Get IT Started Podcast

Adobe’s Eric Anderson Chats with Den Jones

Hello and welcome to Get it Started, Get it Done, the Banyan Security podcast covering the security industry and beyond. In this episode, our host and Banyan’s Chief Security Officer Den Jones speaks with his old pal, fellow music lover, and former colleague Eric Anderson, who’s Director of Enterprise Security at Adobe.

We hope you enjoy Den’s conversion with Eric Anderson.

View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to Get IT Started, Get IT Done, the Banyan Security podcast covering the security industry and beyond. In this episode, our host and Banyan’s chief security officer, Den Jones, speaks with his old pal, fellow music lover and former colleague, Eric Anderson, who’s director of Enterprise Security at Adobe. We hope you enjoy Den’s conversation with Eric Anderson.

Den Jones:

Okay, welcome, everybody. Uh, we have a great episode today, so Get IT Started, Get IT Done. I’m your host, Den Jones, Banyan’s entry into podcasting, so if we suck at software, maybe we’re gonna be able to fall back on the- the podcasting business. Um, I’ve confidence that we can both, though.

Den Jones:

So, uh, today’s guest, a good old friend of mine, colleague, uh, friend, mentor, someone I’ve maybe mentored a little bit, although he’ll probably tell you during the show some- some [inaudible 00:00:59] and otherwise. Um, Eric Anderson, uh, from Adobe. So, Eric, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Eric Anderson:

All right. Well, thanks for having me. I’m Eric Anderson with, uh, as Den said, with Adobe. I’m, uh, the director of Enterprise Security, uh, been with the company for 27-plus years, so have, uh, a lot of experience across the board and all over the place. And, yeah, and Den and I go way back.

Den Jones:

Awesome, so yeah, let’s talk, uh… so- so let’s talk about way back, do you remember the first time we met and what those circumstances were?

Eric Anderson:

(laughs) Yeah, I do. Yeah, the first time we met was, you and I were both peers on a security team, uh, not a security team, sorry, the infrastructure team within IT, and one of the senior leaders had left. And you stepped in and said, “Hey, I’ll be happy to run that team for ya,” and so you jumped in and kinda took over as the leader, um, and then we started getting to know each from a- from a leader and individual contributor aspect. And we immediately connected on audio, and I think that’s-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… usually the core of most of our conversations since.

Den Jones:

Yeah, and I- I kinda remember that conversation that I had with our VP, and I- I think the way I phrased it was, “I’m happy to do this until you find someone better.” Um-

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

… and, uh, I don’t- I don’t know how long it took, but eventually, eventually, I wasn’t doing it any longer, but I think I- I got involved running- running that team, which was the source codes team. We’ve done some server stuff, yeah, so those-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… there was quite a few things on there. And- and I- I always… I always remember just trying to get everybody into San Jose, we had our engineering event, or- or, like, tech summit, was it?

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, it was the tech summit-

Den Jones:

Like [inaudible 00:02:57]-

Eric Anderson:

… where everybody… yeah, exactly.

Den Jones:

Yeah, and I remem- I remember meeting so many people in person for the first time, who were all new in the team and stuff, and it was- it was pretty… it was pretty cool, but I just- I just remember it being a bit of a drunk fest, to be honest. I- I don’t quite remember, uh, learning much at the tech summit, but it certainly remember most of the evenings, uh, or forgot most of the evenings, I think is more [inaudible 00:03:22]-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, I was gonna say we had a good time in the- in the evenings down there, so it- it does blur together over the years.

Den Jones:

Yeah. And- and, yeah, and so, you- you and I have worked together, I think, three times. But k- keep me honest here, so-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… the first few- the first time was a reorg, uh, when our boss left and I got the opportunity to kind of run the team for a bit. What- what was the second and third time? And I think one of them, you actually made a choice to join the team, so what stupidity did you get there?

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, I don’t- I don’t know what came over me on- on that, but yeah, the first time was the reorg where you volunteered to be the leader. The second time was, you were running… you had moved to service management and you were building an automation team. And-

Den Jones:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… I had reached out… I was looking at a couple- I was looking at changing what I was doing, there was a couple roles I was interested in, and so reached out to you and we talked about the automation, which was a passion of mine at the time. And so- so I joined your team as a driving automation in the service management space. And then the third time was, um, when you had been part- running the Enterprise Security organization, and you had been, uh, promoted up to- to- to run that org and, uh, I came in and kind of, uh, took over from your old role. So, unfortunately, I’ve kinda back filled you twice as things-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… have turned out.

Den Jones:

Yeah, and that- and now- now, your back filling me on this role of Enterprise Security-

Eric Anderson:

Exactly.

Den Jones:

… uh, so I- I apologize for what I left you.

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

Um, could not [inaudible 00:05:04]-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, I’ve cleaned up. I’m good at cleaning stuff up.

Den Jones:

Yeah, I mean I th- I think I… it’s funny, you- you always think… you either think you left something in good shape, or you kinda think, “Well, I never quite got to finish and leave it where I wanted to leave it.” Um, but- but, you know, the reality is- is, uh, you’re- you’re never- you’re never done, really, even- even though this podcast is called Get IT Started, Get IT Done.

Den Jones:

So, yeah, so as- as you’re in this hot seat, what- what does success look like for you and the team? What do- what do you think you’re… what do you think Get it Done looks like for you?

Eric Anderson:

I think it’s- it’s interesting, especially in the security world. You’re never gonna be completely done, but you can certainly make progress and have some milestones to look back on to kind of building a foundation. Like, for instance, you know, a lot of the things we’ll probably talk about as we get deeper into this is, you know, around zero trust, building that platform on a zero trust for creating a- a better security platform, that you can then use that as a base to start building something else on.

Eric Anderson:

So it’s- it’s like, I kinda view it as, security is a program and then you’ve got these projects set up, but you’re continuously advancing the program forward, you’re getting better at what you’re doing. Um, and as we both know, the- the whole security world is changing, it feels like minute by minute.

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

So just keeping up with that alone, um, creates a lot of, uh, a lot of stuff to do.

Den Jones:

Yeah. And you- you know, one thing- one thing for me, you know, us working together, um, I always- I always love it when there’s someone that I can trust, right? So for me, working with you, I just always knew, like, I could trust that you could get it done, like, I was like, “This- this guy gets shit done, we- we agree as a leadership team, the strategy,” and then each of the leaders that worked in the team, we’d go off and come up with the- the tactics and the project and all the things in order to- to get that strategy accomplished.

Den Jones:

And, you know, I was- I was always very proud of what we’d done as an organization. I mean I think- I think the Enterprise Security team at Adobe is- has a kick-ass team, it’s just-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… it was a good team, it was a fun team. Um, and it is funny because I- I met your boss recently at RSA and he complimented on how good the team was.

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

And, um, I- and I wondered, like, maybe you gave him $20-

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

… but then- then I realized, I’m like, “No, no, we just- we had a kick-ass team.”

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

Um, and- and-

Eric Anderson:

And I don’t know, we- we still do. It’s, like, you know, what- what was built when- when that org was formed, that- that- that you- you set up and- and, you know, we- we’re continuing and take it, you know, forward, and we’re adding to the team, we’re taking on additional roles and projects and- and improving it. But the culture of it hasn’t changed, you know, everybody’s-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… having a good time, everybody’s, you know, we trust each other, and which I agree with you, that’s- that’s probably the most important thing, is having that trust and all of us then aligned on, you know, the- our prime directive is to do the right thing. Uh, you know-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… it’s really to… it’s- it’s easy to move forward when you’re operating on- in that frame of mind.

Den Jones:

You know, and- and our industry is a results driven industry, right? So, you know, one of the things I really enjoyed with us was, you know, we’d create- we’d create wins on a regular basis. I- you know, for me personally, running an organization where you might have, like, eight teams or five teams, but every, single month, there’s something that one of the teams is delivering on that you get to brag about.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

And the team feel [inaudible 00:08:40] by it, right? So… and- and I- I just always thought that enables me to have a good excuse to have a happy hour, or maybe do a team building event, um, and we- we’d done some great team building events over the years. I w- I was thinking, reflecting back, especially during COVID when you weren’t able to do any of those things, right?

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

Um, everything from, we don’t know, the scavenger hunt round in Seattle, so share wh- explain to everybody, what was that scavenger hunt-

Eric Anderson:

Oh, right. So, the scavenger hunt, we happened to do and off-site in Seattle, where I- where I’m from, here. Um, and we caught in on a beautiful three days, like, we have the days, it’s 80 degrees out, beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. And there is a, uh, a company called The Electric Boat Company down on the lake that is in the, um, it’s in Lake Union with a view of the Space Needle and the Adobe office building is on one end of it. And so, we took a couple electric boats out, which I think of a whopping four knots or something, so they’re slow but lots of beverages and, um, food on them.

Eric Anderson:

You break into two boats and they give you, um, a scavenger hunt to identify things around the lake, you know, like a bridge and the date it was built, or finding a- a house and take a picture of it, of one of the house boats. And so, it’s kinda fun, a great competition and we’re on walkie talkies, heckling each other back and forth, and, uh… but it was a- it was a really fun event, um, and I think the weather made it pretty awesome, being out on the water in- in amazing weather.

Den Jones:

The weather was good. Now, I’m just sitting here thinking, I have- I’m gonna go… I have a picture of that.

Eric Anderson:

Oh, you do.

Den Jones:

But let me- let me see, um, uh, ’cause, like, I stumble on these, um… and it’s funny ’cause… so, we had that, um, we also, January, we also went, we’d done… the first week back after break, we’d go to, um, m- to Utah and we’d go Park City, right?

Eric Anderson:

Right.

Den Jones:

So, that, for me, that- that was the fun one, uh, and- and- and f… the way I liked this was, each of the leaders in the team w- were in different locations-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… so, like, s- [inaudible 00:10:56] is a Seattle, Ottawa and- and Lehigh. And then we’d arrange- we’d arrange these things, you know, we’d- we’d say, “Okay, we’re gonna do the off site,” and- and whoever city we went to, they had to plan the off site, and- and the team building event. So everyone was trying to one-up each other. Um, so yeah, I’ve almost- I’ve almost got to where this picture is.

Den Jones:

But it was- it was cool, because we- we’d done snowmobiles. I think that was the very last team building event we’d done and we ended up doing snowmobiles, which I think was just brilliant, you know.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, that [inaudible 00:11:32]-

Den Jones:

So here [inaudible 00:11:33]-

Eric Anderson:

… that was one of the most fun we had. Oh, yeah. Look at that, that [inaudible 00:11:37].

Den Jones:

There we go, you’re being [inaudible 00:11:39], ’cause- ’cause what you didn’t reveal is, you were one of the captains of the aforementioned boats.

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

So, um, yes, so we’ve got you with your captain’s hat on, and we’re all out there with the beverages. I do see bottles of wine. We had, um, [inaudible 00:11:55] and Todd on our boat, and that was our team.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah [inaudible 00:12:00]. I just remember we won, that’s all I remember.

Den Jones:

Okay, I’m gonna go with that, since you and I are the only ones bloody here, we won, so-

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

… anyone- anyone needs to check that shit-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… we- we… now- now-

Eric Anderson:

That’s right.

Den Jones:

… you said this. We co- we connected a lot over the years just on music. We have both this huge passion, so why don’t you share, like, what- what- what is your music journey, and what is it that you get excited about music-wise?

Eric Anderson:

Um, my music journey has more been, I- I- I would claim that I have zero creative talent in music. I’ve got big, big, chubby hands that can’t play guitar, no matter how many times I’ve tried, I can’t play a keyboard, ’cause I can’t spread my fingers out. So I’ve- I’ve just settled in on being- on loving to listen to music. Um, I consider myself somewhat of a- of a- a tempted audio file, I’m trying to chase- chase the best sound in recordings and the like.

Eric Anderson:

Um, but yeah, ever since I was… even back in high school and junior high, I was the guy that was always bringing new music in, ’cause I’d come to Seattle… I grew up eastern Washington, which was about a year behind everybody else in what- what- what was playing on the radio, so I’d come to Seattle to visit my grandparents, bring my tape deck and a box of tapes, and I’d record the radio and come back and then be the guy bringing different music. So I was the one that was running all the dances and all the stuff around- around schools.

Eric Anderson:

Um, and then when I came to Seattle for college, I fell into radio. So I- I was working at some of the local radio stations doing producing- being a producer, um, the one that people probably would remember, especially if they’re from this area, was I worked at a station called KXRX in the late 80s and 90s, which was a rock station, um, that broke a lot of bands. And then I was in the original crew that started, uh, The End, which was 107.7 here in Seattle and bands that you may know like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, we were the station that- that played all them the first time, and got to spend a lot of time hanging out with- with- with everybody in the scene at that time when Seattle was what I was.

Eric Anderson:

Um, unfortunately, I was the guy that was listening to all the music where- where you’re from, Den. I was- I was more into the- the bands like The Soup Dragons and The Charlatans UK, and all these kind of synth kind of rock bands coming out of the UK compared to all the grunge scene going on here. Um-

Den Jones:

That’s funny, you get- you get to hang out with all the grunge people, but you’re listening to much of their stuff, ’cause you’re like-

Eric Anderson:

No-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

No.

Den Jones:

I’m into The Charlatans right now. (laughs)

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

Me and the- me and the Happy Mondays.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, The Farm- The Farm too, that’s right.

Den Jones:

The Farm, yeah. I actually- I have vinyl, uh, The Farm 12 inch of vinyl, of- of one of their tunes. Um, I think it’s, like, All Together Now, I think that’s the- the big-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… one that they had. Um, now, talking about vinyl, I do have, hidden between me and the speaker, a vinyl, maybe just there if you can see it. Do- do you recognize that vinyl?

Eric Anderson:

Is that maybe something I may have, uh, bequeathed to you somewhere along the way?

Den Jones:

No, I- I- I’ve [inaudible 00:15:24]-

Eric Anderson:

You don’t have to go through all the- the stocks of Erasure albums I sent you?

Den Jones:

Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s the thing is, you- you, uh, sent me a whole bunch of stuff, and then I also, like, have other people that’ll give me vinyl over the years, ’cause they’re like, “I don’t have a record player.” Um-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… no, that’s a David Bowie album that I got [inaudible 00:15:42]-

Eric Anderson:

Oh, I s- I did see that earlier, yeah.

Den Jones:

… months ago, yeah-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

Um, and behind it is the other one with a triangle cutout or the start cutout, or whatever. Um, ’cause- ’cause it’s really funny because, um, I have a little bit more musical talent than you. If you say you’ve got none, I’ve got a little bit, but clearly, not enough because I’m still working, doing IT and security and stuff, so I’m not a famous pop star. Um, but I- I got into… like, I- I… uh, people always thought I was a DJ, which is kinda bullshit, ’cause I’d done wedding discos and stuff when I was about 14, but I was never really a DJ, not a club DJ, although now, I have all the decks, like, I’ve got some really nice gear and I’ve- I collect vinyl. I just sold my CD collection, actually.

Eric Anderson:

Oh, good for you.

Den Jones:

I took it to [Streetlight 00:16:36] and gave them 1500 CDs. Yeah, so 1500 CDs, and I got back in return, uh, a gift certificate for their store. ‘Cause I said to them, like, uh, “Don’t give me money, just give me store credit, because I know-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… you’re gonna give me more credit than you would money, right?” So I just instantly turned 1500 CDs into something like 40 vinyl. (laughs)

Eric Anderson:

Yeah. It’s [inaudible 00:16:59]- I did the same thing about a month ago, it’s… I- it- it wasn’t 50, it was about 300 CDs and it translated to about five or six vinyl albums, but-

Den Jones:

Yeah. No, we’ve got… so, in our family, so your- your son, he’s- he’s also fallen in the footsteps of the love for music, so why don’t you share with people who he is-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, so-

Den Jones:

… and what he’s doing?

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, so my son, Cooper, is, uh, he’s a, uh, um, hiphop rap- or- or hiphop beat producer, and he’s been pretty successful at it. Uh, for those interested, you could find him at his- his, um, his hiphop name is- is- is Contraband, so you can find him @prodcontraband, so as- so Producer Contraband. Um, and he’s done, you know, he’s- he’s 21, s- doing that kinda full-time, and he’s, you know, I’m super proud of him, he’s been very s… he- very successful in my eyes, probably in his eyes, he’s- he’s just starting out, but he’s been luck enough to have a few songs charted all over the world and he’s been able to, uh, use that to get him some fun gear and- and keep him going forward for now as he’s finding his way into, how does the music career turn into something that he can do full-time, you know, in the real world.

Eric Anderson:

And I think, as both of us know, being in and out of the music business, it’s, uh, it’s a major rollercoaster, so you gotta ride… you gotta get up when it’s going up and then figure out how you, uh, hang onto that on the downs.

Den Jones:

Yeah. And it’s- it- it’s true. I mean, you know, for me, just seeing that he gets to do it and that’s his full-time gig, and he’s- he’s enjoying it and he’s being paid for it. I mean, I-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… I think a lot of people don’t realize, like, getting paid to actually write music, um, is- is sometimes a hard- a hard thing to figure out, because you got so many uns- uns- unscrupulous people out in the music business that- that they… eh, and- and, uh, listeners that don’t wanna pay for music-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… so, even the streaming services, they don’t really exactly pay much, which is why a lot of bands ends- end up doing many expensive gigs and concerts. You know, the price of a ticket has gone through the roof now, just to go see a band because that’s their main income stream for a lot of these artists, you know, so it’s- it’s pretty- pretty crap, yeah. Eh, and, you know, and- and- my- my son, he’s, you know, he’s being getting into DJing a little bit, he’s getting into producing, he’s playing the saxophone. My daughter’s got a guitar, which every now and again, she’ll pick up, but I don’t think she’s got that same love that- that- that I have or- or maybe my son’s gonna have. Um, but yeah.

Eric Anderson:

But maybe be a costume designer for a band along the way or something with her love of fashion.

Den Jones:

Yeah. She- that’s one thing, you know, Katie’s got a big fashion thing going on, and s- art- art’s a big thing for her, and so she wants to be involved in the- the arts in some way, so, you know, we’ll see. We’ll see how that plays out. A- a lot of- a lot of people that go to LA, you know, they begin their- their art- artist career waiting tables, so, you know-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… I’m trying to make she’s at least good at that, you know, something to fall back on.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, the fashion business is probably just as vicious as the music business, and you know, you just-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… you gotta be [inaudible 00:20:20].

Den Jones:

Now, here’s- here’s a g… um, so, work wise, how do you explain what you do to people like your parents or other people that are maybe not in the IT or security space?

Eric Anderson:

Usually, I- I, you know, I talk about… my- my first seed is, I tell them I run a cyber security team, you know, and just- and see if they decide to ask a further question. A lot of the times, that’s good enough for them and they just kinda move on, right. Um, but if they do start digging into it, the way I usually explain it is, “Our job is to protect the employees,” and so, I- I- I’ll- I’ll talk about, you know, “Imagine you’re at your job and you’re logging into stuff and you’re putting in your password, you’re doing multifactor or, you know, you’re looking up things, or- and your device, making sure it’s protected with- with m- malware on it.”

Eric Anderson:

That’s where our team really- that’s our bread and butter, is making sure, um, employees are protected from the devices and the- and the- and the- and the tools they’re using, and making sure we’re also then protecting the- the data for Adobe, that- that they’re accessing and they’re sure that’s got the protections around it. So it’s really, you know, it’s making sure employees are- are- are safe in what they’re doing internally.

Den Jones:

Oh, awesome. And then, um, when- when you think of, like, one of the career learnings that you’ve had, what- what would you say is advice to young, aspiring people in the industry that- that they’re trying to figure out the best way for them to stand out in their career?

Eric Anderson:

I think th- the… one of the biggest things for me has been, always be curious and never put yourself, you know, paint yourself in a corner, so to speak, ’cause I- I- I see it quite often, where- where- where people feel tied to a certain technology or a certain area, or they wanna… they- they- they have this vi- this kind of tunnel vision, that this is what they think it should be, and having that open mind of being curious, again, asking questions and, you know, I know it sounds cliché, but kind of thinking outside the box. It opens up all kinds of doors that you can discover ways to- to find something you’re passionate about.

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

And I think, you know, I look at both you and I, you know, we didn’t start in security, you know. And- and my years at Adobe, I’ve done everything from, um, being on the phone, supporting customers directly, to writing code, to service management and automation, and now into security. And all those little bits and pieces are like building blocks that give me a unique perspective, that if I had planned it out, I- I woulda never have planned it turn out this way, ’cause I don’t think it-

Den Jones:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… it would’ve occurred to me back then.

Den Jones:

Yeah, it- it- it’s funny, I was… so I- I’d just had lunch with an ex colleague from Adobe, and our- our conversation was on about her career and where does sh- she go? And it’s like, yeah. I- I always felt like, where do I wanna be in five years? But quite often, you don’t know where you wanna be in five years. You- you kind of… I mean, I- I had a decent thought in my head, probably about 10 years ago, like, I wanna be a CSO somewhere. Like, I knew that, that- I wanted to run my own security team, and- and- and that has plan on what I do as- as I go into retirement.

Den Jones:

So I was always thinking about that, and I was- I was saying to her, “It’s like, you know, you don’t… if- if you don’t really know, then the next best thing is, you can look at other leaders around you or other people around you that are doing jobs that you’re kinda interested in.” Um, and I always remember, um, Joy, [inaudible 00:24:15] chief of staff in Adobe, when- when she was there, and, you know, eh, she’d done a really good job of running a program team. You know, the operations, business operations and… but- but really, what she was, was, she was grooming, you know, being groomed and- and grooming herself for the role of a CIO.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

And- and that’s the role she’s now gone, and I- I think it’s- it’s- it’s- it’s good when you see leaders around you that… and I can, uh, with- with- with Raji, I said, “That’s how you should, you know, think of that as an example because, eh, we don’t always know.” And as you say, you know, you and I, we didn’t start off in security, or I didn’t think of identity as a security-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… gauge. Now, I think of identity as a frontline of security, really. Um, but in 1996, I was a novel guy, doing stuff about servers and identities and networking with IBM four meg token rings and shit like that, and there was no way in the world, all I wanted to do was say, “I wanna be an engineer.”

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

[inaudible 00:25:23] as a technician, that- and I could only see the next step up, I wanna be an engineer. And- and I think, you know, we’ve been really fortunate. I mean, certainly, like in Adobe, you know, last to be able to move around and see other opportunities, and… but I think the one theme behind it is you- you and I, we’re the kinda people that would not- would not- would not shy away from stuff and we’re happy to take on harder things that a lot of people would sometimes run away from. But- but then ultimately, we’re always, always looking to find out how can we help and how can we do more?

Den Jones:

And I- I think that’s one of the themes for me, is like, you know, you know, you have- you have been blessed, because in the end, people wanna work with smart people that get shit done. I mean, I kinda look at it like that.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

Um, well [inaudible 00:26:13]-

Eric Anderson:

[inaudible 00:26:14] kinda used to it, that kind of is the running th- theme through all that as well, is doing the right thing on top of it all, because, you know, if something’s hard but it’s the right thing to do and you can see wh- where it’s gonna go, it- it’s easy to get behind it and put passion into it and, you know, build a- build enthusiasm around it. And so, you know-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… and recognizing that along the way and making sure, you know, we’re- we’re, um, recognizing folks that are doing great work and encouraging and doing those kind of things, you know, kinda those soft skills that I think sometimes fall away.

Den Jones:

Yeah, uh, it is funny ’cause, you know, for… I’ve- I’ve always been the world’s worst, and- and you know this, because you- you- you… you have- you have known me for a long time as I tried to be a good- good manager, right? And- and wh- one of my struggles has always been recognizing… like, I’m always good at, “Let’s do a happy hour, let’s do a team build and let’s do a social event,” but at the end of it, I say, “No, thank you very much for doing blah,” never my strong point. I was very quick and I- I- I’m always very quick to go, “Oh, that could’ve (laughs) been better,” or, “I’d like that done yesterday,” um-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… but then, at the end of it, you know, you kinda need to sit back and say, “Well, wait a minute, we are kicking ass and taking names,” and, you know, recognize people for the right behaviors, I think is- is really good advice.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

Um-

Eric Anderson:

That is a hard thing to learn, too, because especially like you and I are that are very focused on getting shit done, you always focus on, “All right, we’ve done this,” and we’re very quick to move on to the next, or you’ve got four-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… of them going at once, and so taking that pause is always- always hard to remember to do it, because- ’cause we’re so focused on keeping going.

Den Jones:

Yeah. Yeah, and it’s- it, uh, you know it as well. You get paid, really, to think about the future of the company and- and drive the future fast and, you know, forward fast. And- and at the end of it, people like you and I, we line things up, we may not even have told anybody, but you know, by the time you finished your thing, I’ve got three other (laughs) things ready for you. So-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… yeah, and it’s not always- it’s not always there. Now, wh- wh- we… we’ve joined each other many times for dinners and drinks and stuff, so we’re- we’re celebrating that success, the getting it done business, what’s your favorite drink?

Eric Anderson:

Oh, my favorite drink, you’re setting me up ’cause you know what it is. Um, my [inaudible 00:28:39]-

Den Jones:

I know what it is, but I don’t think the audience of [inaudible 00:28:41] my mother doesn’t know.

Eric Anderson:

My go-to drink is always a Mai Tai. And- and- and-

Den Jones:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… and the reason why I do that is be… number one, I love a good Mai Tai, but it tells me what kinda bar we’re in, because if I- I’m a- I’m kind of a purist on the Mai Tai front, where it’s, you know, it’s the good old fashioned, original Trader Vic’s version that’s, like, four ingredients. If I go to a bar and they pour me one of those, I know they understand cocktails. But if I go to another one and they pour me the slushy drink with a umbrella in a piña colada glass, then I know what kinda ma-

Den Jones:

(laughs)

Eric Anderson:

… a bar I’m in for that, too, so I could- I- I-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… I know which- which direction to go after that.

Den Jones:

I- I remember we’d done a bocce ball team building event in Los Gatos a while back, and then afterwards, we went out for a nice, fancy dinner, but we went to the bar next door, and I remember you got a Mai Tai and it was in, like, one of those old ceramic tiki cups and all that kinda shit.

Eric Anderson:

[inaudible 00:29:46]. Yeah, [inaudible 00:29:47]-

Den Jones:

I don’t remember if you liked it or not, I just remember that- that was-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

[inaudible 00:29:51]-

Eric Anderson:

But then I’ll go the other way, too, because you and I could probably… I don’t- you know, the other thing I love is a really good dive bar, so the- the- the- the divier, the better-

Den Jones:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… and, uh, um, I- I have learned, over the la- over the years, I- I should probably not bring my coworkers to a bar like that if they’re not used to it.

Den Jones:

We, uh, we- we remember a Vegas trip where-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… I think at one point, I suggested to you, and your- your cousin, Casey, was there, ’cause he- he loves to sing karaoke and stuff and he’s a good singer. And I remember, we went off the strip, found this really divey dive bar-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… and I can’t remember all the factions of people that were there, but certainly, the Adobe multicultural, uh, crowd were not fitting very well, and se- several of them suggested we should leave, and they were feeling a bit- bit scared. (laughs)

Eric Anderson:

Yeah. Yeah. (laughs)

Den Jones:

So, that was- that- [inaudible 00:30:49]-

Eric Anderson:

But that was a good lesson learned, you know, let’s- let’s just make sure with- with- with… if we’re doing a work event, let’s not go someplace that could be considered a little sketchy or divey.

Den Jones:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. When you’re doing- yeah, work events, the diviest dive bar’s probably not the bar you wanna take your- your coworkers-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… to.

Eric Anderson:

Exactly.

Den Jones:

I mean, I didn’t- I didn’t feel threatened in any way, but you know, when- when two or three of the people you’re with come up to you and you’re, like, the- the leader of the- the m- the most- you know, the- the- the, um, the highest up on the pecking order, I guess, and you kinda feel some responsibility to not have anyone killed that night, you know-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah. Yeah.

Den Jones:

… you feel it- I don’t think that was gonna happen, but you know, when people feel uncomfortable, you- you kinda want to [inaudible 00:31:30]-

Eric Anderson:

Absolutely, yeah.

Den Jones:

… a dodge, you know.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

Now, as- as we wrap things up, um, I’d say one takeaway for the listeners [inaudible 00:31:39] so… what- what would be one thing, one piece of advice, that if you wanna the audience to take away either from our conversation or just in general, what would that be?

Eric Anderson:

Um, I think if we’re gonna, you know, kinda bringing it back to kinda business and- and work and getting things done, is… and I’ll kind of tie it back into the jour- the story you and I both know really about us and our zero trust journey is, you need to start somewhere and don’t think you need to come up with a full solution-

Den Jones:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… in order to- to move forward. You know, we all get caught up in that oil in the ocean syndrome, and you just kinda freeze. So- so start with the little things, come up with a couple small, little things you can- accomplishments you can get done, um, and- and- and just go, and start doing it, then build upon your- your successes. Um, and I know it sounds basic, but it’s… I- I’ve seen it time and time again, and- and you know, we- we experience it, you know, I’m still going through some of it today, where it’s like, everybody wants to have this big, fancy-

Den Jones:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… final product in place when it’s like, you know, we could probably do some really great stuff if we really kinda dial it back into manageable chunks, and- and so, you know, the piece I would push back on that within too, is challenge your leaders on that. You know, so come back in, don’t be afraid to challenge it, f- if- if we built this environment of trust and respect and doing the right thing, I look to everybody to, you know, call bullshit on me, and-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… and let [inaudible 00:33:13] figure it out.

Den Jones:

Yeah. It- it- it’s, you know, one thing I used to always say is, you know, is- is what we’ve done gonna leave us better off than we were yesterday?

Eric Anderson:

Exactly.

Den Jones:

So, you- you know, perfection’s the- the arch enemy of completion, right? So the- the reality is, and- and I have never seen a perfect project, like-

Eric Anderson:

Mm-mm (negative).

Den Jones:

… I’ve never- never left any project thinking, “Well, that was perfect.”

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

I mean along the ways, there’s trials and tribulations and you’re- you’re in the trench together, really, so yeah, I just- I’d just, you know, like to see incremental progress, but ideally, a good pace. Um-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… and- and park, you know, park feedback, if you think that feedback can hold until you’ve done that next launch, and then you can entertain it, you know. So, yeah.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah. Well, and- and I think the parking the feedback is interesting too, because if you’ve built that trust with your team, when you do tell them that, they’ll go, “All right, I’ll trust you this round and we’ll see it when you come back to it and you revisit it,” and the- and that actually feeds in and builds the trust.

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

I think- [inaudible 00:34:18]-

Den Jones:

And I- I remember, funny, when I got- when I got to Cisco, um, Josefina, who I know of, that you’ve- you’ve, I think, had some level of interaction with-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… um, I- I- I said to her, you know, “Lead- lead this effort and a couple of bits of advice,” and- and one of them was, “You don’t need to listen to anybody.” (laughs) “Just lead the team and get version one out the door, and any bit of feedback, you’re welcome to entertain it and fold it in if you- if you think that’s what makes sense, but- but don’t fold it in, eh, the- the, you know, the cost of delivering this thing quick.”

Eric Anderson:

Right.

Den Jones:

I said, “Because you can improve this thing once you deliver version one, but you’ll never del- deliver version one if all you’re doing’s getting caught up in answering people’s questions and responding to their feedback, so-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… you gotta kinda be really thoughtful about that balance.”

Eric Anderson:

What I think was a good lesson to be learned, uh, especially in the startup world, and- and with that philosophy, maybe at the time when we were doing it, we weren’t thinking startup, but I know now, in your experience, you probably see more of it. But just minimal viable product-

Den Jones:

Yeah.

Eric Anderson:

… get something that you can start building on, and- and-

Den Jones:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric Anderson:

… it’s not gonna be perfect and nobody expects it to be.

Den Jones:

Yeah. But we- we were- we were pretty blessed, ’cause we ran our team, in- in Adobe, especially, kinda like a startup. You know, we were-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

… we weren’t exactly asking a lot of permission, (laughs) and we were running forward really fast in all- all fronts. So for me, that- that was great, ’cause we didn’t have a lot of bureaucracy, um, when we were doing Enterprise Security team.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

So, Eric, thank you very much, appreciate your time, great catching up. Um, ideally, next time, it’ll be in person with dinner and drinks in hand and, uh, shoot the shit over- over probably- probably a Mai Tai for you, but more likely a beer for me.

Eric Anderson:

Yeah.

Den Jones:

And I’m a simple [inaudible 00:36:13]-

Eric Anderson:

I’m fine with that too. That- th- that’s fine. Yeah. Yeah, unless-

Den Jones:

Yeah, I’m a simple [inaudible 00:36:17]-

Eric Anderson:

… you wanna- unless you wanna do a Mai Tai challenge or anything, see what you can come up with, but…

Den Jones:

Hmm, no, no, no, I’d- I’d be fine just for the beer. (laughs)

Eric Anderson:

Yeah. Well, thanks very much-

Den Jones:

[inaudible 00:36:25].

Eric Anderson:

… I had a lot of fun. (laughs)

Den Jones:

Always fun, always great to see what kinda new, fancy background you’re gonna do, ’cause every- every time we’re on a video call, you just have another little bit of gear there, and, you know, the acoustic stuff was- is different. I think over to the left, you’ve got your shelves and stuff, so, I don’t know, but I always see there’s something always new to look at.

Eric Anderson:

[inaudible 00:36:48]-

Den Jones:

I’m just thinking of kinda stepping up my- my gear buying habit [inaudible 00:36:52]-

Eric Anderson:

Yeah, the towels are gone now, so that means you’re actually touching the gear, so that’s cool.

Den Jones:

No, I- I take the- I take the towels off, really, when I record the podcast, or when I touch the gear-

Eric Anderson:

(laughs)

Den Jones:

… so otherwise, people just think I’ve got surfboards. (laughs)

Eric Anderson:

I know, exactly. I always have to remember, “Wait, Den doesn’t surf. Those are keyboard with- with-

Den Jones:

Yeah-

Eric Anderson:

… colorful towels.”

Den Jones:

… Den does not… I do not surf, I am not- this is not the body of a surfer. So yeah-

Eric Anderson:

[inaudible 00:37:15].

Den Jones:

… cool, man. Thanks, Eric. Great catching up.

Eric Anderson:

[inaudible 00:37:18].

Den Jones:

Enjoy your weekend.

Eric Anderson:

You too.

Den Jones:

Take it easy, everybody. See you.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening. To learn more about Banyan Security and find future episodes of the podcast, please visit us at Banyansecurity.io. Special thanks to Urban Punks for providing the music for this episode. You can find their track, Summer Silk, and all their music at Urbanpunks.com.

 

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