This episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast’s Hacker Valley Blue series is a bit unique. It features Brandon Dixon, the VP of Strategy at RiskIQ, a major sponsor of the podcast. Brandon co-founded Passive Total in 2014, and it was later purchased by RiskIQ. He is the quintessential guest, invested in fitness, philosophy, tech, and leadership. He is an expert in both the practice and business of threat intelligence, and he shares with Ron and Chris about himself, his work, and the field.
Much of the conversation focuses on Brandon and his work background. Brandon explains his journey into the threat intelligence field, from his early interest, through jobs in tech and academia, and to work in espionage research. Eventually, he and friend Steve McGinty saw a need and tried to solve it; their efforts took shape in the company they co-founded, Passive Total. Brandon explains to listeners the process by which he and Steve created Passive Total, as well as the way in which they arrived at the deal to sell Passive Total to RiskIQ. Brandon was heavily involved in the integration of Passive Total into RiskIQ, before eventually settling into a specific role within RiskIQ that capitalizes his love of the business side of the field. He aims to work in light of his personal philosophy on life and success, which he also details.
The conversation touches on many practically relevant details of the threat intelligence field, as well. Brandon addresses the changes in the field and motivation he draws from these changes, bias and intelligence collection, and lessons that have arisen through his specific experiences. Other topics covered include intelligence leads and the future of threat intelligence, unhackability, the place of circumstances in life and business, and how intelligence leaders can improve their programs. As Brandon anticipates that threat intelligence will only become a more pervasive field, listeners will doubtless benefit from his own insights, as well as his recommendations of such resources as Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and RiskIQ workshops.
0:26 - The conversation begins with an introduction to this unique episode, its guest, and his background.
2:43 - The group considers the changing business of threat intelligence and what drives Brandon.
8:24 - The next topics are bias and intelligence collection, as well as what surprises Brandon.
13:00 - Brandon shares the story of Passive Total and its integration into RiskIQ, also addressing the business side of the field and lessons learned through his experience.
24:04 - Brandon addresses intelligence leads and the question of unhackability.
34:44 - What is Brandon’s philosophy on life and success?
39:37 - Brandon explains what threat intelligence leaders need to do to improve their programs.