog and is easily accessible. It’s simply titled “Professional Organizations” and I encourage everyone to check it out as it borders on being truly bizarre. Look at it and you’ll see why!

OK, I’m done. I’m worn out. I promised Gretchen I would go to bed tonight, but I didn’t/haven’t, instead staying up to post something on LinkedIn and to write this. It takes me much longer to do anything these days, especially writing, which is one of the reasons I write so very little now. I started at 12:30 AM and it’s now 4:30 AM. Not going to bed now. And I’ll be very fatigued tomorrow/today, as I am typically every day now and I’ve also been sick for quite awhile, which has really worn me out. As I think I recently mentioned, I stopped blogging a couple of years ago for one year because I went through such an insanely nightmarish year regarding my health. Up til that point, I had accumulated a decent number of followers, many of whom commented and interacted with me. However, in the year since I returned, I’ve only been able to post sporadically and even though I basically still have the same number of followers, even on days I post something, I no longer get virtually any hits, likes or comments. It was discouraging, but I feel I understand why and I don’t blame anyone or hold it against anyone. So this huge amount of time I just spent writing this was likely a complete waste of time energy and resulted in a complete lack of sleep, and virtually no one will see or read this and no one will comment, so I’ve been asking myself Should I Continue when I’m only writing for myself and I think I’ve concluded Yes. I’ve been blogging since 2003, generally enjoy it, and if nothing else, I can treat it as my own public occasional diary for future reference of what I was doing or thinking at a certain point in time. And that’s good enough. So, if anyone sees this, thanks for reading and have a great day. For those of you who do not see this, there’s obviously no need to say anything, so I’ve alerted you all to my new Page. I hope at least one person will eventually see it and find it interesting. Thanks and cheers!

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“Project Dumbphone”

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 26, 2019

I’m sharing an article written/published today about her hopes, intentions, actions and results in going back to “dumb phones,” aka, good old flip phones. I intend to write a piece of my own about the same subject sometime, because I’ve recently done the exact same thing, although I’ve not yet come to any definitive conclusions. Still, this makes for an interesting read, and for those of us who have been getting sick of smart phones owning our damn lives and of being unable to live with constant social media, good old fashioned clamshell flip phones are sounding mighty appealing these days. Here’s the story…

Project Dumbphone

by G.A. Cameron

Feel free to leave comments on the article’s webpage or here.  I’m interested in what people think about this topic…

 

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Visit Some Of My Updated Social Media Sites

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 30, 2018

Hi! I haven’t been blogging as much as I want to, nor have I been as active on some sites like I’d prefer to be, but lately I have been more active on some of my social media and other sites, and I thought I’d let you know about them.

Years ago, I got caught up in the Pinterest craze, created some boards, and pinned quite a few things to my boards. I developed a good number of followers, especially for a couple of my boards, such as my Amazing Men’s Watches board.

Well, for whatever reason, I got tired of it and haven’t been back in a long time. Like four years. 4 years! I was last active on the site in 2014. For some reason, a couple of months ago, it occurred to me to go visit my site, and I suddenly became interested again and started pinning new things to my boards. In fact, I’ve gotten so into it, I’ve created a number of new boards, and I’ve pinned quite a few things to them. And I’ve slowly been getting a few new followers here and there, so that’s been nice. I now have 18 boards with over 2,500 pins! While my watch board remains my most popular, with 368 pins and 524 followers, I’m particularly fond of some of my new boards and have been busy pinning pics, etc, to those especially. Among them are boards entitled Art I Like (262 pins as of today), Favorite TV Shows (58 pins as of today), and Boutique Computers (245 pins as of today). My Sports board has 8 sections with 459 pins. Some other, original, popular boards include Music, Musicians & Bands, Cute Animals, Books Worth Reading, and Places To Visit. So, please come check out my Pinterest boards, and feel free to follow me. Also, if you have a Pinterest site, let me know where I can find it and I’ll check yours out!

Another site I’ve been very active on for the past year and a half is Discogs, the audiophile’s online music site. I’ve bought and sold a number of really great items there, and among the great things about that site is, not only do they have just about every album ever made in their database, with most having copies for sales by people all over the world, but you can get great deals and find out the media and sleeve gradings, join discussion groups, and put your collection on your site for people to see. And one of the cool things about that last bit is Discogs will list the value for your collection, and in Minimum, Median, and Maximum value. I actually just got rid of triple digits of albums, so my collection is actually one of the smaller ones I’ve seen on the site, but I’m still proud of it because I have some good, rare, and valuable items, which is totally cool. Some of my more rare items include a Russian version of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, a Greek Public Enemy album, a Portuguese Depeche Mode album, a rare red vinyl Czech Iron Maiden album, a Chinese Linkin Park CD (which technically does not exist — I had to work hard to find it and get it out of China for a customer, who then didn’t want to pay the bucks for it…), German and Australian editions of Gary Numan’s debut Tubeway Army album, an old French Devo EP, and many more. I currently have 823 albums listed, with a Median value of $6,920.90 and a Maximum value of $11,883.21. You also are rated on your purchases and any sales you make, and it’s strongly recommended to try to maintain a high rating. In fact, they’ll kick you off the site if your rating drops too low. Fortunately, my ratings as both buyer and seller are 100%, so that’s awesome. I’ve worked hard to satisfy everyone I deal with there. The only thing that bugs me is everyone is supposed to provide “feedback” (ratings) for every buyer and seller, but I’ve sold quite a few items on the site and only about a third of my buyers ever bothered giving me feedback, even though most sent me private messages expressing satisfaction. But it looks like I haven’t sold much there, which isn’t the case. I used to have a large listing of items for sale, triple digits, but selling became too time and labor-intensive, and my health has become so bad over the past five months, that I basically shut that down and now I have just five items listed for sale. Still, I’d love it if any of you went to my Discogs site and looked at my profile, as well as my collection. Let me know if you do, and let me know if you have a profile and collection there, so I can go check those out. You can find my Discogs profile here, and my collection here.

I’ve also been fairly active on Goodreads — but not active enough. The site reports 1,467 books on my bookshelf there, with 1,061 read, 207 to be read, and 199 that I’m allegedly currently reading! Now, I’ve always read numerous books simultaneously — I have a system — and I have indeed let it get out of hand, but I’m certainly not in the middle of 199 books at the moment. A number of those books are ones I’ve finished, but haven’t had or made the time to review yet, and hence list them as Read. I’ve got several stacks of print and Kindle books to review. That being said, I probably AM in the middle of over 100 – 120 books right now, with me actively reading about 40-50 on a semi-daily basis. I read a few chapters of one book, switch to another and do the same, and continue on. And I get into phases, so that for several months, I was mostly reading religious, philosophical, and scientific books, other months nearly only sci fi books, other months mostly biographies, but lately it’s been a hodge podge of stuff — a combination of technology, biography, sci fi, business, history, nonfiction, and technical/scientific books that are mostly military in nature (electronic warfare, nuclear, etc.). As you know, I sometimes post some of my book reviews I write here on this blog, but I don’t do that for every book or every review — just some of them. So if you’re interested in my reviews, go check out my Read section (my most recent completed books are Philip Matyszak’s “Sparta: Rise of a Warrior Nation,” John Hernandez’s “How To Become A NFL Sports Agent,” and Joseph Siracusa’s “Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction.”), and if you’re interested in what I’m currently reading, go here (the newest books I’ve started reading are “The Holy Bible” –  ESV version, “The Quran,” “802.11ac,” and “Basic Security Testing With Kali Linux.”), and if you’d like to see what I’ve got lined up, go here (They’re ordered from oldest, chronologically, to most recently added to the list. My most recently added are Thomas Asbridge’s “The Greatest Knight,” Andrea De Martino’s “Introduction to Modern EW Systems,” Will Storr’s “Selfie,” Gordon Colbach’s “Wireless Networking,” Michael Steer’s “Microwave and RF Design,” Mark Richards’ “Fundamentals of Radar Signal Processing.”) and also, feel free to check out my Author’s profile page, and feel free to send me a friend request. Also, if you have a Goodreads’ site, let me know so I can check it out!

I’ve also been active on other sites, only two of which I’ll briefly mention. As some of you may know, over two years ago, Gretchen and I founded a small technology startup, which has gone through changes, difficulties, evolutions, and is currently on hiatus due to my extremely poor health. The name of the company is WireMe Designs, LLC. The original business model is described on the website, but it’s evolved this year to focus more on consulting, and we thus had a new website created early this summer to reflect that. It’d be awesome if you checked it out, and let me know what you think. Greatly appreciated. You can find it at https://wiremedesigns.com. Secondly, if you look back over my blog here, you’ll note I wrote a couple of posts in May about my LinkedIn site and profile, and my experience to date on building my network in both quantity and quality. Well, it’s gone REALLY big since then, and I intend to try to find the time to write a post about it here with updated information. When I last wrote about it, I had expanded my network from a little over 400 people in January to over 3,300 in mid-May, listing 171 “notable” connections, including the CEO of Symantec, the president of Dell, the CTO of the ATF, several major UN connections, the CISO of Nissan, CISO of US Department of Education, CIO of USDA, CFO of Sprint, CISO of IBM, and CISO of The White House.

Well, as I said, my network has seriously EXPLODED since then, and as of this morning, I now have over 11,600 connections and it’s a VERY high-quality network, with 44% of my connections being senior executives, many of them C-level executives. I now have the highest connections at nearly every company in most major civilian industries, nearly a thousand US and international military connections, many of them generals, at the Pentagon, and even on the Joint Chiefs. I also have over 1,600 federal and international government connections at the highest levels, including most agency leaders, intelligence agency executives, the Senate, House, dozens of people at The White House, a dozen directors and above on the National Security Council, connections in so many countries that I have no idea, hundreds of connections at the European Parliament and European Commission, Interpol, NATO, nuclear connections in over 45 countries, numerous ambassadors — foreign and domestic — and about 75 connections at the UN, including several on the UN Security Council, and executives in the Secretary General’s office. It’s truly stunning. It just keeps growing, and as a result, I’ve been offered some mind blowing opportunities in a number of areas. And, as as for recent “notable” connections, I now have over 1,400 listed, among them recently the CLO of Sony, COO of Universal Music Group Nashville, CIO KraftHeinz, CIO of AIG, CIO of Nike, CPO of Shell, CFO of NBC Sports, CPO of the US Navy, CTO of HP, CTO of WebMD, CSO of Fidelity Investments, CTO/CIO of AAA, and the CDO of GE. Simply amazing. So, feel free to check my LinkedIn profile out, send me a connection request with a personal message to let me know who you are and how you found me, and a link to your profile if you have one.

I could keep writing more, but I’m not well and this has taken too long and tired me out, so I need to stop. I hope some of you will check these sites out, as well as others, which you can find on a page located at the top of my blog called Find Me Here… It’s got links to Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as others. You can catch up on me in many ways, even though I haven’t been blogging here very often. Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me here, and for the comments. I appreciate all of you very much, and feel free to remind me to visit your blogs, because I’m bad about that and I admit it. Something I need to work on. I hope everyone is having a good weekend and cheers!

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LinkedIn and my Recent Adventures There, Part II

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 15, 2018

This is the second part in a two-part blog post about LinkedIn and my recent experiences there. You can find Part I here. This section I’ve worked on carefully because if read the wrong way, it could come across as bragging — which is NOT my intention! It’s just that some shocking things have been going on for me there and I wish to share my amazement and astonishment. I’m getting a kick out of this, and it’s been a little surreal, and I want to describe that here. So please don’t think I’m a narcissistic asshole now, because I’m really not. I admit I’m no one special in this post, but I’ve gotten others to buy into me, without lying about a thing, with my redesigned LI profile. Okay, here goes…

 

Part II

 

As I stated previously, I’ve been on LinkedIn probably since their beginning, or at least 13 years. LI usually tells you how long you’ve been connected to someone else, and my oldest connections are 13 or 14 years old. Over time, the number of my connections slowly increased, but they typically fell into two categories. Either they were people I had met in person somewhere, most of whom I sent requests to, most of which were accepted, or more commonly, others have sent me connection requests over the years, often headhunters, recruiters, and HR personnel, as well as others usually in my several fields who somehow happened upon my profile. I’ve usually accepted all requests, because I rarely have an objection – unless the profile has only one or two connections, which I then view as suspicious because why are they targeting me, so I reject those. And over the years, a couple of things have happened to me on LI. One, I’ve been contacted numerous times by recruiters or HR professionals about potential jobs, both contract and permanent, as well as simple inquiries and requests for interviews. This has led to both telephone and in person interviews, which have led to a number of job offers. This is good. This is something you typically want out of LI. The other thing is people often let you know they’re either in the market for a specific type of job or they’re looking for people to hire for a specific job, and the more contacts I’ve gained, the more frequently this has happened. And I’ve been able to put people in touch with companies and the reverse, and I’ve been able to help others in this way, which makes me feel good. I like to help others.

Now many of you know that some eight years ago, I developed extremely serious health problems, forcing me to prematurely “retire” and I was out of the workforce for some time, have really been out of the corporate world ever since. Yet I kept up with my profile in the hopes that one day I would improve enough to begin working again, perhaps as a consultant from home. So my connections continued to slowly increase. And I’ve padded my profile with things I’ve done since, mostly volunteer work, as well as a short-term contract gig or two, but as long as my profile seems to indicate I’ve been somehow active this whole time, that’s the important thing. It’s a strategy one has to develop and hone over time.

Two years ago, I decided to create a new IT startup after much thought, and did so with a partner. It still exists today and I remain somewhat active, but it’s been a struggle due to a variety of factors, most especially my health, as well as some technical and unforeseen financial complications. But I ended up working my ASS off for this, much more than I ever anticipated, coming to regret this decision. So what did I do? Come up with an idea for another startup last year, in a totally different field, in which I’ve worked my ass off for that one too – simultaneously – and while I’ve enjoyed myself to a degree, I’ve also had moments of regret, because my health can’t tolerate this degree of work.

However, I continue to hope that at some point in the next couple of years or so, I’ll be moderately healthy enough to do more serious IT consulting, possibly in networking, more likely in security, and I’d stop the second business and migrate the first one to a different role. With that in mind, I’ve been doing research, taking relevant classes, testing, experimenting, etc., in preparation – even for something that far in advance – while continuing to work in my two dual roles with the two small businesses. You can never be too prepared. So at the beginning of this year, I decided to seriously upgrade my LI profile, make it as appealing as I possibly could, reword some things, take a few things out, add a few things, make myself look as good as I could. Don’t lie. Never lie. But you can make things look pretty good if you know how to present them. During January, I had gotten to the point where I had slowly built up to 444 connections. That’s a nice number by many people’s standards, but I started lusting after the magic “500+” number that goes beside your name once you reach that mark, and I decided to be proactive and pursue reaching that target. And I’d do so by blindly sending out connection requests to strangers in the fields of my background and interests, but even though these would be “blind” requests, they’d actually be targeted intentionally to people with shared backgrounds and/or interests. And I’d do so in volume, making it unrealistic for me to personalize most requests, which I used to do, which some people do, but which most people do not do. You can send a connection request with a personalized message, or you can just click on the “Connect” button, which automatically sends that person a generic, automatically worded announcement that someone, in this case me, wants to connect with you. Most people are used to that and will respond favorably, but some people take offense at the impersonal, generic request and will reject it because it wasn’t personalized. However, I decided that danger was worth the risk because I’d send so many, that sheer statistics would assure me a good number of people would accept my requests and would connect with me. And so this is what I did, almost exclusively.

How did it work out? Oh.My.God. Unbelievable. I sent out quite a few, a good number each day, and within days, I had met and passed the magic 500 number. I was elated. But the connections kept building, which gave me pause to think. And two thoughts occurred to me. I thought since I’m adding connections, why do I have to stop now that I’ve reached my goal of 500? And then I thought, maybe I should aim for more higher up execs, “better quality” connections overall… I had already gotten some impressively high level execs, in the commercial sector, state and federal government, and the military. Some of my new connections were very impressive indeed. But I thought, why not conduct a little experiment? Why not target high level execs – directors, vice presidents and higher, with “C” level execs as my top goal – at a greater rate just to see how many would accept my connection requests and from what types of companies or organizations? How high could I go? And so I began to pursue this. And it turned into a living, breathing entity with a life of its own….

I started getting more and more connections at greater quantity and higher quality than I ever expected. Which inspired me to keep sending out connection requests. Which resulted in more connections. And the more high-level, high quality connections, the more these people wanted to connect with me. And I’ve continued this for nearly four months now, and it’s gone nuclear. The results have been and continue to be staggering. It’s been blowing my mind daily, and for awhile now, I’ve been largely targeting almost exclusively high level, high profile execs and officials with stunning results! And I’ve been receiving connection requests from such people in return. Yesterday, the CFO of Sprint sent me a connection request. The same day, a director from the US Department of State sent me a request. I’ve also been getting job queries. This morning, I’ve received two already, tentative offers for jobs in various fields in various locations. Of course, I’m not ready, not prepared, nor can I move for a job, nor can I work in an office environment – I have to work from home, and I need to be independent to set my own hours. Additionally, I’ve been getting requests from senior level connections to read their white papers, their test results, their scientific data and marketing materials, to analyze them, comment on them, reference them, tell others of them, etc. I’m talking Pentagon stuff!!!

As of this morning, I now had 3,313 connections. (I’ve gotten 220+ in the past day and a half!) I have connections at the highest levels at huge corporations, state governments, the federal government, international governments, think tanks, and organizations around the world. I have senior executive connections at Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, Lyft, Google, Indeed, Visa, Ticketmaster, the NASDAQ, most of the security companies like Symantec, Trend Micro, Malwarebytes, Webroot, Sophos, McAfee and others, with defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, with RAND, with companies like HP, Dell, Cray, IBM, with intelligence agencies like the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, DIA, DISA, NSA, with numerous government agencies like the State Department, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, with the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the US Senate, within the White House itself, with the European Parliament, with the European Commission, and within the United Nations, including the UN Security Council. And these are senior executives.

I also have non-senior executive, but still high-level connections such as IT specialists, network engineers, security specialists, managers, researchers, economists, scientists, etc., at places like Facebook, Amazon, Indeed, PayPal, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Ford, Hertz, Nike, SAP, Motorola, Verizon, Bitdefender, AVG, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, NASA, several national laboratories, CERN, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), IRS, US Marshalls, CIA, HUD, NIST, DEA, the Pentagon, the IMF, Interpol, and many more.

It’s mind blowing.

I’ve been keeping a list of both “C” level executives and some notable people who stand out, mostly for their positions or organizations. You wouldn’t believe this list if you saw it. Of course, you can see my connections any time you want by going to my profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottholstad/. (Feel free to send me a connection request!) Of my 3,313 connections, 1,023 are senior executives (31%) and of those, 434 are “C” level executives, or 42% of my senior executive connections and 13% of my overall connections. Those are staggering numbers for an “average guy” like me! I’m going to list some of these people and positions at the end of this post just so you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s built into a monster storm of epic proportions and it’s self-propagating now. The more high level connections I get, the more high level people want to connect with me. And I’ve been invited to join some excellent professional organizations and I’ve been approved to join others, some of which have high standards to be accepted by them. One is so elite, I’m literally shocked to the core that they approved and accepted me into their organization. I’ll mention it in a minute. I’ve rejoined two professional organizations I belonged to years ago. These are IEEE: The Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers and Usenix: the Advanced Computing Systems Association. New ones that I’ve been approved to join include ACM: the Association for Computing Machinery, ISSA: the Information Systems Security Association, ISACA, another elite security organization, and most mind blowing of all, the AOC: Association of Old Crows. Just what is that, you ask? Well, here is its description: “The Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.” Yeah, I got in. We’re talking VERY high ranking government, research, and military officials. It’s a true honor, but surreal too.

So, my “experiment”/professional networking profile improvement has succeeded beyond my wildest imagination. And it keeps growing daily, many dozens a day. One of my new connections is the Director of Security at the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Another is the CISO of Xerox. Others from this weekend are the CIO of the US Navy, CTO of IBM, Director of IT at the US Senate, COE of Dell, CISO of Dell, a Director at DARPA, the Director of the US Army Targeting Center, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, Global CISO of Carnival Cruise Lines, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the US Department of Homeland Security, a senior VP at Cisco, Chief of Staff at the State Department, an economist with the IMF, the Chief, Executive Support Team at the White House and the CISO, White House. And those are just some from this weekend! IT BLOWS MY MIND! And the connections continue to grow. I don’t know what to make of it, or when it will slow to a trickle and stop, or how I can benefit, if at all, from this phenomenon, but I’m just going to ride it for awhile to see how far things go, how high things go, where it will stop. There isn’t yet an ending to this story or a moral to be learned, that I know of. So, if the end of this post seems somewhat abrupt, forgive me, but I’m virtually speechless at this point. My mind is blown. I’ve been joking with my wife that surely I must now be the most powerful man in America, after Donald Trump. There are others with more connections, and others may have more connections in the commercial sector or the government or the military, but I find it unlikely that there are too many people who have so damn many senior connections in all three sectors like I now do. No, there won’t be too many people with connections in all of these sectors at these levels. So, I must be the most powerful person in America after Donald Trump, right? Well, maybe Bill Gates probably has me beat. LOL! I’m honestly not trying to brag so much as to share my astonishment. Cause this all seemed pretty unlikely at the beginning of the year. I’m certainly joking about being powerful, that’s for sure!

A closing. I started this post a few days ago, and over the weekend I decided to limit sending out very many targeted connection requests without personalized messages. This means I will probably send far fewer, because it’s more time consuming now. But I think that’s okay. I don’t actually NEED to keep adding to my network; I’ve done well enough as is. But this new strategy will likely earn me a higher connection request acceptance percentage, which was already pretty good. (Although, as I mentioned, over the past day and a half, I have over 220 new connections!) But I’ve been interacting to a degree with many of them, which is good. Maybe they’ll remember me down the road and who knows where that could lead? I guess I’ll end this abruptly, as I predicted. I think I’ll attach a list of some of the better known or more significant companies and agencies represented by my contacts, as well as a list of some of the more notable contacts, by title, not name. Again, I do not intend to brag. I’m doing this to share my astonishment, because while I’ve been fortunate enough to have some cool jobs and a decent career or careers, I’m really nobody special, and yet for some reason, these people – or at least some of them – apparently think I’m somebody special, which is the biggest irony of it all.

PS: For those of you who are among my older connections and for those among you whose position I did not list, please do not infer that I do not value you or your connection. Indeed, I do or we wouldn’t have connected. Some of my most valued connections are among my oldest. This blog post was written to describe my initial recent goal, subsequent experiment, the results of such, and sharing astonishment at some of the connections I’ve recently made that, by most people’s standards, I have no business having. So, please do not be insulted if you are an older connection or not singled out; I’m merely concentrating on the most recent ones. Thank you.

 

 

LinkedIn Connections: 3,313

 

Senior Executives:       1,023 (31%)

“C” Level Executives:  434 (13%)

Network Engineers:    147

Developer/Software Engineers:         143

HR/Recruiters:            110

Project/Program Managers:   124

Writers/Editors:          118

Engineers:       220

IT Professionals:         313

Security Professionals:           372

Federal & International Government:            234

 

 

Most Companies Represented:

 

Cisco:                                       115

Malwarebytes:                        84

C Spire:                                    75

Microsoft:                               67

TVA:                                        54

Teklinks:                                  53

Regions Bank/Financial:         45

BBVA Compass:                      40

EPB:                                         35

Dell:                                         31

BCBS:                                      30

 

 

Notables Executives’ Companies

TVA, TekLinks, Shipt, Wendys, Nationwide, BCBS, Kaiser Permanente, Visa, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, Bank of America, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Ticketmaster, Carnival Cruise Lines, Nieman Marcus, Scripps Networks, Authors Guild, Discogs, Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JP Morgan Chase, NASDAQ, USAA, AIG, Time Warner, AT&T, Sprint, Vonage, British Telecom, Plantronics, C Spire, Palo Alto Networks, Godaddy, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, DC Government, State of California, ConocoPhillips, Nissan Americas, Lyft, Xidax, HP, Dell, IBM Watson, Xerox, IBM, Intel, Cisco, VMware, Oracle, Cray, ACM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Malwarebytes, Sophos, Trend Micro, McAfee, Symantec, Webroot, RSA Security, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Mandiant, Rand Corporation, Idaho National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, Association of Old Crows (AOC), US Army, US Army National Military Cemeteries – Arlington National Cemetery, US Army Cyber School, US Army Targeting Center, US Air Force, US Navy, US Pacific Command – US Navy, Missile & Space Intelligence Center, Secret Service, ATF, FBI, DIA, DISA, NSA, DARPA, CERT, US Securities and Exchange Commission, US Department of Commerce, Federal Reserve System, Medicare & Medicaid, USDA, US Department of Education, US Department of Energy, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Veterans Affairs, US Defense Logistics Agency, US Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Senate, US Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, US Department of State, White House Writers Group, White House, HAE (Hungarian Energy & Public Utility Regulatory Authority), European Parliament, Europol, United Nations, International Economic Arbitration Court, United Nations Security Council, International Criminal Court

Other Notable Companies (typically mid-to upper management or IT personnel, etc.)

Facebook, Amazon, eHarmony, eInsurance, OpenTable, Expedia, Indeed, CareerBuilder, CDW, Groupon, PayPal, Citi, Uber, Volkswagen, Ford Motor Company, Hertz, Nike, FedEx, Cigna, BMI, QVC, The Home Depot, WalMart, Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney World, Mayo Clinic, GE Healthcare, Delta Airlines, SAP, Deloitte & Touche, Nokia, Motorola, T-Mobile, Verizon, EarthLink, BitDefender, AVG, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Kerberos International, Honeywell, Tennessee Attorney General, US Attorney General, NASA, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, CERN, Missile Defense Agency, European Space Agency – EC, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), NIST, HUD, IRS, US Marshalls, DEA, CIA, US Marines, Pentagon, Office of the President – White House, Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO) of Iran, European Commission, IMF, Interpol

 

 

Scott’s Most Notable LinkedIn Connections

3,313 Connections

These connections are not in order of “importance,” but in chronological order of when we established a connection, from oldest to most recent.

 

  1. Global IT Manager, Apple
  2. CISO, TVA
  3. CIO, State of Tennessee, TennCare
  4. Director, US Department of Energy
  5. Director, Office of Policy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
  6. Chief of Staff, US Department of Energy
  7. Kevin Mitnick, “The World’s Most Famous Hacker”
  8. VP, Head of Cyber Defense, Visa
  9. VP Cyber Programs, Raytheon
  10. CIO, Secret Service
  11. Chief, DHS Joint Analysis Group D-JAG
  12. Global Sr. VP, Symantec
  13. Chief Federal CyberSecurity Architect, Dell
  14. Deputy Director for Intelligence at US Pacific Command, US Navy
  15. Sr VP & CSO, AT&T
  16. Global CISO, Vonage
  17. Deputy Director, G6, NETCOM, ARCYBER, US Army
  18. Sr Cyber Security Manager, Lockheed Martin
  19. Director of Security, Google
  20. CISO, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
  21. Sr VP, US Public Sector, Cisco
  22. Director of Malware Intelligence, Malwarebytes
  23. Director Cyber, Lockheed Martin
  24. Sr Director, Global Customer Success, Malwarebytes
  25. Head of Global Infrastructure, Microsoft Azure
  26. Sr VP, Americas Partner Sales, Cisco
  27. President, FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Executive Board of Directors
  28. President & CEO, Symantec
  29. Member of Board of Directors, former Microsoft CIO
  30. Director, Systems Engineering, Cisco
  31. VP, Corporate Development & Strategy, Malwarebytes
  32. Director, Global Security, Risk & Compliance Practice, Amazon Web Services
  33. CTO, IBM Watson & IBM Cloud
  34. CISO, US Department of the Interior
  35. Director, Global Pursuit Organization, America’s Data & AI at Microsoft US, Canada & LATAM
  36. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Military Personnel & Quality of Life, US Army
  37. VP Global Physical Security, Oracle
  38. Global Director, Justice & Public Safety Solutions, Oracle
  39. Director of Engineering, Oracle
  40. Chief Enterprise Architect, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  41. Sr Technical Advisor, NSA
  42. CEO, Cray Inc
  43. Special Assistant to the President & Associate White House Staff Secretary at Executive Office of the President
  44. Data Scientist, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  45. Lead Data Scientist, Microsoft
  46. eGov Consultant, United Nations
  47. Managing Director, White House Writers Group, Inc
  48. Information System Security Manager, Northrup Grumman
  49. World Wide Head of Print Communications, HP
  50. VP, Oracle Cloud
  51. Director, Anti-Terrorism & Emergency Management, US Army Europe
  52. Special Investigations Officer, United Nations
  53. Chief of Staff, Director North American Operations, Oracle
  54. Chief, Current Operations Division at White House Communications Agency
  55. Sr Advisor to the CTO, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  56. Foreign Service Officer, US Department of State
  57. Global Network Manager, United Nations
  58. Coordinator of ISIL, Al-Quaida & Taliban Monitoring Team, UN Security Council
  59. HP Fellow & VP
  60. President & CCO, Dell
  61. Director, Fort Worth Regional Office, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  62. Deputy Commandant, National Cryptological School, NSA
  63. Sr Data Scientist, Microsoft
  64. Economist, United Nations
  65. Deputy CIO, Idaho National Lab
  66. Assistant Director, Office of IT, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  67. Sr Ops Analyst, CIA
  68. Director, Advanced Programs & Innovation, Office of Commercial Space, Federal Aviation Commission
  69. CTO, ATF
  70. Head of Tactical Force Unit, United Nations
  71. Director of Operations, White House Communications Agency
  72. Presidential Writer, The White House
  73. Sr Research Fellow Scientist, CERN
  74. Deputy Military Advisor, United Nations
  75. GM, Chief of Staff for CEO, Microsoft
  76. Interim CTO, Microsoft
  77. Data Scientist, Apple
  78. Ambassador At Large – NGO Diplomatic Envoy, United Nations
  79. Director, Apple
  80. Program Manager, US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security
  81. Chief, IT Project Management Office, ATF
  82. Vice President Ops, Apple
  83. Regional Director, Business Development, NASDAQ
  84. Executive VP, CSO, CIO, Malwarebytes
  85. VP Infrastructure Engineering, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  86. VP, Global MSP, Sophos
  87. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, US Department of Energy
  88. SCCM Engineering SME, NASA
  89. eCrime Threat Intel Analyst, Facebook
  90. Sr Information Consultant, European Parliament
  91. Global CISO, Societie Generale International Banking – 2018 Global CISO of the year
  92. CISO & VP, McAfee Labs Operations
  93. VP & Global CISO, Webroot, Inc
  94. Director, RSA Security
  95. Sr Accountable Official for Risk Management, US Department of Homeland Security
  96. Branch Chief, Office of Compliance Inspections & Examinations, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  97. Director Cybersecurity, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  98. Technical Director, CERT
  99. CIO, IT Acquisition Advisory Council
  100. Deputy Commandant, US Army Cyber School
  101. CISO, Nissan Americas
  102. Director of Marketing & Communications, Association of Old Crows (AOC)
  103. Executive VP, Global Defense & Cyber Strategy, AECOM
  104. Director of Global Services & Intelligence, Mandiant
  105. Director of Special Operations, Asymmetric Warfare Intelligence for Complex Operations Ltd (AWICP)
  106. CISO, Lyft
  107. Sr Director of Security, Microsoft
  108. Cybersecurity Data Chief, Federal Reserve System
  109. Vice President Security Research, Trend Micro
  110. VP & CISO, Rackspace
  111. VP Engineering, Symantec
  112. CISO, US Department of Education
  113. CISO, DC Government
  114. Director of Digital Innovation & Solutions, US Department of Homeland Security
  115. CISO, State of California
  116. CIO, USDA
  117. Director of Operations, DISA
  118. Director Systems Engineering, VMware
  119. Director Global Cyber Defense, Johnson Controls
  120. Deputy CIO, US Department of Homeland Security
  121. Global CISO, Carnival Cruise Lines
  122. CEO, Kaspersky Lab
  123. CFO, Sprint
  124. Director of US Army Targeting Center
  125. Chief, Executive Support Team, White House
  126. CISO, Xerox
  127. Director of IT, US Senate
  128. VP, Dell Consumer PC’s
  129. Chief, Cyber Strategy & Policy, USAF
  130. IBM Fellow & CTO, IBM Z at IBM
  131. Chief Data Scientist, Department of Defense
  132. CIO Plans & Programs, US Navy
  133. System Engineering Director, Cisco
  134. Director of Security, US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  135. Chief Scientist & Technology Leader, Cisco
  136. Director Network & Security Engineering, Time Warner
  137. IBM Fellow, VP, CTO Watson, IBM Academy of Technology
  138. Deputy Director NTIS, US Department of Commerce
  139. Secretary General & President of the General Assembly @ World Organization on Economic Digital Monetary & Social Development, United Nations. Supreme Chief Justice & Minister of Foreign Affairs, The International Economic Arbitration Court
  140. Diplomat, Lagos, United Nations
  141. Deputy Assistant Director, Information Technology Branch (ITB), FBI
  142. Policy Advisor, DG CONNECT – Directorate-General Communications, Networks, Content & Technology, European Commission
  143. Future Studies Technology Development & Frequency Management Engineer, European Space Agency, European Commission
  144. Director VA Privacy Service, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  145. Technical Director, IT Operations, US Department of Defense
  146. CISO, IBM
  147. Advisor for Communication & Outreach @ European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission
  148. Deputy Assistant Attorney General & CIO, US Department of Justice
  149. Principal Deputy CIO, Department of Homeland Security
  150. Chief of Staff, US Department of State
  151. Head of Forensic Laboratory, Europol
  152. Director First Responders Group, Department of Homeland Security
  153. Director Chief Threat Communications, Trend Micro
  154. VP & CISO, Dell
  155. CISO ConocoPhillips
  156. Deputy Chief of Staff, DISA
  157. CISO HEA (Hungarian Energy & Public Utility Regulatory Authority) – NATO: Top Secret Clearance
  158. Chief of Staff, US Army National Military Cemeteries/Arlington National Cemetery
  159. CIO Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  160. COO, 10th Panzer Division (Germany)
  161. CISO, Kimberly-Clark
  162. Brigadier General, US Special Forces
  163. Executive Director, Interpol
  164. CTO, Ticketmaster
  165. Head of IT Security, Wendys
  166. CISO, CTO, British Telecom
  167. COO, Joint Forces Headquarters, DoD, Pentagon
  168. CDO, Bank of China
  169. Board Member, Public Policy Executive, Rand Corporation
  170. CISO, Ministere de l’Agricuture, Quebec
  171. CISO, White House

 

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