Christian Espinosa is the Founder and CEO of Alpine Security, a cybersecurity engineer, certified high-performance coach, professor, and lover of heavy metal music and spicy food. He’s also an Air Force veteran and Ironman triathlete. He used to value being the “smartest guy in the room,” only to realize that his greatest contribution to the fight against cybercrime is his ability to bring awareness to the issue through effective communication. Christian is a speaker, coach, and trainer in the Secure methodology, helping to make the smartest people in the room the best leaders in the field. For more information, visit http://www.christianespinosa.com.
Describe yourself in five words
Authentic. Disruptor. Seeker. Adventurer. Restless.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I have over 300 skydives and have jumped out of hot air balloons, helicopters, jets, and inverted biplanes.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I visualize what is the worst that can happen and make sure I’m okay with it. I also look at a future version of myself and think about the regret I would feel by not getting over the self-doubt and fear.
What scares you the most?
Losing freedom and being caged, constrained, or “locked down”.
What makes you happiest?
Freedom to do what I want, when I want, where I want, and with who I want. I also feel happy knowing I’m helping make the world a better place, one person at a time, through my interactions, books, and example.
Why do you write?
I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned with others. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, paid a lot of “dumb tax”, and learned some key concepts. I want to help others avoid the pitfalls I made, improve their lives, and improve society.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but haven’t always made the time for it. It’s difficult for me to write if I don’t schedule it into my day. Just trying to fit it in my schedule or doing it when I feel like it doesn’t work for me.
What motivates you to write?
I’m motivated to get my message out to help others. I want to affect positive change. Like with my book “The Smartest Person in the Room”, I want to help technical leaders, help the cybersecurity industry, and improve our chances of stopping cybercriminals.
What writing are you most proud of?
The Secure Methodology I created for “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity”.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Finishing 22 Ironman triathlons.
What books did you love growing up?
Growing up I read a lot of Stephen King and science fiction. As I got older, I shifted to nonfiction books that I felt would help me in my life, such as Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
3 things. 1) that I lived an authentic life, wasn’t afraid to take risks, and “went for it”, 2) that I left everyone I interacted with in a better place, 3) that I worked hard to become a better person each day.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in Riverside, California until I was 12, then moved to Clarksville, Arkansas. These days I travel quite a bit. I wrote “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity” in numerous places – Missouri, Arizona, Ireland, and Portugal.
How did you develop your writing?
I’m a fan of putting things on paper, then revising it. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part. I’m an avid reader and have studied many books on writing.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing is the hardest. I used to think it was writing though. Writing is creative and inspirational. Marketing can be frustrating because you want your book to get noticed, but there’s a ton of noise out there and competition.
What marketing works for you?
I’m not sure I’ve found the magic formula for marketing. The best thing is to know your target audience and market to them – speak in terms they understand.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
No. I know my book has massive value, so I want to share it.
What else do you do, other than write?
I founded and run a cybersecurity company, Alpine Security. I sold Alpine Security to Cerberus Sentinel in December 2020. I’m now a Managing Director for Cerberus Sentinel, a cybersecurity services provider.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve had many jobs, such as the following:
- Grass mower
- Grape planter
- Chicken Eviscerator
- US Air Force Officer
- Cybersecurity Trainer
- University Professor
- Cybersecurity Executive
- Business Owner
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Kona (the Big Island), Hawaii.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
I aim for 7.5 hours.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Success to me is when my writing has made a positive impact on others. When someone’s life has improved because they read my book.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
My marketing campaign is aggressive. My target audience is technical leaders, ideally in cybersecurity. My campaign consists of media outreach, podcasts, social media, blog posts, Amazon ads, emails, interviews, etc.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
My new book is “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity”. I wrote this book because I went through a lot of pain and difficult struggles with my cybersecurity business. I figured a lot of things out though and wanted to share these lessons learned with others. As a cybersecurity business founder, owner, and CEO, my perspective shifted because necessity was much higher…if I didn’t figure the issues out in my organization and industry, I could lose everything. There was more at stake. I recall one of my team members telling me once that one of our clients “just didn’t get it” – meaning, the client didn’t understand the severity of the cybersecurity issues we discovered and didn’t know how to remedy the issues. I’d heard this phrase “they just don’t get it” or “they don’t understand” many times throughout my career. It hit me differently though this time and I realized that it is our role to make sure they get it. This made me realize the underlying issues in my industry – the general idea that a lot of highly technical people feel intellectually superior to others, so they posture, talk over people’s heads, etc. This is the real reason we are losing the cyberwar.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I would invite Hitler. I find it intriguing how one man can influence so many to do such atrocious things. I’d love to gain some insight into his way of thinking, personality, what trauma he was struggling with, how he justified his actions, etc.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope my 7 Step Secure Methodology will give people the awareness and tools needed to improve their lives. I want people to feel great about themselves and realize they are capable of more than they think they are.
Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?
My website: https://christianespinosa.com/
My book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T6QK6FN