Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the man who knew too little...,

Wired | How did Barr, a man with long experience in security and intelligence, come to spend his days as a CEO e-stalking clients and their wives on Facebook? Why did he start performing “reconnaissance” on the largest nuclear power company in the United States? Why did he suggest pressuring corporate critics to shut up, even as he privately insisted that corporations “suck the lifeblood out of humanity”? And why did he launch his ill-fated investigation into Anonymous, one which may well have destroyed his company and damaged his career?

Thanks to his leaked e-mails, the downward spiral is easy enough to retrace. Barr was under tremendous pressure to bring in cash, pressure which began on Nov. 23, 2009.

“A” players attract “A” players
That’s when Barr started the CEO job at HBGary Federal. Its parent company, the security firm HBGary, wanted a separate firm to handle government work and the clearances that went with it, and Barr was brought in from Northrup Grumman to launch the operation.

In an e-mail announcing Barr’s move, HBGary CEO Greg Hoglund told his company that “these two are A+ players in the DoD contracting space and are able to ‘walk the halls’ in customer spaces. Some very big players made offers to Ted and Aaron last week, and instead they chose HBGary. This reflects extremely well on our company. ‘A’ players attract ‘A’ players.”

Barr at first loved the job. In December, he sent an e-mail at 1:30am; it was the “3rd night in a row I have woken up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep because my mind is racing. It’s nice to be excited about work, but I need some sleep.”Barr had a huge list of contacts, but turning those contacts into contracts for government work with a fledgling company proved challenging. Less than a year into the job, HBGary Federal looked like it might go bust.

On Oct. 3, 2010, HBGary CEO Greg Hoglund told Aaron that “we should have a pow-wow about the future of HBGary Federal. [HBGary President] Penny and I both agree that it hasn’t really been a success… You guys are basically out of money and none of the work you had planned has come in.”

Aaron agreed. “This has not worked out as any of us have planned to date and we are nearly out of money,” he said.While he worked on government contracts, Barr drummed up a little business doing social media training for corporations using, in one of his slides, a bit of research into one Steven Paul Jobs.


ProfGeo said...

I haven't seen anyone (else) link the Anonymous/Barr story with this one:


I mean, it's the same adolescent behavior all around.

ProfGeo said...

Careful, we'll be in violent agreement. Same testosterone in play, different results. The folks at Wikipedia just cut the Bieber-lovers' easy access, and they went to play elsewhere-- so far. Anonymous didn't merely cut Barr off or tell him to go away, but he earned it. But in both cases, the bigger, uh, gun took the W.C. Fields role of "go away kid, ya bother me." BTW there's nothing in either scenario to confirm/deny high-school hormones behind the response from either Wikipedia or Anonymous. I'd expect a goodly amount (to stereotype from the fact that everyone involved is a computer geek) but I'm leaving it at what did the upstarts do, and what good did it do them.

Dale Asberry said...

Are you dissin' my eepy bird boyz?? Although not "high" science, they are cuh cuh cuh learly neuro atypicals having fun simply hacking the mundane. Isn't that the real "problem space"?

CNu said...

I'd expect a goodly amount (to stereotype from the fact that everyone involved is a computer geek) but I'm leaving it at what did the upstarts do, and what good did it do them.


o no you dit-ten!!!

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