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Summary: Boulder

By Rich

Well, I did it. I survived over 6 months of weekly travel (the reason I haven’t been writing much). Even the one where the client was worried I was going to collapse due to flu in the conference room, and the two trips that started with me vomiting at home the morning I had to head to the airport.

Yup. Twice.

But for every challenge, there is a reward, and I am enjoying mine right now. No, not the financial benefits (actually those don’t suck either), but I ‘won’ a month without travel back in my home town of Boulder.

I am sure I have written about Boulder before. I moved here when I was 18 and stayed for 15+ years, until I met my wife and moved to Phoenix (to be closer to family because kids). Phoenix isn’t bad, but Boulder is home (I grew up in Jersey but the skiing and rock climbing there are marginal).

My goal for this month is to NOT TRAVEL, spend time with the family, and work at a relaxed pace. So far, so good. Heavy travel is hard on kids, especially young kids, and they are really enjoying knowing that when I walk out the door for ‘work’ and hop on my bicycle, I will be back at the end of the day.

Boulder has changed since I left in 2006, but I suspect I have changed more. Three kids will do that to you. But after I ignore the massive real estate prices, proliferation of snooty restaurants, and increase in number of sports cars (still outnumbered by Subarus), it’s hard to complain about my home town doing so well. One unexpected change is the massive proliferation of startups and the resulting tech communities.

I lived and worked here during the dot com boom, and while Boulder did okay, what I see now is a whole new level. I can’t walk into a coffee shop or lunch spot without overhearing discussions on the merits of various Jenkins plugins or improving metrics for online marketing campaigns. The offices that stood vacant after the loss of Access Graphics are now full of… well… people 10-15 years younger than me.

For an outdoor athlete with a penchant for entrepreneurship, it’s hard to find someplace better to take a month-long ‘vacation’. As I hit local meetups (including speaking at the AWS meetup on the 22nd) I am loving engaging with a supportive tech community. Which isn’t a comment on the security community, but a recognition that sometimes it is extremely valuable to engage with a group of innovation-embracing technical professionals who aren’t getting their (personal) asses kicked by criminal and government hackers by the minute.

I have always thought security professionals need to spend time outside our community. One of the ways I staved off burnout in emergency services was to have friends who weren’t cops and paramedics – I learned to compartmentalize that part of my life.

If you can, check out a local DevOps or AWS meetup. It’s fun, motivating, and they have better swag.

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