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Pursuing Failure - No One Cares I'm an Idiot

Alex Chaveriat
Alex Chaveriat
I want a DEF CON do over.

Whelp... this is going to suck.
After a ridiculous journey to DEF CON 29 that I need a therapy puppet to convey, I got to my hotel room. Putting the stress behind me, I was PUMPED to start. I did two “vlogs,” one in the airport and one right there in the hotel room. That is when I had the thought “This is going to suck.”
I have no want to share the “vlogs” because they are awkward and weird. Especially the one in the airport where I felt like everyone was judging me. Some weirdo shooting video of himself. I sat down on the hotel bed looking out on the Vegas strip, and the weight of DEF CON hit me. How am I going to do this?
It is one thing to shoot videos in my basement where I can turn off the camera, shoot another take, and edit out silly mistakes. It is another to do it in ONE take where people stop to watch.
I walked down to the conference floor on Wednesday, and a weird thing happened. “SILK?” I turned around, “You are Silk from the YouTube channel, right?” “Your videos rock and can’t wait for your DEF CON ones.” Two thoughts happened in rapid succession;
  1. An overwhelming sense of love for this random person who just made my day, legitimately, one of the coolest moments in my life. It is the first time a stranger recognized me for my tiny channel with a mask on - unexpectedly amazing!
  2. A sense of “Well… [email protected]#$… there is no backing out now.”
My Realization
After a few videos, I started to relax and realized no one cared. It helped that Gourry continued to push me regardless of my feelings. Also, I got a ton of encouragement from people that recognized me, as I often say, my fragile ego needs all the help it can get. I overestimated how much other people even noticed me shooting video. While recording the “Tinfoil Hat” video, I hit my nirvana state and started having fun, smiling, joking, and letting my personality out… I wish it happened sooner at the beginning of the con.
Spotlight Phenomenon
As I sat down to write this email. I searched for a word to describe the feeling. Hilariously, I Googled “feeling of a spotlight on you” to discover somebody smarter than me already coined the term.
That feeling of “Oh, everyone is watching and noticing me doing this weird thing” is so common that Social psychologists have a name for it, the Spotlight effect. It is the belief of being noticed more than you actually are. Like being the main character in a movie where everyone is going to notice any mistakes. HERE IS THE PROBLEM. Everyone is the main character in their own movie, and they more often than not are more worried about their own “spotlight.” In short, I had a realization at DEF CON that no one cares if I am an idiot.
So with that, embrace your weird and hack on,
😌 My Quote of the Week
“Whelp… when life deals you lemons with a last minute cancelled Spirit flight. You book a $1,300 first class ticket and get served lemonade.”
– Me
🤘 My Favorite Things This Week
DEF CON Gooning - Simply awesome.
Getting recognized for being a YouTuber - This is wild. It didn’t just happen one time. Over DEF CON, over 20 people recognized me (and Gourry when he was with me) and commented on favorite videos or streams. This is NUTS and a feeling I struggle to put into words. Thank you!
Seeing Gourry - Nothing more to say here. He is an amazing individual that helped push me further than I thought possible at DEF CON. If you are enjoying the DEF CON videos, I have him to thank. Not only for holding the camera but for pushing me to get videos out and get over my anxiety.
🚽 Things That Are Gross
361 Days Till Next DEF CON - This is the first year where DEF CON did not burn me out. I felt tired but not drained. Photo Gooning helped push me to meet new people. 361 days is a LONG way to go.
Everything is Awesome - While editing my DEF CON videos I noticed I overused “Awesome” and “That is so cool” a ton. While often I was overly excited, I was using it since I couldn’t hear the person talking and it was easy to “fill” the gap. I feel like I am watching the Lego movie at times while watching my own videos. I do it far too much 😂 but that is okay, everything is still awesome!
I Feel Like I Want a DEF CON Do-Over - This was the first of what I hope is many “Photo Gooning” years. I made a ton of mistakes and I understand I need to go through the mistakes to get better. BUT, I wish I could have noticed what I think was my “main” mistake sooner. I plan to do a video on this later this week. In short, it was focusing on “events” and “stuff” over the “people” and “stories.” I am bummed about this one.
🎥 YouTube Videos This Week
There are a lot of videos this past week, so not posting them all. My personal favorite is the PepperCon one. For many reasons, one is it is a moment that shows the “behind the scenes” of DEF CON, and two, it feels like I captured a moment of fellowship at the con people virtually missed. Exactly what I wanted in my videos. This shows some of our beloved hacker culture and friends enjoying some shared pain.
We just "enjoyed" PEPPERCON at DEF CON 29!
We just "enjoyed" PEPPERCON at DEF CON 29!
Pushed the Tin Foil Hat video about 10 minutes ago. It was the first people stopped to watch us record. Lessons learned with audio.
Let's Get Paranoid with Tin Foil Hat [with Krux] | DEF CON 29
Let's Get Paranoid with Tin Foil Hat [with Krux] | DEF CON 29
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Alex Chaveriat
Alex Chaveriat @alexchaveriat

Hey-o, I'm Alex, or Silk among the hacking community. I'm a hacker, information security geek, father, coffee snob, YouTuber, Chief Innovation Officer, DEF CON goon, and I pursue failure. Failing often and failing better each time. Every week I write about that pursuit, stories, and what I am learning on the journey. Hope you enjoy and hack on.

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