“You, and Your Research”

I was recently pointed to a great speech entitled “You, and Your Research” given by Richard Hamming of Bell Labs fame. It’s essentially Hamming giving his insight on how to do great work as a scientist. I think it’s relevant for anyone doing infosec research today. Here is my summary, and takeaways. You should read it.

  • Work on important problems.
  • Luck favors the prepared mind.
  • Courage is a characteristic of the successful.
  • Plant acorns to grow oak trees.
  • Follow the greats in your field.
  • Every defect can be looked at as an asset.
  • Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.
  • Keep track of flaws in your theories.
  • Work on problems you’re committed to.
  • Get emotionally involved, otherwise your subconscious goofs off.
  • Reach out to people outside of your field.
  • Pursue opportunity when its presented.
  • Find and know the important problems in your field.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Schedule some dedicated time to make “great thoughts time”
  • Open doors -> more input -> finding the right problems.
  • Zoom out to see the larger problem.
  • You want others to stand on the shoulders of your work.
  • It’s not sufficient to do a job, you have to sell it.
  • Write clearly and well so that people will read it.
  • Learn to give formal talks.
  • Learn to give informal talks.
  • When giving a talk, start slowly and paint a general picture of why its imporant, and give a sketch of what was done.
  • Educate your boss, get other people to ask for what you need.
  • Take advantage of the systems around you to scale yourself.
  • Know thyself & watch thy ego.
  • The appearance of conforming gets you a long way.
  • Don’t spend effort needlessly fighting the system and don’t fool yourself by creating alibis for disappointment.
  • A little extra effort goes a long way with people.

Words to live by.

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