July 13, 2022

Treat us like Humans! How Marketers Can Evade the Block Party with Ken Underhill

by Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing

Show Notes

How do marketers get “blocked” by cybersecurity practitioners? We’re making a list with Ken Underhill, CEO of Cyber Life. Along with what NOT to do, we’ll also talk about his awesome career in cyber and his most recent work with his company’s training program, Cyber Life School. Using his years of experience and his reputation as one of the funniest guys in cyber, Ken sheds some light on low-cost educational opportunities for future security practitioners, discusses his new book about crushing your next job interview, and even shares what might be next for Cyber Life’s television show.


Timecoded Guide:

[00:00] Introducing Ken beyond his accolades & reputation

[07:12] Seeing the human side of technology marketing

[13:34] Private InfoSec communities & cyber safe spaces

[20:00] Future guests & technology topics on Cyber Life’s TV show

[23:45] Hacking your next security job interview with expert advice


Can you tell us about your journey in networking and building your brand?

Although Ken has a strong personal brand, he’s completely willing to admit that he took a less traditional route to get there. Focusing less on branding and more on giving back to his community, Ken’s personal brand happened because of his other actions, not because of his focus on personal professional development. Sharing his authentic self with the world on tv, in speaking engagements, or at networking events doesn’t scare Ken, even though he considers himself introverted. It’s instead all about sharing what he’s learned, no matter how small, in cybersecurity, in the other industries he’s been a part of, and in his personal life. 

“Look back a couple of years, or even just six months, right? You were a different person back then. You've learned something since then. Whatever that is, share it.”


What are some ways that cybersecurity marketers or marketing cyber products have fallen short or failed you as a security practitioner?

As a security practitioner, Ken represents the people we market directly towards as cybersecurity marketers. Considering his role in our security audience, we were curious about what he considers the dos and don’ts of cyber marketing. Ken’s biggest cyber product pet peeve actually centers around too much focus on the product itself. If you’re spending all your focus and energy on just considering the technology and not acknowledging the humans you’re marketing towards, Ken believes that you’re just shoving tech down someone’s throat and not making an impact. 

“I think the mistake a lot of people make, especially around technology products or services, is they think it's just technology. You have got to remember that there's a human on the other side there.”


What are some exciting things in the works at Cyber Life?

With his roots in podcasting and content creation, we’re excited to give Ken the spotlight to share his company, Cyber Life, and the amazing work they’re doing. Currently, Cyber Life centers their services around a television show, which Ken loves being a part of because of its combination of podcast-style interviews and Bill Nye-esque learning segments. However, education television isn’t the only thing Cyber Life is doing these days. Considering Ken’s low income upbringing and his passion for educational programming, Cyber Life School exists alongside Cyber Life to democratize cybersecurity education and offer free training for security practitioners, regardless of their stage in the industry.

“At Cyber Life School, we've democratized cybersecurity education. Everything's the ‘pay what you can’ model. If you grew up like me and have no money, you can still afford to go there, because it's free. If you want to pay, you can pay, if you want to pay at a discount and support us, you can do so.”


Can you tell us about the book you co-authored, Hack the Cybersecurity Interview?

Alongside television, education, and security, Ken has most recently dipped his toes in the water as a writer. Co-authoring a book with Tia Hopkins and Chris Foulon, Hack the Cybersecurity Interview will be hitting the shelves soon and is already available for pre-order on Amazon. Using years of experience interviewing and being interviewed for cybersecurity jobs, Tia, Chris, and Ken share personalized advice about the process of job searching and interviewing for open cyber positions. Customized to include numerous types of security practitioner roles, this book is a major resource for future cyber professionals and for cybersecurity marketers looking to better understand their audience.

“Pretty much every interview I've ever been in has the exact same questions, they go off a checklist for the behavioral interview questions. So, the ones in that chapter of the book are things you want to study, definitely, no matter what job you're going for.”



Spend some time with our guest Ken Underhill on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Cyber Life on their website and LinkedIn.

Check out Ken’s book, Hack the Cybersecurity Interview.

The Candy Industry website has a candy-related podcast.

Follow Gianna on LinkedIn.

Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn.

Join the Cybersecurity Marketing Society on our website, and keep up with us on Twitter.

Keep up with Hacker Valley on our website, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

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