Earlier this year, I was on a flight to San Francisco (I used to “commute” from NYC to SF every month). Since I don’t mind early morning flights, I was excited to catch up on work, reading, and ticking off my digital errands over the six hour flight. On my reading list was a Hacker News article about hiring. I had been on a Paul Graham essay binge, and it seemed like an appropriate follow-up. Seeing the HN page on my screen, the flight attendant politely asked, “Since you’re a hacker, I hope you don’t mind me asking… is it safe to use public WiFi?”
I was shocked. While much of the content on HN is by folks who can likely explain the difference between C++ and Java, based on her question, I deduced that she did not know this fact. I was taken aback that the publication’s title, HackerNews, told to her I was knew much (or anything at all) about public network security.
I told her my personal practice of avoiding accessing sensitive data on public WiFi networks, such as email, banking, or similar information, along with some small talk about how reliant we are as a community on technology.
It’s all about perspective. That trivial two-minute experience that left a lasting impression. A timely reminder for any aspiring entrepreneur to in mind at all times, what it is your customers see.