[CrackMonkey] Allies, Enemies, Traitors, Weapons, and Hostages.

Nick Moffitt nick at zork.net
Thu Jan 25 11:52:29 PST 2001

----- Forwarded message from glen mccready <gkm at petting-zoo.net> -----
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <nev at sleepycat.com>
Forwarded-by: Gene Spafford <spaf at cerias.purdue.edu>

Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 21:11:10 -0600
From: An Anonymous Security Consultant

After 10 years as a cryptography/security consultant, I recently
crossed over the line, and became a "security architect" for a
startup.  It seemed a good idea at the time, until one day, when I saw
in my inbox an "invitation" to a series of offsite management training
sessions.  Oh, _good_: 8.5 hours locked in a room with an HR-type and
an urn full of bad coffee, singing the company song, coloring inside
the lines, practicing the bland, meaning- less smiles...   I'll just
catch up with everything else on Tuesday, right?

So, inevitably, in the middle of listening to the usual noise about
how to empower our subordinates (half of us in the room counted
ourselves lucky not to _have_ subor- dinates, but I digress), we
flinched as the the HR-type whipped out the dreaded Meyers-Briggs
test.  Yes, even though all of us had taken this personality test more
than once before, in similar self-improvement death- marches, and even
though we all could classify each other as ESTP or INTJ on sight, and
even though we all knew...  Well, we had to take it again, and we had
to have our long-familiar "scores" explained to us again, and we all
were very upbeat about it, because after all, this _was_ a
self-_improvement_ deathmarch, and not a deathmarch of some other

During this mess, I reflected on my own seat-of-the-pants
classification of personality-types, honed and refined during my
decade of teaching crypto-101 to brokerage sysadmins:

I mainly use two orthogonal axes to classify people.

First,  everyone is either an Ally, or is not an Ally.
Second, everyone is either an Enemy, or not.

So, we can group people (coworkers, customers, investors, etc.) into
four classes, right-off-the-bat, without any insipid HR testing:

    People who are Allies;  People who are Enemies;
    People who are both;    People who are neither.

People who are both Ally and Enemy call themselves "diplomatic," but
of course, they're really just Traitors, or at best just unnecessary
competition.  They should handled as briefly as possible, if you get
my drift.

People who are neither Enemy nor Ally like to pretend that they're
just bystanders, but this point-of-view is wasteful of these persons'
great potential, which must properly be "developed."  So, I further
subdivide this one group into two categories:

    People who can be used as Weapons;
    People who can be used as Hostages.

So, instead of M-B's 16 personality-types, I count five:

    Allies, Enemies, Traitors, Weapons, and Hostages.

This system of personality-analysis is, I submit, at once more
comprehensive and more useful than the feel-good Meyers-Briggs in many
realistic situations, whether you're in a design review, a
maximum-security prison, or even in an all-day meeting with HR.  Well,
OK, that last one isn't strictly a realistic situation.  But you get
my drift.

Thanks for sharing.

----- End forwarded message -----

You are not entitled to your opinions.
	01234567 <- The amazing indent-o-meter!
        ^	    Matt McIrvin: the Nikola Tesla of tab damage.

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