Host Tanya Janca learns what it's like to be the CEO of Zag Communications, with Zenobia Godschalk! Zenobia is the founder and CEO of ZAG Communications, a digital marketing, PR, and IR firm that has launched and scaled global, multi-billion dollar enterprise tech companies, focused on cybersecurity. https://twitter.com/zenobiaZAG
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[Music] [Music] welcome to the we hack purple podcast where each week we meet another amazing human being that is part of the information security industry and we learn about them we learn about their career progression we learn about their job we learn about how maybe you one day could be in their shoes this week is sponsored by thread fix which is powered by denim group and i am so excited about that i had a lot of chances this week at work to talk about thread fix um i am tanya janka i am your host and this week we have zenobia godstock and i let's not wait let's just meet her please bring out zenovia hi hi tanya how are you i'm good how are you good thank you happy birthday today thursday is thursday did i say your name correctly you did yeah yes you did i had to practice god's talk too when i got married but yes that's correct awesome awesome um so could you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and then i'm gonna you know ask you 10 000 questions about your job sure i would love to um so nice to meet everyone so nobia godstock i am the founder of zag communications which is a technology pr and marketing firm mostly focused on cyber security i'm also the head of communications for hedera hashgraph which is a public distributed ledger um and i have a lovely family two crazy boys who keep me very busy um as well as you know the husband and the boy dog so as you can imagine this house is chaos and i have sworn them to silence uh while we record this oh that is awesome yes i i record this while everyone is out of the house go to the park and play do whatever things you're going to do because i know that there will be a mini human running and yes that's right yes and dogs are really like they're like i'm cute i need the person on the other end of the camera to know zenobia don't hide and why did you close the door i'm just gonna scratch it until you either open it or i work my way right through it oh my gosh it's so true um could you tell us a little bit at like your job title and then like a little bit about your so you kind of have two jobs is it cool if we cover both sure sure yeah awesome um so gosh i'm gonna give you a little bit of backstory and then it'll make more sense so i started off work in silicon valley and i have a degree in economics and industrial engineering and um many many moons ago i started out work in the valley during the first dot com boom and bust and i worked for intel right out of school and then for a number of startups and then landing at a company called loud cloud which was became opsware a data center automation company and throughout that journey i had gone from i started my career in finance and at intel i had supported the pr team which was this huge amazing operation i don't know if you remember you know intel inside and the intel dads there were so many parts to this and i had no idea what pr was and that was really my first introduction into that the world of magic and a great team there i went on to you know to do pr and my subsequent roles and when i started at loud cloud i was you know the most junior person on the pr team and when i left um i was running the group and so pr means a lot of different things right it does mean working with the media over time it's shifted into social media and internal communications and your owned channels of communication so when i got married we moved out to atlanta i didn't find any tech companies that i wanted to work for at the time i took a very sort of sharp left turn um which i think you know i went into investment banking most people make that mistake right out of college and just get it out of their systems and i didn't do that so uh almost immediately after taking the role i i regretted that life choice but um it did allow me to get exposure to the internet security industry and so we covered public companies in the space this is when iss was stand alone this is when rsa was stand alone and so we covered those companies from you know the perspective of what is their stock worth and how do you value their stock based on how that business is doing and i think that was a great sort of trial by fire you had to learn so much about the security industry in such a short period of time and um i'm here in atlanta you know we were lucky that the iss team is here there have been a lot of companies that have grown out of that company um but after you know after sort of paying my dues for a little while there i realized i did not want to be in investment banking and so originally i had just said i'm gonna do a little bit of consulting and you know go back to doing pr and over time that has grown into what today is zag communications and um it is uh you know so we do public relations we do investor relations we work with the media a lot we end up working with customers all the way from you know sort of their very very initial messaging and how do i tell this story to the world um through you know where we're working with some actually two companies right now that are in the process of going public um so we you know it's fun to see customers at all um places in their journey and you find that they just need very different things along the way and about gosh now it's been it's been a few years a few years ago i started working with one startup that was in the blockchain and distributed ledger space and um the founding team is just amazing and i thought i i was i was saying tanya it felt like sort of the beginning of you know of the internet all over again right it felt like that significant shift in computing and how people do things so um i took on a more full-time role with that company which is a distributed ledger company called hedera hashgraph and so i also run their communications um you know over time that has also evolved into more of um sort of advising the companies that build on top of the network too because a network is just a network the applications that run on top of it are really what you know are sexy and make it sizzle and can tell great stories that people can actually get excited about oh that is such a wonderful story i like it um i i like to how you describe marketing like how you help them begin to tell their story um i really like that way of explaining what marketing is because i have heard i've seen lots of ways of marketing where i'm like that makes me uncomfortable and i like the idea of like i'm trying to help them tell their story i'm trying to get help like their audience get to know them i like that when you see so many startups that have amazing technology and you know they they sort of have this you know we call it the field of dreams problem right they believe that if they build it they will come and in some cases yes by miracle they may someone might discover it but you know you you hope to put your best foot forward right and you hope to explain to people why did i do this why am i on this journey why did i feel like other people would need to have this problem solved too nice yeah okay so you sort of have two jobs and so i'm probably gonna ask a lot of the questions like kind of around the two jobs and if it's the short answer that's okay but yeah what is a day like in the life of your job uh yeah i know everybody says that you know it's so different from day to day um and it really can be i think at this point in my career i have done everything that there is to do in the discipline or the domain of pr so if you think about writing press releases running awards programs helping with speakers bureaus developing content pitching media you know working with press doing rapid response those are sort of the the domains in pr and i feel like i've been now doing this long enough and i have earned the white hairs that i do color a little bit purple but you can barely see because they either just stay white or black um but that now my job is really to help my team and and or my customers or that you know for example on the hedera side the applications benefit from that knowledge so i am no longer necessarily the doer but you know we when we meet with the clients i am in there helping them figure out their strategy that the team then says okay now i can go execute on that or can i run this release by you because i'm just not sure that the messaging is right or when we go to pitch this you know do you think that's the right person that we should talk to at that publication um and then also thinking about things like okay if you are for example going through the ipo process there are certain things that you can and can't do from a pr perspective you know throughout that time how do you plan out your you know we had a conversation today about how you you know how do you plan out your announcement schedule um we had another conversation with a client about okay there are some unknown things that are may or may not happen in the industry could you time some of your things to go with that um you know this morning i spoke on a panel uh with you know some some colleagues in europe um and i would say if you had asked me over a year ago you know a big part of my job was travel and go do these things and go you know go speak or go launch this thing in this country um and now it's like go downstairs and launch that from your you know from your office because that's what you can do um so you know i certainly there's parts of me that say gosh you know like doing a launch in korea was amazing and you know having someone on stage at web summit in portugal was phenomenal but um you know but it also takes its toll on you yes yes yeah yeah in 2019 i calculated it and like you have to be in canada at least six months of the year to get health insurance and in 2019 i calculated it i'm like oh i should have lost my health insurance by two months because that's how long i was out of the country and i'm like that sucks right and when you take a step back and it's no longer you know the norm or required you go wait a minute like that is insane um so we'll see what it looks like going forward right how do we balance that and not go crazy one way or the other yeah i'm really hopeful that we're gonna find kind of a hybrid of things like isn't it amazing how you can watch a panel happening around the world uh from your desk and like it's not quite as good as being there but it's like oh but it's kind of awesome because i wouldn't be able to afford to go to this conference perhaps or how or just it wouldn't work for me because i i have to be at work and i can't just miss a week because there's this really cool thing happening and yeah the opportunities are yeah who would have thought right yeah pandemic but lots of lots of new ways of life but some of them are kind of good yeah some silver linings for sure i mean i remember you know i was the mom calling from a new york you know hotel lobby trying to conference into my kids parent teacher conference and they were like this is just really weird you shouldn't do it like or you know not you shouldn't do it but like don't worry about it and this year it was like all conferences are on zoom so parents who either you know families are split up and they don't live together or um you know parents are out or working like that has now become the norm there and you know i think that's a benefit do you feel like um a lot of areas where pre so like i'm totally off topic but areas where like previously they're like oh well it would be too much work to make a video conference for that but now they're forced to do it and it's like it wasn't that hard was it you could have let me call in from new york so i could attend this and participate in my child's education like it wasn't right right well yeah i mean i think those platforms have been forced to and you know we've actually we've been lucky we've worked with some creative agencies who i think either were thinking about this already beforehand or had a little bit of experience with it beforehand but they have been on it right i mean the events industry was decimated and so for those who were able to pivot fast like you know we had we had a partner that we worked with and you know they basically then ended up putting like virtu speaker kits together right so every speaker got you know a a camera a green screen a you know a mic all those things that you need and they were ready to go and yes there's an initial cost to doing that but they were able to turn around these events where you're like that's gorgeous like you know that first of all those are not just those people in their house i don't believe that um you know but also the it's something you wanted to watch mm-hmm yeah oh my gosh awesome i agree okay so i have one more off topic question and then i swear i'll get back to you so you are marketing cyber security companies and kind of helping them tell their story there's so many different ways like you can do those creepy trackers on the internet or you can um you know like do content-based marketing or you could do like a giant email list or whatever like how do you choose like if you have a client are you like i'm gonna try a little bit of everything and see what sticks and then like give like so i keep saying giver so that's like canadian for and then you just do a lot of that um okay i think you know it's so the nice part about marketing is that marketing has become much more measurable over the past you know decade or so so you are able to do more of that a b testing and say this worked that didn't work you know and that's across campaigns that's across social media and that's across readership of things and i think that things have changed so people people now don't want to talk to someone until they've already done like 90 of their research so you have a very educated audience you have an audience that has a pretty low tolerance for bs so you really have to you really have to you know say look our marketing can't be i mean that's why you know an agency like ours doesn't also do consumer marketing right because the the message that you're giving is very very different and it has to be rooted in a lot more credibility i think there's a lot more rigor and scrutiny around are we putting this out and um you know how is that going to be how is that going to be received and and how credible is it um i think you know we all know the company that a few years ago was like our solutions are better because we use math um and it's like well god i hope so you know like what solution doesn't use math you're a cyber security company let's not let's yes but you know so i think that the the buyer today does not want to be yes they want some of that they want the comfort of this is just going to work great and it's going to be slick and they want it you know to have the brand halo around it but this is an area where you really have to say how do i reach them in a way that's very very credible and you know how do i put sort of equal experts in front of them to help them either answer their questions or give that credibility and you know so whereas you used to be able to say like let's get everybody in a room and do this i think you've seen a shift to okay let's either build out these communities or let's do it in a way where we're putting forward our most credible experts so that they are kind of building that trust quickly so you can get to the rest of it because our industry is really competitive like i so i i was looking it up so um we hack purple has made it into a contest uh for startups uh very exciting new ventures i know it's so exciting so we've made it like past round one and into round two like is and there's four rounds so there's still a ways off but they were like what is the entire you know like how much is your industry worth i'm like oh cyber security i'm like looking it up i'm like oh 153 billion okay yeah and then the and then the training the training alone is 1.5 billion dollars in 2021 expected to be spent and i was like yeah and i'd never looked this up before i was just like i love appsec and i'm going to just keep doing it and if people will give me money that's great but like looking this up like you are competing someone was saying why don't you buy advertising tanya and i'm like did you know that a google adword for application security training is 300 a click wow i did not know that it used to be 300 and then it another time we checked and it was 140 a click but that's insane yeah um and so you are trying to compete in like a very fierce market um i'm impressed and these are you know these are aggressive companies right but to your point i mean i think when i started at morgan keegan there were we did a huge report on the you know that covered as many startups as we could find essentially in security and at the time it was like 750 and i think if you look at like the rsa show floor you know not that that's a perfect comparison but it's at least 3 500. um you know so i think you either have to sort of re find your niche and really go after it and then you know it is sort of the classic crossing the chasm right can you find it in one area can you do a great job on that and can you then spread that to other areas um but you know you do see like you know peop it's still about what people trust especially in this in this industry so you see things like the ice axe do well because there is that you know referral base or i've used it and so you know you should use it too yeah yeah interesting okay so very briefly i'm going to thank our sponsor threadfix who make the most stupendous vulnerability management system this side of the galaxy i'm also going to announce that season one ends on a weehack purple podcast ends on august 19th or 18th 19th that will be our last show for a few weeks before we start season two where we're going to change from finding your career and infosec to a new topic of teach me some security stuff which i realize is not that clear yet but don't worry it will be also i wanted to just say that i bought dun dun dun the infosec unplugged hoodie from davin jackson and that that guy rules and he was previously on our podcast and you should check it out and then the last thing that i'm going to talk about that's totally off topic before i can ask zenobia like 4 000 more questions is the vancouver international privacy and security summit is may 5th to may 7th and i'm one of the keynotes and we act purple is sponsoring and we're a very proud sponsor and every person on the entire internet should buy tickets um because they're great the end that was lots that was lots of me being off topic um so my marketing team gets frustrated with me but i did all i have checked every box now yes um so so you are in a really fierce market what types of personality traits do you think someone needs to be good at your job so you're a ceo but you're also like an expert at pr and just like handling when incident response happens and being like clear in a crisis and stuff like this is a lot like what types of personality traits or maybe aptitudes would make someone good at this yeah you know it's it's funny every year pr gets ranked as one of the most stressful jobs i know saying that to a group of info security people is like really um but there is sort of a constant pressure in terms of you know the things that you're trying to figure out are do i give this news an exclusive to someone will they leak it is this confidential um you know you're dealing with a lot of um you know as you know probably from working with some of the pr teams you know you're dealing with a lot of crises um and so i think you know being able to step back and say okay like you know some things uh few things are the end of the world right a lot of things are going to be um you know i have that little square of what is urgent and important um on my next to my computer um so that i try to remember okay what are the things that are really urgent and important what are the things where we just need to take a step back and say okay you know let's let's calm down let's not rush to do something um both in the very immediate term but also you know um you see people say like i want to get on this bandwagon i want to get on that bandwagon and you know trying to get people back to their vision and their mission so that they don't dilute it by sort of hopping on the latest trends um and then you know as a ceo i think it is so i'm lucky my dad was also an entrepreneur he started a business with his you know his two of his closest friends um and one of the things he always said to me was um zenobia the hardest part of your job will be managing people um and sometimes you set it in more colorful language than that but but essentially you know people are people and i think you've really seen this this last year people are going are the full expression of their personality right now whatever that might be right they're not the they're not like quite the happy drunk versus the mad drunk but they are they're on edge they are doing their best you know people you've spent a lot of time with the same people probably over the past year and so um you know i think part of my job is to kind of just play peacemaker and to interject humor and to try to get people saying okay you know let's make sure we're focused externally and and on some of our shared goals so that we don't you know um not that you don't want to look internally but so that you don't have any sort of unnecessary internal bickering way back i was a ciso for a while and we had security incidents and i remember being in the room with all these executives and they're like so what happened today and i was like oh someone uh someone went to our website and then clicked like they went to the french version of our website and then google translate was like do you want to translate this page to english and the person said yes and then french english is not always super accurate with google translate and so it was like it was asking them you know which gender are you male or female but instead in the world fam in french is also wife so are you a man or are you a wife and then it asked something else that was also a poor translation and so then they took a screenshot and we're trying to shame us on social media for being sexist a-holes and they're like oh so it's they're like did this person like you know like attack our website i'm like no this person like i read her twitter like she's definitely not smart enough to like cross the street and they're like so they're like well we need a we need a response like we needed you to help us write a thing and i was like okay so dear so-and-so i am sorry that you are not smart enough to use the internet your life must be extremely complex and they're just like get out just go back to your dungeon with i t security and get out of here you suck and so i've always like had this admiration for people that like can craft that have the patience and like know how to craft a message so like they came up with something that sounded really good but i was just like just tell her she's an a-hole and like block her and they're like okay so you have to go back to the dungeon on whatever floor i worked on and i was like okay and they're just like they're all just like um but i mean like i was like dude my team solved this incident in 14 minutes we rule yeah just like get out right and so we're all good at different things i'm not good at that you're good you're very good at that like how does someone learn how to be good at that like or what personality trait like i know you've already said a bunch but i feel like this is magic like really well i mean i do think um you know they're you have to compartmentalize a bit right you can you can be sort of nodding your head and saying like okay well that's crazy um but i'm gonna take that into account and then put all those pieces together and see what's the least crazy most palatable palatable thing that we can come up with um you know and and you know it it really is sort of um i do feel like when i had children i was like aha okay i don't know if i've already been doing this or they're making me do it more um you know but it's sort of the okay yes and how do we shift you over to this you know this other message or this slightly other story um but yes again it is sort of the you know it is the it's the maybe not necessarily peacemaker but it is saying okay all of these points are valid how do we can just convey that in a way that is not going to set off alarm bells for all these other things that we know are happening in the world right so yes a big part of our job is communicating the customer story but just as much of it is knowing what's happening in the industry so we can say to the customer like that's a really bad idea and here's why and i think you know maybe it's as a woman maybe not but i always feel like i need to come prepared to those conversations with like 27 data points and and so i probably do that more often right like you think this is a very good idea i'm gonna show you all the reasons why it's very much not a good idea and then you can you know you're not just listening to my opinion it's backed up by you know 27 examples i love it i love using data to prove i love it okay i have more questions so all right what technical skills do you think someone needs to do your job because i feel like if you can't understand any of the products that you're marketing like you're not going to be able to tell their story well and and then i want to kind of like combine that question with like is there any training that can teach you how like how to know those technical skills like because i feel like you must have a lot in your brain so many things that i don't yeah that should not be shared with the outside world but um in terms of so when i when i started at morgan keegan i had a great boss who was basically like you're very smart you you know you understand infrastructure you don't understand security here's like three books on security like go read them and i was like okay this is a lot like where there's a stack and there's these layers and but over time you realize i actually there's i should know enough to be dangerous i shouldn't i should know enough to have the conversation with the engineers but i should not know so much that i love this the way they love it because when i do that then i stop being able to tell the bigger story and i stop being able to abstract that out and keep pushing them on the why why why more high level simpler no one's going to get it especially if you're creating a new category you know you've got to be able to up level that um so from that side you know not no technical training where i needed to go get you know a certification or anything but certainly some reading up on you know okay understand you know the basics of um you know understand the basics of enterprise i.t understand the basics of you know security architecture i think the most interesting thing to me is um so you know i i don't know how how else to say this learn to be a good writer learn to be articulate and concise because there are too many people who either think that they can get away with because they're so smart technically like i'm just gonna spew all this at you or you know they think well i'm going to make it flowerier and bigger and i'm just going to use these buzzwords and that's also going to do it and so i think if anything you know learning how to write a persuasive argument whether that's in a release or a blog or an email right you are always pitching and always trying to sell media on this is why this is a great story um whether that's you know in a in a media pitch directly to them or an award program or anything else persuasive writing is what you you have to do right you have to be able to articulate why do i care you have to draw them in very quickly we always say you have three seconds so if your first line of your email doesn't catch them that you're out and you know you're getting this sort of sometimes you're getting great stuff sometimes you're getting very complicated things you know that you're like wait i have this amazing you know vulnerability that you need to know about but i've got to tell you seven layers down where you know how it works but i need you to be interested in the first sentence i i love that do you think that if someone can learn that skill that that's probably just awesome for their whole life like it can improve everything yeah think how many people in your life you want to do other things for you yes yes oh my gosh yes yes i have a lot of friends trying to convince their parents to go get vaccines right now and like some of them resort to we're going to the mall and putting their parent in the car and driving for the vaccine like yeah i'm lucky my parents are not like that they're like i'm first in line right a lot of people i know are struggling with those things um and so the persuasion is that is a good life life skill we'll call it not soft skill life skill yeah i i have more questions so let's say someone someone wants to move towards what you're doing right so someone's like i'm super interested in marketing i'm super interested in cyber and they don't know where to start like what types of work experience could they try to get that might help them like one day walk in similar shoes to yours sure yeah i mean i think so you know as much as this industry is challenging i do feel like it's also quite welcoming um and so you know they're so on the vendor side there are certainly a number of companies that you could look at and there are tons of places that will have big marketing organizations where you can go and sort of learn all of the different parts of marketing you know i will say having some subject matter expertise and then also being a great writer you're going to be able to do a lot of things in marketing you're going to be able to do product marketing you're going to be able to do partner marketing you're going to be able to do any of the different pieces of marketing that you know that are that make up the machine um so you know i think uh making sure that you you know you're if you wanted to do it on your own you know starting to think about are you blogging or are you writing thoughts down or are you you know on your linkedin writing you know a few articulate paragraphs on you know what you think about you know pick the incident of the week that happened um there are so many you know recruiters and people looking for folks who um you know who are smart and have an interest in this area um that they could get into it and then i think you know most marketing disciplines it's not like well if you're you know this kind of engineer it's harder to switch over here with marketing you know you end up being pulled into a lot of the other things so once you're part of a marketing team you get to see what other people are doing and they're most likely not going to say no i don't need the help right um oh yeah um this semester we hired a marketing student who i swear like she's going to be prime minister next year she's so amazing she's so persuasive i'm just like you're going to rule the world and you're like 20. but like people are persuasive people that can communicate in a way that that sways you that motivates you that i'm just like yeah writing her performance review it was like this is the second coming of jesus i know i was just like can i have hearts come out of the picture and then like put a crown on her like i was like oh yeah yeah the marketing director was just like i'm going to mourn her loss and we have a new student coming and i'm sure we're going to love the new student but it's it's hard to say goodbye and like she she's just yeah i'm sure at some point she'll work for you um okay so i have more questions so the cheese question so every every every uh episode we talk about like does your job pay well because so i am in just past the one year anniversary of startup land and i get paid minimum wage right now but i own a company and that is awesome and like we're working up to i'm gonna get a raise i'm gonna be like just a little bit above minimum wage soon but but your company is doing well and so does your work pay well does that field pay well does being a ceo of a giant company that is kicking all the asses pay well um etc yeah so i'm going to segment it out into a few different ways to think about it i think if you think about pr um you know pr in general can run the gamut and so it really depends on what industry you're in so for an industry where there is a lot of interest and there's not a lot of technical demands like if you wanted to go do pr for a celebrity or a sports you know an athlete or something like that there's 500 other people who want that job so that doesn't pay super well unless you're sort of at the you know the upper echelon for technology pr it actually does pray pretty well because it's a different skill set you know you're trying to communicate a different set of ideas and to your point in infrasecurity there's a lot of companies and so a growing field you know rising tide lifts all boats so i would say overall um you know pr does pay well um i will let me get back to the equity versus cash piece in a minute um you know being the ceo of a company there is risk you're responsible for payroll every month you know you're responsible for collections every month you're responsible for that entire chain um you know but there is reward as well and um you know i think that those two go hand in hand and so you know there's there's many things that you do right as a business owner to make sure that you put yourself in a good position and your employees in a good position and then you know you just keep doing it right you keep growing and you keep you know and then one day you turn around and you're like how did this happen um you know like you've you've you've done it and you know and to the outside world it looks like oh yeah like they started a company of course you know but inside you're like no i i ground away for all those years and like yes that is why you know i'm reaping those rewards um yeah now you know it's hard work it's a hard work yeah it's so funny to me because people are like how often do you work in your pajamas i'm like zero zero days i work in my pajamas never like i am in my office you know i have the door locked when the kids come home from school like you know you you do the work day in and day out and um yeah i need um well they figure out how to dig it too so i'm like it's locked and they're like but i can open it i'm like but that's not the point the point is it's locked i'm so glad that the children only ever watch the first two to three minutes of the podcast because then they get bored and they're not like hey you walk the door right but i do want to hit on on a point i know we briefly discussed this which is you know if you are looking at a job offer for a company that offers equity stock you know whether that's a private company vc backed or whether that's a public company really take that into consideration and really think about it at every point in your career because you know you are going to have to make that choice of some companies offer more cash compensation um some offer a bigger equity piece but you need to know how to value that because that can set you on a very different trajectory for the rest of your career if it's the right company and the right stock package and you know i find especially with women but with even with you know very smart people on you know who've done amazing things they don't think about that in the way that the investors think about that and in the way that management thinks about that and so in the end they may end up with a great job that pays well but it doesn't have that equity component that maybe they should have asked for and so you know i know we've talked a lot in some of our women leadership groups about how do you make sure that next generation knows you know you need to ask what percentage of you know what percentage of the company this is right what how what does the stock represent what does the cap table look like what am i really getting for my contribution because you know 5 000 shares can sound big or small or you know a hundred thousand shares can sound big or small but that's really like you know if you don't know whether it's denominated in pesos or dollars like you know you need to understand the rest of the math around that mm-hmm yeah i remember working somewhere once and finding out i made significantly less than everyone else on my team and uh so i asked for a raise and by asked for i mean i said like wtf i'm the senior person on this team i should have the senior pay and so yeah you gave me a 100 000 worth of stocks over four years and like so this is 25 000 of funny potential money per year that may be less next year maybe maybe mps you pay me way less than like 25 like less than 25 000 yeah or you pay me the difference was bigger than that and so they're like oh this is a reward because you did something well i'm like is this in lieu of paying me properly for the work i perform yeah like no and i was like good then i accepted i will sign the letter but you're still going to correct my pay and they're like yes ma'am and i did end up resigning over it because they didn't correct it but all these women i know are like you should go in and like throw tables or i'm like no i don't i don't do that i'm really gentle um but they're like you you need to demand what you're worth right and sometimes you win that and sometimes you lose that and like i lost that battle slash i make more money now um and i do think it's it's easier to do it right up front right it's easier to do it at the beginning when you're not vested that's not sort of your family and friends already you haven't been there a number of years so having that conversation up front then you at least have the choice as to whether i take that job or i don't knowing you know what what you're walking into yes yes and i really like um websites like glassdoor or glass glass door yeah there's a few of them where they'll tell you like and like i have had a lot of weird jobs like appsec engineer is like a pretty weird it's like a lot more obscure than than some of the other jobs that are out there but um being able to look up like other people that live in your city that do this type of job you know range from here to here and if you're like oh i'm here or i'm here right like it helps you negotiate better um one of my cousins actually called me and we were talking about this and he went to work and asked other people where he worked how much money he made because he knew that i was asking about it and like employers tell you not to so i'm i'm very like i was like i already know i'm like the key point of this team and if i leave it'll be like really disastrous so i just put in slack i make this much money and i think that i'm being mispaid who wants to talk offline about this and i was like what are you gonna do fire me we both know that can never happen um yeah so he went into work and he actually found out that he was making 50 60 000 less than everyone else on his team because he'd come in as a co-op student yeah but then he'd worked there four years and he'd got these little raises but he's like no like now i'm an intermediate whatever and like because they've been giving him these little raises and he's so his boss was like you know you should go and do job like interviews and get job offers and so he did and then he got an offer for like 50 60 000 above what he was making and he's like oh my god what do i do and i was like tell your boss right um and so he told his boss and his boss was like i'll give you um some equity i'm going to give you an extra week's vacation and i'm going to give you a 30 000 raise and he's like like he's like is this happening right um and he got it and he like let's just say there is like on our family zoom call or is like a little party and like there was something yeah yeah and um i mean if you think about if you think about most companies they're either you know they either if they're a public company they're reporting their bottom line or if they're a venture-backed company you know they have a certain cash runway so it's not necessarily in their incentive to bring it up it's in their incentive to get the best talent for the lowest price right um so you know i think the more that you and also just the more that you have that conversation and the more that you talk about money and compensation and wealth and all those kinds of things the more it just becomes comfortable so i think starting to practice that early in your career then not only are you comfortable with it but you know you use you indicate to that employer that you know what you're talking about there and that that is important to you and that they need to recognize that yes yeah and different people um feel valued at work in different ways and quite frankly if someone compliments my work a lot i get ridiculously excited and i love working for that person but finding out that you make less money than your peers and especially people two levels below you is enough to make people angry and so what had happened in my situation was because i lived in canada and the other people lived in america and i know that a lot of people listening are going to say oh that's because of the canadian dollar versus the american dollar no no no this was uh you're being paid two-thirds of all of the and even if you translate the value it was still significant like way lower uh and they're like oh but that's how much canadians get paid and i was like one now and they're like well if someone was in bangladesh or in india we're not gonna pay them the same amount and i was like right i made some faces there was a lot of serious eyebrow movement this is how canadians admonish people it's just like there's some duck face yeah yeah there's no tim hortons what are they called the the donut hole timbits yeah yeah we are serious about those yep i was giving training this morning and we were talking about tabletop exercises and i was like yeah like we used to do these tabletop exercises and you know one of the emergencies was that tim hortons all of them were closed and none of us could get coffee and everyone's like oh my gosh because if you can't make fun of canada what do you even do right okay i have seriously seriously difficult questions now all right so this is a combo question zenobia okay what do you like best and what do you like least about your job it's very so yes yeah um i so i feel very lucky i have a group of hysterical women that i work with um you know we've we've allowed in a couple men but the slack random channel in our you know in our company is i mean you would you would die it's so funny these women are all they're smart and you know a lot of them are moms and so we just get stuff done um but then they're also just a constant stream of um you know of the the memes and the people and the dealing with things and um and so it is really fun um you know and i i think on the other hand we we're very lucky as a pr agency we've had some of our clients since we started zag which is actually quite unusual um and so we've been blessed with clients who come back to us or the company you know changes forms and they stay with us and so those relationships are just you know now some of them are going on um 10 15 years and i think that's pretty remarkable i think it's been really fun to sort of see that community grow up you know to really feel like you are like you're a part of it um i think as i get older i have less tolerance for um i have i have less tolerance for some of the mansplaining that happens in some of these industries security is quite bad blockchain could conceivably be the only industry that's worse um so uh you know there are there are definitely a number of people who want to tell you how much they know they want to there's been a lot of wealth creation in that industry they want to measure themselves by that those kinds of things i just don't have a tolerance for you know i think you're you know we're creating something we're bringing something to market that's amazing we're going to talk about the technology we're going to stay humble we're going to focus on that side of it and you know and for the people who want to you know who want to tell me how important they are or how much they know um you know usually it's just a few sentences that then sort of set them um set them back in the right place yeah i love that i i saw on on um on twitter a woman said she's like yeah i've had like i have so many dates lined up i put in my thing so i live in san francisco and i put i'm really looking for a man to explain blockchain to me she's like [Laughter] yeah that is a social experiment right there yeah i hope she documented all of that yes yes uh there was a there was another woman that posted that she um she posted about the uh was it called like the the coup that happened or the attempted coup in america and she was like yeah that's really cool on a dating site and then men were saying oh i was there and she's like pics or it didn't happen and then she's been sending them to the fbi that's right yeah and i was like you won the internet lady you have won the internet that's right i had a cto who used to say the biggest problem is always that there is a carbon-based life form at the other end so yes they i mean yeah feed their ego and here's what you get yeah so if someone wanted to take a first actionable step to try to follow in your footsteps do you have you know like it could be one or two steps or three year but like what what would you do what would you tell xenobia from 15 years ago sure gosh so many things but once related to work um you know i would say so two things on the pr side you know get that writing straight just start to write start to educate yourself on the industry that you want to be a part of there's so much information out there if you want to be a part of info security there's a ton of information you can figure out who are you know the big companies who are the big vcs and then you know if you are posting some of your stuff and your content on linkedin people will find you because there is such a need in security um i would say on the if you want to run you know an agency if you want to run a business make sure you know that stuff right make sure you know all the boring stuff make sure you know finance make sure you know accounting make sure you know you know you understand the receivables process make sure you know billing all those things that you're like i wish it would just you know magically happen but you need to be able to have those conversations with clients right you need to be able to talk about pricing with them you need to be able to you know work through their legal departments and their finance departments and you know you are you are you are running the business you're the face of it you're the main pitch man you're the main salesman but you are also you know you have to have that double check on your back end and on your you know um you know on on what's happening you got to keep that house in order yes yes yes i literally took a class last week about how to protect my intellectual property because i was like i need to know the difference between a trademark and a trade secret and copyright versus yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah and now now i'm like should i be copyrighting the name of my company and my twitter handle or should i not because or trademarking yeah yeah so lots of food for thought from lawyers that and money anyway yeah you have to have that attention to detail right like it's not you can it can be glitzy and glam and super fun and you know um but it is also devil is in the details and you got to make sure that that ship is run tight and that you know um your employees are getting what they need your customers are getting what they need and all of that is super super attention to detail yeah yes oh my gosh that's such good advice that's such good advice okay so if people want to follow you or know more about you how can they do this yep i am at xenobiazag on twitter i'm also on linkedin i'm pretty sure i'm the only zenobia godshalk on there so either of those places and then zagcommunications.com or hedera.com h-e-d-e-r-a um and you know for um would love to connect on linkedin and uh you can humor me on twitter oh my god i love it thank you so much for being on the show this was so thank you i i'm enlightened now this was so helpful thank you oh thank you so much you have been thank you tanya pleasure is all mine thank you okay thank you bye thank you for listening to the we hack purple podcast where each week we meet an incredibly interesting intelligent and amazing human being from the information security industry like zenobia god check gosh it was awesome this episode was sponsored by thread fix powered by denim group i want to thank all of you for listening and watching i want to humbly suggest you consider if you're not already subscribing on our youtube channel clicking that awesome like button if you are listening on a podcast app you can go and you can review our podcast we would love it if you review our podcast even if you say we're only okay if you send us a message on social media we will mail you stickers yes that is right i am offering to bribe you in order for you to give us a review um i want to thank my guest gosh was so amazing i learned a lot and um with that i want to ask you to tune in next week oh also one last thing sign up for our newsletter newsletter.wehackpurple.com we have a brand new course coming out really soon on secure coding i'm super excited and thank you again for listening i will see you next week [Music]