When I was in the 5th grade, we had an assignment to write a story for Halloween. Most people took the whole hour to write one. I ended up writing over 20 different stories. That was the year I caught the bug to be a writer. Several of my classmates wrote a play in that same class that we put on in front of the class. We paired off into teams and wrote commercials and made those for the class. I wrote a science fiction story that was had to be longer than 5 pages. I remember it being one of my favorite times in school.
After college I started working in technology. I was practical and I knew being a writer might not come with health care or a retirement plan. So I went to work for a couple of big companies, then switched gears to work for a couple of small startups. Then a university. I think I found technology interesting because, just like with writing, you have to discover creative solutions to problems. And along the way I kept having ideas for short stories or novels.
Although I kept writing, I never really felt like I could call myself a writer. But that changed when I was promoted to Chief Information Security Officer.
The University wanted to invest in developing young leaders by having them work with a leadership coach. As I worked with my coach, I realized that although leadership is one of the most written about subjects, there weren’t many that were specific to cybersecurity leadership. I had read books like Who Moved My Cheese or One Minute Manager in the past, and those books were incredibly engaging because they took a different approach to teaching: they told a story. People identify with stories. And in cybersecurity, to help change behaviors and effect real transformation, we need to connect with people.
Because technology is sometimes intimidating, I got this idea to make it approachable. There is a saying that you hear sometimes, “just wave your magic wand and make the problem go away.” Okay, nobody really says that out loud, but they imply it. So I came up with the idea to write a kind of business school case study about a magic wand company that gets hacked. They can’t use magic to solve their problems, because the wands are all gone. What they do, I hope, will help real businesses prevent the same thing from happing to them.
About the Author
GEORGE FINNEY, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.