Shostack + Friends Blog


After a Conference

Some tips on how to regoup and catch up after being away for conferences. View from stage

RSA was an amazing and overwhelming experience. I had four opportunities to share with the audience, including a panel with Marcus Ranum, Jennifer Minella, and Harry Sverdlove on firewalls; a joint talk with Jay Jacobs on the impact of DMARC on BEC; and threat modeling in 2019. (I was gratified to see so many folks awake at 8.30 on Friday morning.) I also spoke at a brunch for Continuum.

Now I’m home and trying to catch up. I wanted to share my workflow on the chance it might be useful. I go through each of these areas to find tasks:

  • Email. My inbox, but I also have a folder called “followup.” I move a lot out of my inbox to the followup folder so I can see it when I’m back from travel. (I also have a set of monthly sub-folders: followup/august, followup/september, they let me say “I’ll get back to you in three months.”)
  • Business cards. I go through the whole stack of cards for todo items. I try to write notes on business cards. I discovered I did that on one of 6 cards where I remembered something. That’s not very good odds, and forces me to consider what I might have missed. Still exploring how to make best use of cards without notes. Advice really welcome here.
  • Signal, iMessage. For both of these, I go back through the conversations I’ve had, see if I had followups or if I dropped the ball on someone.
  • Linkedin. I get a lot of linkedin requests, and I’m a fairly open networker. Sadly, the UI works very poorly for me. I would love to hear about tools that allow me to effectively move messages to something other than a LIFO queue.
  • Workflowy. I’m experimenting with this as a note taking tool, and it’s not bad.
  • Slack channels. Go through, look at DMs and channels. I suppose I should use some feature to note that I intend to followup. Is the Slack way to say “come back to this” to star a message?
  • Calendar. For each meeting, think about the meeting, check my notes, see if I remember followups or things that didn’t make it to an email/workflowy note. And yes, there were several discussions that I know we discussed followups that I re-discovered by looking at my calendar.
  • Photos. Photographs are the new note-taking, and so going back through pictures you took is important.
  • Twitter, Facebook. I’m trying to break from Twitter, and don’t use Facebook, but I figured I’d include them here because they’re maybe worth remembering.

If I missed a followup, I’m sorry, please just let me know. It’s easy to misplace something. Also I’m curious: What’s in your toolbox?