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Once some of my hard earned knowledge has internalized, I often feel like its just a collection of parlor tricks and sleight of hand. If other people took a moment to think about it, they'd see through what I'd done and exclaim "That's easy! He just XXX".

Sometimes it makes it hard to contribute back to the community, even though that same community makes my employment possible, because I fear that once they learn my tricks, the magic will be gone and I'll be seen as someone who merely pulled a fast one.

I've decided that this will be the year that I really work on some introspection and posting some of that knowledge. It will either help me get over my fear, or prove that I didn't know that much after all. At least I'll know.

Remember: When the magician shows you how the trick is done, you still go back to that magician for the next trick. The magician is still the expert.


If you know one more trick than everyone else, the best strategy is often to explain all the common tricks to the general public...

Then you are the only magician in town with real magic.


Sharing the secrets behind the parlor tricks can help with this feeling. Some particular technique may feel easy for you, but there could be people out there who haven't discovered it yet, and are stuck on some task.


Yeah, I think that's a big part of it. I remember being stuck on things for a long time, bashing around on google trying to find something, anything that would help me understand it, saying to myself that once I figure it out, I'll certainly do a huge writeup of exactly what I needed to know to ease my pain.

Once I'd figured it out however, it seemed trivial. I must be the world's biggest moron for being stuck on it so long. Real engineers would have it sorted in a few minutes. That's why there was no posting explaining it. I was just in over my head and it was my amateurishness showing. It should have been obvious.

If I write it up, it will just show my ignorance... so goes the pathology.


I get the exact same feeling all the time. After nearly 12 years of Security Penetration Testing I still go on-site thinking, "Shit, do I really know what I'm doing? What about all the cool young kids posting all these wacky papers on technology? What if I miss something? Surely it's not that hard to run a set of scanners and root an insecure box?"

I used to try to contribute to the community but I don't have the time anymore and a lot of the time I'm contributing to people who's employers we're in direct competition with (and we've had said competitors after invite only conferences trying to pass off my research as their own).


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