Today marks 3 years since I wrote my first blog.

When I hit the publish button this will be my one hundredth blog post. It's mainly the last one and a half year I started to blog more regularly. This year I've written 73 blogs, from which 31 in October as part of my Cyber Security Awareness Month blog series.

But it's not about quantity, but about quality. Whenever I think something is worth writing about I will do so. It can be anything, but in most cases it will be about information security.

I don't write this blog to toot my own horn but to be able to read it back in a few years and look back and reflect upon what changed in the meantime. I also want to give you some insight in what opportunities can arise from something as simple to set up as a personal blog.

How it started

The last few year's have been quite a journey. It all started with writing a first blog. Inspired by what Troy Hunt does I wanted to create my own public profile.

I decided to start a blog and I created an account on Medium. Like I say in this thread the first time I was pretty nervous to hit the publish button.

When I nowadays write a blog I proofread it just once to remove the most blatant typos and errors. It is certainly not perfect but people appreciate that I'm not a native English speaker and they understand the message I want to convey. That's what matters most.

In the beginning I mainly blogged in Dutch and translated most blogs into English. My Twitter timeline was also a mix of Dutch and English tweets. So I really had no plan or direction. I realized that I had to make a choice, so I decided to tweet and blog in English, because it's the best way to reach a broader audience.

Earlier this year I finally created my own website because I wanted to have my own content on my own website. Medium had introduced a paywall and the organic traffic was negligible. It was the best move I made, and in hindsight I should have done it a lot earlier. It was Daniel Miessler who finally pushed me over the line. In the meantime all blogs are moved to my own website.

What did it bring me?

In these 3 years, but particularly last year, my blogs and Twitter account got a lot more traction and this has been beneficial in several ways.

  • I have improved my knowledge. When I write a blog or a tweet I want to get my facts straight, so I do a lot more research about topics then I would otherwise do. And equally important, I get a lot of ┬ávaluable feedback.
  • My (English) writing skills have improved.
  • It have more confidence now and it has helped me to get a more positive attitude in general.
  • It was often a training in perseverance when I had once again set a challenging goal.
  • I have build an online network of awesome, supportive people AND
  • Even more important, I have met several of them in real life and can call some of them friends now!
  • I've done a few conference talks and podcast together with my mates of The Beerfarmers and recently I did a podcast which is about to be published. I gave my first comments for a newspaper this year and heck I even did an interview for the Belgian television. Honestly I'd never expected to do any of these things because they were far out of my comfort zone. I'm still quite nervous for this kind of events, but I'm glad I finally dare to do this.

What's next

Nothing spectacular. I will just keep writing blogs. I will attend some security conferences next year and try to keep spreading security awareness. I have plans to distribute this content in other ways as well, but the execution will be for next year.

Whilst I'm ambitous, in everything I do I will try to keep the balance and priorities right. My family and own wellbeing are my top priorities and I don't want the Infosec stuff that I do in my free time to be at the expense of that.

The balance is quite ok at the moment, and I want to keep it that way even if that means that I can't do certaing things. You simply can't have everything in life.

Thank you

It makes me very happy that my content is well received and a lot of you read and share my blogs. Thank you very much!

Recently I added the possibility to comment to my blogs. So feel free to interact either on my website or via Twitter!

John Opdenakker

John Opdenakker

Blogger | #Infosec | #AppSec | Security awareness | Occasional Public Speaker | Cycling | Running | Enjoying life