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Friday Summary: September 16, 2011

It was the idea of a party that got me thinking about it: I loved the 1990’s. It was a great decade – for me at least. I had just graduated college and pretty much everything was new. During that decade I met my wife, got married, got my first place on my own, bought my first house, got my first promotion to CTO, was finally able to buy a car that cost more than a week’s salary, made good money, was best man at four friends’ weddings, started my first company, finally got to travel the US, and made many lasting friendships. The silicon valley was a great place to work back then – it seemed like every week there was some amazing new technology to work on, or an exciting new trend.

This last decade sucked. I closed my first company, nearly lost every penny in the tech crash, had serious doubts about what I wanted to do with my life, was uncertain whether I wanted to stay in technology, suffered health issues, avoided the news every day in case ‘W’ did something else to piss me off, worked with jerks, moved friends out of their foreclosed homes, watched other friends implode, and finally closed my wife’s real estate office. It certainly has not been all bad, but there have been an inordinate number of poop storms. It feels like I have been enduring this depression – the economic one that technically started in 2007 with the real estate collapse – since the 2001 tech collapse. Everything good of the 90s was counterbalanced by the bad of the 2000s. My attitude and optimism took a severe beating.

But things are getting much better – even though some places in Phoenix still look post-apocalyptic. I get to live at home now: no more interstate commute. I no longer work on Monkey Island. In the last 18 months or so, while the work load is staggering, this little business of ours has been growing. And I could not ask for better business partners! Technology is interesting again. I have finally gotten a life/work balance I am comfortable with. I don’t tie my entire sense of self worth to my work any longer. The family is healthy and happy, my wife is embarking on a new career, and it feels like we have turned a corner.

So my wife and I decided it was time to come out of our doldrums and do something fun. As a symbol, we chose to revive our Halloween party – which we used to throw in the Bay Area for 80-100 people. We debated it for a long time – were we really in the mood? It was decided we would do a coming out of the depression party – a 1940s theme to commemorate the last time the US came out of a depression. We’ll arrange the living room like a scene from ‘Casablanca’, throw in some jazz & swing music, and top it off with classic cocktails. I think it should be a good time and I feel strangely optimistic. I doubt any of the three people reading this will be in Phoenix the weekend before Halloween, but if you are, let me know and I’ll scrounge up an invite.

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Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Anonymous, in response to Security Management 2.0: Negotiation.

At a previous company, I would always warn my boss (The CIO) when these sorts of deals were on the table. We had an agreement, if the vendor insisted on talking to him, it was an inconvenience and he would ask for another few percentage points off on the deal. It was awesome. At one point, I’d asked for a 93% discount, the vendor escalated and then missed the call. We ended up with a 98% discount and that included hardware. It was a beautiful thing.

Don’t worry Anonymous, your identity is safe with us.

—Adrian Lane

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