I have a good friend who is a natural with people.  He makes you feel like you have known him all your life after having just met minutes prior.  I am totally not like that. Seems like many in this computing industry as a whole are generally not extroverted, and that impedes our personal and professional growth.

Yes, there are plenty of exceptions, but honestly, are you more comfortable looking at a screen or in someone's eyes? 

To be clear, I see nothing wrong with being introverted or shy or just wanting to be left alone.  But we limit our potential by willingly staying within ourselves and not engaging with others.

 Give something to someone, expect nothing in return, and you might receive the world

I have plenty of years of attending conferences and training where I did not engage with anyone. I have sat in the rooms, took notes, and gone about my business to learn from the presentations without even trying to say hello to anyone. It took me a long time to talk to “strangers” at a conference or training event.  It is still not easy for me to speak to someone that I don't know, so when I do speak to someone, it generally means that I so much wanted to talk to his person that I will break all restraints that my brain puts on me to just be the fly on the wall.

So, here is something that I have been wanting to do to help others like me as a way to break the ice at a conference, trade show, training course, or even in a workplace. Have you ever wanted to walk up to a specific person to say hello, to say that you appreciate their presentation, or read their blog, or use their software but had nothing to say and walked away?  Or how about ever wanting to welcome a newbie to the field but unsure of what to say?

Consider that if you give something to this person, you may have an unending wave of goodness coming to you in the future. Maybe you won't, maybe you will, but the point is not an intention of getting anything in return. It is about giving and sharing, and there's nuthin wrong 'bout that.

How about giving that person a book?

And not just a “book”, but a book that has been signed by the author with the author’s personal note, and signed by another with their personal note, and signed by you with your personal note? A book that is unlike any other copy that creates an opportunity to engage across several readers.

This the DFIR Book Challenge that I started some years ago but paused during the lockdowns since no one was meeting anyone anywhere. But now we are free to travel and meet and speak and engage.  I am restarting this challenge with my latest book (X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide/2E) and will be continuing with as many DFIR books that authors will sign for me to giveaway.  Donated books are awesome, but I’ll buy as many as needed to keep giving away. I have one book readied for next month and will work toward others each month forward.

By the way, if you wrote a DFIR book, regardless of when you wrote it, I want to give it away! My email is open.

There are many blog posts on the Internet about engaging in this amazing field of DFIR and all have great ideas. Engagement with another is more than just exchanging technical processes. The DFIR Book Challenge is just one more way to engage.

Cconnecting with another in this field will inspire you, and you can inspire others. Inspiration is the key to learning, in teaching, in sharing, and in doing.

If you don’t have inspiration in what you are doing now, put the effort to find it now.  Or create it. Or borrow it. Or share it. Or be it.

Personal story

Years ago, I taught use-of-force training at the police agency where I worked. After a decade of teaching, an officer who was involved in a deadly force shooting encounter came up to me after a shooting. He gave me a hug and said that during the encounter, words that I had said repeatedly in training was the only thing going through his mind. And he thanked me for the inspiration in training. 

This happened to me both as a trainer in the military and police work. Each time was years after having shared  to others in training that what I knew and experienced.  Never did I expect or want confirmation or appreciation.

Never underestimate the power of a grain of inspiration as it is inspiration that turns a blank canvas into a masterpiece.