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Ask Richard Frederick Thieme for Advice
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Richard Frederick Thieme
Richard Frederick Thieme

Richard Frederick Thieme

author and speaker

ThiemeWorks

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Prized Accomplishment(s):
At DefCon 7 I moderated a panel that included the Asst Sec Defense who “dialogued” with 5000 hackers. I was asked to moderate because, according to a National Security Agency veteran, “You’re the only one in the room with the acceptance and respect of both the hacking community and the Feds."
Other Thoughts:
A friend at the NSA suggested I address the issues we discussed in a context of "ethical considerations for intelligence and security professionals" in fiction. "It's the only way you can tell the truth," he said. "The result is the story collection "Mind Games," published in 2010 by Duncan Long.
Career Profile:
I am an author and professional speaker focused on the deeper implications of technology, religion, and science for twenty-first century life. I address challenges posed by new technologies and the future, suggesting ways to redesign ourselves to meet these challenges creatively.
Plans For The Future:
I will continue to speak around the world. I will open and close the nullcon conference in New Delhi 26-29 September 2012 and am open to other opportunities in India. Will continue to write fiction and non-fiction and consult with private companies and governments. I will work and mine the edges.
Working Life Management:
Not a problem. Work is play, play is work. I renew myself with family, workouts, playing bridge, and engage deeply & joyously with the trickiest challenges posed by the consequences of technology. I love what I do and this renews my heart and soul. My colleagues are my best friends, worldwide.
Role Model:
Gary Webb inspired me. An investigative journalist, he illuminated connections between the CIA and the cocaine trade and paid a heavy price for it. "If we don't uncover and disclose the truth," he said, "then they win." They ruined his reputation & one day he ended it all. I still grieve his loss.
The Decisions That Matter
I have reinvented myself three times so know how to do that. I taught literature, then became an Anglican clergyman, then left ministry to speak and write full time about the consequences of technology - first seen in religion. Each change included and transcended all that came before. Courage!
Job Profile:
I am a self-starting independent thinker, writer, speaker. I am fed by many streams from diverse clients: National Security Agency; Pentagon; FBI; US Secret Service; Los Alamos National Laboratory; GE; Medtronic; Microsoft; universities and schools. They see life differently as a result of my work.
Degrees That Matter:
Life long learning, the only route to success, and the detours are how we get to our goals. I have a BA from Northwestern, an MA from the U of Chicago, and a M Div from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Honors at all of them e.g. Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, but clients are my best teachers.
Changes In The Professional Environment:
Change itself is changing at faster and faster rates, mandating cross-disciplinary learning, an ability to synthesize and integrate new input, know how to be a node in the network, not a command-and-control leader. We exercise power by participating and contributing, not dominating or controlling.
The Journey So Far:
For twenty years I have traveled the world and engaged with diverse smart people. A friend at CIA said, "you engage with so many different points of view, you're objective." He meant I know how to listen, mediate contradictions, balance opposing perspectives, yet still remember who I am.
Growth Strategy:
I continue to challenge myself by always being the least knowledgeable person in the room so I am always learning. I tolerate ambiguity, anxiety, paradox well and thrive on diversity. I live on the edges where new realities emerge before they move to the center so see them early and say them clearly
Advice For New Professionals:
Learn learn learn! Challenge yourself unceasingly. Experience ways of learning that do not come natural to you, value diverse points of view. Relish the other, love difference, and do not be afraid to be afraid. Spiritual truth is the only truth and your self or soul is the only tool you have.
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