The Cyber Mercenary:
There I was after years of crushing it as a Cyber mercenary, I arrived at the Pentagon as their only Security Architect about 9 years after the unfortunate events of 9/11.
I was nervous about being in such a prestigious and iconic place; I didn’t know what to expect… And as my 1st government job… I didn’t want to disappoint.
Prior to joining the Government, I use to tell people that I was a Cyber mercenary for hire.
I was an independent contractor that worked for the highest bidder…
To most of the companies I worked for, I knew I was only a number. So knowing this, I embraced it and played the same game.
I’d sell my expertise to the highest paying business. And in order to get more money and add more value than everyone else…I had to master my craft and master it fast.
So while most were talking about being the best, wasting their time in social media, playing golf and playing the popularity game with Cyber leaders to get ahead… I’d focus on mastering my craft by taking massive action.
As a Cyber mercenary, I had the pleasure and was fortunate to have worked with some big name companies in the Cyber domain. These were Multimillion-dollar companies, with hundreds of employees and taking on various large-scale DoD projects.
See What Others Don’t:
Since I don’t believe in certifications or degrees because it is built on a flawed system… I taught myself everything I wanted to learn. And since I wanted to be a profitable Cyber mercenary that added the most value than everyone else… I taught myself many things!
Using my Electrical Engineering experience I acquired from attending a trade school… I learned Systems-Thinking. Which allowed me to not only understand the system and problems in front of me… but also like a great chess game… how one action caused other chain reactions with other systems that are linked to the main system in question.
This was and still is extremely fascinating to me… and allowed me to conquer what most deemed impossible.
Being able to think about all the various actions with cause and effect…way before I even made my first move… allowed me to understand how fixing one problem impacted the initial system and all the systems surrounding it.
Needless to say, people got more than they expected when they threw me on a problem.
Overtime, I got really surgical at troubleshooting Cyber problems… and being able to fix, not only the problem that everyone is immediately focused on, but ALSO being able to see other problems in a Cyber world of various interconnected system of systems. And I helped many fix their cyber problems doing it!
Most people thought I was crazy when I presented my BIG wild ideas to fix the problem and all the other problems that they were having…
I use to hear all sorts of negative comments… “Carlos stop trying to cure world hunger…” or “Carlos you dream too big…” or “Carlos we can’t do that…” or “Carlos that’s too hard…” or my favorite “Carlos that’s impossible…”
And I’d always respond with something similar to this “Challenge Accepted!” or “Just Watch Me!”
I got real good at playing Nostradamus and predicting the future for organizations…bad or good…
With this relentless way of living my life, I made goals!
And to most… they were weird big goals at that. I wanted to learn as many of the systems in the Cyber domain as I can until it became easier and easier to solve any problem in the Cyber world.
School of The Hard Knocks:
With this in mind I went out and started acquiring all the positions I focused on as a Cyber mercenary.
I used this process for each Cyber System that I wanted to learn…
Learn as much as I can by reading books, studying the masters of the craft and absorbing the web of information…(never stop learning and listen to all)
Take massive action by doing it myself… (many home labs were built)
Get hired as a Cyber SME and prove my value within the 1st year. (go from 0 to hero in 12 months)
So I would execute those three steps for any new Cyber System I wanted to tackle and the results were amazing!
I had the pleasure of working with some of the smartest people in various Cyber systems in the Cyber world and learned LOTS!
Here are the Cyber Systems that I taught myself and performed as a Cyber professional:
- Cable Technician
- Administrator of anything IT
- System Engineering
- Network Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Storage Engineering
- Data Center Architecture
- Security Engineering
- Enterprise Architecture
- Security Architecture
- Red & Blue Teaming
- Risk Management
- Continuous Monitoring
- Vulnerability Management
- Software Assurance
- Exploit Development
- And others…
And what I call Business Acumen that I used as a Government Employee (GS-13/14/15), Program Manager, Team Lead, Director, Chief and in other various Cyber Leadership positions:
- Marketing & Advertising
- Accounting, Legal and Tax
- Public Speaking
- Process Improvement
- Management & Hiring
Looking at this list of things accomplished… you are probably telling yourself… bullshit! But like I tell most… “Just Watch Me!”.
But be mindful… I have been operating in the Cyber Domain since I was 9 years old and I have not done anything else since then.
I built and programmed my first computer on a bread board and learned how to lay down, terminate and test thicknet in Electronics class when I was 14 years old.
I was also knee deep in computer systems and learned windows 3.1 at age 12… I feel old just thinking about it… so i’m moving on. If you want to learn more about my beginnings then schedule a call and let’s talk about that and how I can help you. 😉
Going back to my initial goals to become the SME within my first 12 months at any place I worked… Allowed me to use my knowledge, skills and abilities to add massive value, help many people, and do some amazing things.
After a while operating in this capacity, I easily got my time down from 12 months to 6 months and today I’m comfortably doing it in one month…
This was my tempo before I arrived at the Pentagon. I was easily making 6 figure salary and was enjoying my time as a Cyber mercenary.
However, I accepted a position as a Government Civilian and took a $20,000.00 dollar pay cut to join…
Arriving at the Pentagon as their only Security Architect… I didn’t know what to expect but I set new goals!
After my first few months, I observed most of the problems, set some goals and began taking massive action.
I set out to have the 1st organization at the Pentagon that focused on Proactive CyberSecurity… I wanted that organization to be built and have some of the most elite Cyber warriors that have ever worked there.
Long story short… it was accomplished!
I was able to develop an organization that was built on the core value of the great Spartan warriors… keep it simple, be the best at what we do, and take no shit from anyone. Why… because “THIS IS SPARTA!”
I designed, hand-built, implemented, staffed and operated 12 unique value-focused proactive Cyber Programs that are still in existence today! A few were award-winning and recognized by other DoD organizations.
I’ve gotten really good and surgical at creating Cyber programs that are value-focused! And I started helping others improve their programs as well and delivered many Solutions.
Fall Back & Regroup
However… overtime… I sat and observed the Cyber domain as a whole… I became angry and bitter at how people were taking advantage of the entire system…
They would rebrand common things and push them as new products…people would chase those “bright new shiny objects” but never have enough focus to fix their own Cyber program using proven basics…
At one point I was at war with an entire community of people that were brained washed to believe one thing but could have solved the problem way faster by simply stop trying to reinvent the wheel… and stick to the basics…
I’d figure out solutions in one month but would take a GROUP of “Cyber leaders/professionals” months and even years to figure the same thing out… which left me puzzled…
I watched many credible large businesses fail at executing Cyber programs…
I watched large multimillion dollar government organizations fail at executing Cyber programs…
And watched many people run around like Cyber was a new concept…
After countless of mindless meetings trying to educate people and leaders about the basics of running an effective Cyber program…I started to think there was no hope… this left me with a bad taste in my mouth and an everlasting question…
So why was it taking groups and groups of Cyber people months and years to fix something that I could fix in days… weeks or months…?
With this question burning a hold through my conscious… I set out on a relentless mission!
My Relentless Mission: Educate the entire Cyber world on how to start & grow proven, proactive and value-focused Cyber programs.
I wanted to use my mentality of perfection and Systems-Thinking to help everyone stand up and operate VALUE-FOCUSED Cyber programs…
So what was the problem…
This is how people operate their Cyber program…
They have people with various skill sets and levels of expertise which are inputted as a variable…
Then those people have various ideas about operating a Cyber programs…. which may or may not be right… because most of those people actually never built one…
Now they have these mixed people which are operating as a variable… with a Cyber program that’s operated as another variable…
And when they can’t achieve the same results as those experts who are crushing it… they wonder why…
Think of a manufacturing program which cranks out the same product over and over again. They cycle new people in all the time and still achieve the same results!
Why… because they hold their manufacturing program at a constant…to get the constant results they want… it doesn’t matter who they hire because the different people that come in know exactly what’s expected of them and how to operate.
So in essence, just like any good scientific experiment, they hold two things constant while introducing one variable at a time.
And this is what I discovered!
Every Cyber program should be at a constant… and the people operating it is a variable… and if you want the same constant results every time… then you need a repeatable proven system which produces the same result… regardless of the variable…
So from a Cyber Mercenary to a Cyber Rebel Leader…
I’m on a relentless mission to educate the entire Cyber world by delivering the Cyber Blueprints, which is the proven-system, that anyone can use to get the same results… regardless of the human variable!
And this is the new age of Cyber Coaching!