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Richard Thieme

Speaker? Yes. Consultant? Yes. Trainer? No. Entertainer? No.
Corporate Alliance? No. Security Alliance? Yes.


An extremely rich life as a college lit teacher (Phi Beta Kappa Northwestern U and NDEA Title IV Fellow at the U of Chicago), an Episcopal priest (M. Div.) serving parishes in Utah, Hawaii, and Wisconsin, and an internationally recognized writer on the human implications of technology. Published in many languages and taught in universities around the world.

Contributing Editor for Information Security Magazine


A business consultant, writer, and professional speaker, Thieme is focused on "life on the edge," in particular the human dimension of technology and the work place, change management and organizational effectiveness.

He is a member of the "cyber avant-garde," according to CNN ... "a father figure for online culture," according to the (London) Sunday Telegraph ... "a keen observer of attitudes and behaviors" according to Le Monde (Paris) ... and "an online pundit of hacker culture" according to the L A Times.

Thieme has spoken seven times for the Black Hat Briefings (intelligence and security) and eight times for Def Con, the annual computer hackers' convention. At DefCon VIII, he moderated a panel that included the Assistant Secretary of Defense and others who came to "dialogue" with thousands of hackers. He was invited to moderate, according to the National Security Agency veteran who asked, "because you're the only one in the room accepted and respect by both hackers and Feds."

Presentation Titles and Description


Masters of the Unseen: The Art of Information Warfare

The technical details of information security can be described, checklists generated, policies approved ... but true mastery of the art of information warfare and system security is more subtle than that. Drawing on conversations with the best and brightest in the infosec field, Richard Thieme illuminates heuristics of this subtle art and craft and shows why wisdom is often found in out-of-the-way places.

Staying Centered While Living on the Edge

Life can resemble a batting cage where sliders and curve balls are coming in way too fast. There are things we can do both at work and in our lives to manage the flow when it threatens to get out of control. Drawing on the practical experience of sixteen years of ministry, Thieme illuminates what it takes to walk that tightrope.

Defending the Information Web: New Ways of Thinking About Security

Security is not about applying the latest fix, using buzzwords, or patching broken platforms. Security must be understood in light of the new global battlespace in which boundaries are more like moebius strips, context is content, and the mind of society is both target and weapon.

Security is intrinsic to the architecture of every system. Any link in the critical security path can be the weakest link in the system, including the definition of the problem. And the real definition of the problem is often not what we think.

If wisdom and insanity are contextual, as Thieme claims, how can we tell one from the other? What does real security look like?

The Challenge to our Humanity: The New Global Battlespace and What it Takes to Remain Free

The threat of terrorism demands a response characterized by our best thinking, a commitment to doing whatever it takes to sustain an optimal way of life, and a willingness to understand the sources of profound changes in our society. Learn why the FBI at their Infragard SuperConference told Thieme "you hit a home run" with this presentation.

Creativity and Innovation: How it Happens, How to Make it Likely to Happen

Thieme has lived his entire life on the edges, observing creative men and women generate new opportunities literally from nothing. What produces the conditions in which creativity and innovation are likely to flourish? What kind of leadership sustains creativity? What - in a nutshell - works?


All keynote topics can be presented as workshops or seminars which turn insights into practical take-home lessons. In addition, Thieme specifically addresses ...

The Difference it Makes Being Different: Dealing Realistically with Diversity A white middle-aged male who has lived as a "minority" in five cultures illuminates how to live with dignity and power in a diverse world. A unique "diversity" presentation that builds bridges between "dominants" and "minorities" and connects a better future to the realities of the past. Blending Families

The dynamics of mergers often have more to do with blending different cultures and leadership styles than with economies of scale. Using experience from a real "blended family," this presentation illuminates those dynamics and what it takes to tough it out and make it through.

TechnoCultureShock - Why it Keeps Going, and Going, and Going

The ongoing impact of computer technology on people and organizations and how we can stay flexible and effective during times of accelerating change.

The Stock Market, UFO's, and Religious Experience

How can we distinguish what we really see from what we think we see? An exploration of money, the markets, and our uniquely human capacity for self-deception. The psychology of investment as you've never heard it before. Spirituality and Religion in the Digital Era

Just as the founders of our modern-day religions emerged in human history when writing became ubiquitous ... just as the invention of the printing press with movable type was a catalyst for the explosion of denominational religion ... so too, electronic media are engines of spiritual and religious transformation that include and transcend what came before.

What will religious communities look like in a digital era characterized by embedded computing, genetic engineering, and trans-planetary life? How will images of God change and what new possibilities will they disclose? What kinds of practical dynamic spirituality will be viable?


Thieme has published widely in periodicals. Translated into German, Chinese, Japanese, Slovene, Danish, Hebrew and Indonesian, his articles are taught at universities in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States. His column, "Islands in the Clickstream," has been published by the Business Times of Singapore, Convergence (Toronto), and South Africa Computer Magazine (Capetown) and is distributed to subscribers in 60+ countries. To view archived copies please contact Four Seasons for the address.

Selected Articles

"Computer Security is No Sure Thing" -- An account of the author of Applied Cryptography and the Blowfish and Twofish algorithms from the perfect world of mathematics to the messy world of computer security. - Forbes Digital

"Hacking the Future" -- An article in defense of computer hacking, properly understood. Village Voice and LA Weekly.

"Cyborg Creep" - how wearable computers and ubiquitous wireless environments undermine independence and compromise security. Information Security ("21 Infosec Experts Explore the State of the Industry at the Turn of the Century.")

Interviews with John Sekevitch, Richard M. Smith, Bruce Schneier, Marcus Ranum, Daniel Geer, Jennifer Granick, Bill Tafoya, Stephen Northcutt, Richard Clarke, Ron Dick, Stash Jarocki, Ian Goldberg, Becky Bace, Howard Schmidt, Whit Diffie, profiles of Robert Weaver (Secret Service) and James Atkinson (TSCM) and a Roundtable with Matt Bishop, Gary Jackson, Phil Porras, and Bill Cheswick -- published in Information Security.

"Designing the Future" -- how the skills and mind set of former underground hackers bring unique value to business and government clients. Forbes Digital.

"Don Quixote Goes Digital" -- the end of "the golden age of hacking." Salon Magazine.

articles and stories in: Information Security, Secure Business Quarterly, LAN Magazine, Village Voice, LA Weekly, South Africa Computer Magazine, Wired, Counterpunch, Common Dreams, alternet, Forbes Digital, Internet Underground, .net, Internet Today, Computing Japan, Business Times of Singapore, Convergence, Computer Underground Digest, CTHEORY, DoubleClick, Ethical Spectacle, Small Business Times, Computer Mediated Communication, Skeptica (Denmark), Analog, Ascent, Anotherealm, Small Business Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Jewish Chronicle

articles anthologized in: Digital Delirium, Cyber Reader II, and Cyberculture (UK)

Media Bytes Or Testimonials

Thieme is "a hacker philosopher journalist sage whose presentations at security and hacking conventions are always well-attended and well-received. At Def Con he was the only speaker to receive a standing ovation. He speaks eloquently about the relationships between technology, people, and spirituality and always speaks straight to the heart of important matters right at the front of the audience's collective mind. He is very subtle ... and extremely deep."
- The Linux Journal

"You could have heard a pin drop while you were speaking, your presentation was so interesting and stimulating. The standing ovation said it all! ... We have had some of the best speakers in the United States -- Milton Friedman, Newt Gingrich, George Bush, Alan Greenspan, George Gilder, Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker, Beryl Sprinkel ... and now Richard Thieme."
- The Economic Club of Sheboygan

"You were dynamite! Those in attendance, including the Attorney General, were mesmerized by your remarks. I am told that the General Counsel of the U. S. Department of the Treasury thought it worth the trip from Washington to hear your presentation."
Office of the Attorney General
State of Wisconsin
Department of Justice


For fee information, please contact (262) 853-4627.

Travels From And Travel Requirements

From Milwaukee Wisconsin

Flights under three hours, coach. Over three hours and all international, business class.

Hotel and meals as appropriate to the engagement.

Who Should Hire Richard And Why

The most diverse range of audiences and clients -- from billion dollar companies to security and intelligence experts to educators to associations of people from all walks of life -- consistently say after Thieme has spoken:

You made me think.

That sums up what Richard does best. His humor is natural and real, his sensitivity, deep life experience, and compassion are evident ... yet again and again, people say after a presentation:

You made me think.

If you want to see things differently ... understand more deeply ... see options and possibilities for vibrant living more clearly ... if you want to think ... Richard Thieme is the one you want.

Richard Thieme

Favorite Quote

"If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn't call it research, would we?"

- Albert Einstein