Editorial: Only the Good Die Young (Q1 2022 Issue)

Last year took many things from many people. Far from being a respite or improvement on the hell that was 2020, 2021 played out more like a sequel: freedoms were revoked, and lives were lost at the mercy of the ever-unforgiving pandemic.

I doubt many emerged unscathed, and as I look to 2022, full of hope that it will be the final part of a trilogy with a much happier ending, I feel reflective.

Last year took an awful lot from me personally, and in addition, work-life was also challenging, most notably when infosecurity-magazine.com was taken offline due to an unrelenting DDoS attack last summer. The DDoS was a moment in time that passed, or more accurately, tens of thousands of moments in time that passed.

While some things are moments in time, others are absolute. The loss of my dear friend, Tim Wilson, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Dark Reading, fell tragically and devastatingly into the latter category.

On November 23 2021, Tim lost his life to cancer. The news completely floored me.

On paper, Tim and I should never have been friends. Firstly, we both occupied the editor’s chair in two of the industry’s leading information security publications (“THE two best publications, treacle,” I can hear him saying now, raising a glass to cheers). We used to laugh about how, in theory, we should have been rivals. We had more than 20 years between us, not to mention the Atlantic Ocean, but those things were irrelevant from the day we met.

Tim and I reunited at a subsequent (ISC)2 Congress
Tim and I reunited at a subsequent (ISC)2 Congress

Tim and I first crossed paths in 2007 in Orlando, Florida. We were at an awards dinner at the (ISC)2 Congress, and he and I were placed next to each other on the seating plan. You can call it inevitable, you can call it serendipity, but to me, it was fate. I was a year into my role, and while I’d started to carve myself a place in the industry back home in the UK, I was yet to make a splash in the United States. In fact, I felt somewhat lost. 

It took moments to form a connection and the rest of the evening to build a friendship. Tim took me under his wing, introduced me to anyone and everyone and I never again felt lost when Stateside. His kindness, guidance and companionship wrapped me in a metaphorical (American flag) blanket and made me feel welcome. One of the most incredible things about Tim was his desire and willingness to elevate and promote others.

On the night we met, we also bonded over sharing war stories about people we’d interviewed or encountered in the industry that had treated us poorly. We created a league table for these less-than-desirable individuals, and over the 14 years of our friendship, we made additions, shifted positions and refreshed this fictional leader board. If you buy me a glass of wine, I’ll tell you what it was called. Buy me the bottle, and I’ll tell you who we placed in the top three!…

We were friends, we were peers, but we were never, ever rivals. Indeed, when Infosecurity came under DDoS fire, it was Tim I turned to. If I was struggling to find a reputable freelance writer in the US, it was Tim I’d trust for his opinion. If I needed to prop up the bar at a client or vendor party, it was Tim I’d invite to prop it up next to me.

Our jobs weren’t the only things we had in common. We shared a love of literature, a preference for escaping crowded post-conference parties for deeper conversation over dinner and drinks, a passion for our families and a mutual desire to make the industry better.

We often celebrated the end of RSA Conference with a day of wine tasting in Napa Valley. Here with our friend, Michelle Schafer
We often celebrated the end of RSA Conference with a day of wine tasting in Napa Valley. Here with our friend, Michelle Schafer

Tim and I believed that collaboration makes the industry stronger, and we practiced what we preached by sharing knowledge, ideas and warnings about industry divas.

When infosecurity-magazine.com went down temporarily last summer, I’d tweet links to Dark Reading stories. My followers still needed news, and there was no other site I’d rather we share our readers with.

What Tim achieved with Dark Reading was incredible. He was the spine, the heart, the very core of that publication. Our global organization has a saying, ‘copy with pride’, it’s part of the culture at RELX and each business unit is encouraged to learn from its peers and implement (‘copy’) best practice. While I would never say we copied Dark Reading, we dance to the beat of our own drum, I look to Dark Reading as an example of a publication that is getting it right. I was inspired by Tim’s leadership and have a huge amount of respect for the content that the team at Dark Reading produce.

My heart goes out to his Dark Reading team, his ‘cyber defender’ friends (I’m looking at you, Michelle) and of course, most importantly, to his family and two beautiful daughters, Ginger and Gwen.

I dedicate the Q1 2022  issue of Infosecurity to my wonderful friend, Tim Wilson. Fourteen years of friendship with you wasn’t enough, Tim, but if you taught me enough to be half the editor and leader that you were, that’d do for me.

Here’s to 2022, hopefully the final part of the trilogy…

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