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Digital Security, Footprints and Disaster Preparedness
Episode 1626th September 2023 • Have You Thought About • Dhruti Shah
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Leigh Honeywell is founder of digital security company Tall Poppy and shares the highs and lows of building a tech company from scratch but what has piqued her interest in disaster preparedness and housing advocacy

Transcripts

Leigh Honeywell:

Hi, I'm Dhruti Shah, and this is my podcast

Leigh Honeywell:

Have You Thought About. Thank you for joining us for season

Leigh Honeywell:

two. I'm a writer and I love to find out about what passions

Leigh Honeywell:

people are pursuing. And also what makes them tick the

Leigh Honeywell:

podcasts for those who are at a reckoning and tired of being

Leigh Honeywell:

told you can really just have this one focus just one thing

Leigh Honeywell:

that makes you you. In each edition, I'm going to chat with

Leigh Honeywell:

someone who breaks these lines and who's managed to fit things

Leigh Honeywell:

together in their life or profession that you might not

Leigh Honeywell:

think of as an obvious match. You're about to hear me chatting

Leigh Honeywell:

with Leigh Honeywell, a digital security expert, founder and CEO

Leigh Honeywell:

of Tall Poppy, and someone who has a passion for disaster

Leigh Honeywell:

preparedness and activism.

Dhruti Shah:

Now Leigh, you've got over a decade's experience

Dhruti Shah:

in computer security. And you've worked with some pretty big

Dhruti Shah:

names before setting up a very unusual company. So tell us a

Dhruti Shah:

little bit more about your background and journey Tall

Dhruti Shah:

Poppy.

Leigh Honeywell:

I think the the thing that I love the most about

Leigh Honeywell:

working on Tall Poppy is that it really combines my sort of past

Leigh Honeywell:

day jobs and educational background and computer science

Leigh Honeywell:

where I was working at big companies like Microsoft,

Leigh Honeywell:

Salesforce, and eventually Slack doing somewhat traditional

Leigh Honeywell:

cybersecurity work, although I was fortunate to get to do

Leigh Honeywell:

pretty cutting edge stuff, protecting companies protecting

Leigh Honeywell:

infrastructure, all of that stuff, super important and very,

Leigh Honeywell:

like formative in my career.

Leigh Honeywell:

And at the same time I was doing a lot of activist work has been

Leigh Honeywell:

organising, and being able to combine the two in the way that

Leigh Honeywell:

we work with individuals and in many cases, individuals who are

Leigh Honeywell:

themselves fighting for social change and social justice. I

Leigh Honeywell:

think that's something that I find really fulfilling about the

Leigh Honeywell:

current work and the work that we do with Tall Poppy.

Dhruti Shah:

What is Tall Poppy, for people who think maybe it's

Dhruti Shah:

like something gardening related, what is this cool thing

Dhruti Shah:

that you've actually created?

Leigh Honeywell:

So we're a cybersecurity company focused on

Leigh Honeywell:

personal cybersecurity. So, you know, many people have done this

Leigh Honeywell:

sort of like you work at a big company, and you have to do the

Leigh Honeywell:

security training that's like, don't click on the phishing

Leigh Honeywell:

email and get the company hacked. Our focus is really

Leigh Honeywell:

making sure that people don't get hacked, and people don't

Leigh Honeywell:

experience cybersecurity issues as well as more broad or

Leigh Honeywell:

personal security issues. We originally came at it from the

Leigh Honeywell:

angle of online harassment, that that was like the big like blow

Leigh Honeywell:

up issue that people were dealing with these sort of

Leigh Honeywell:

online mobbing things and cyber stalking all of this. People

Leigh Honeywell:

sometimes use the term cyber bullying, which I've always

Leigh Honeywell:

found it like, it's just bullying, it happens to be on a

Leigh Honeywell:

computer, but it's, you know, it's and I think calling it

Leigh Honeywell:

bullying, in many ways, also sort of takes away from the

Leigh Honeywell:

severity of some of the stuff that we've dealt with where it's

Leigh Honeywell:

very much like, full on like criminal stalking. I've never

Leigh Honeywell:

been one to really like that, that sort of cyber bullying

Leigh Honeywell:

thing, I think diminishes a little bit of the threats that

Leigh Honeywell:

people face. So really, the focus is that sort of personal

Leigh Honeywell:

cybersecurity, outside of the corporate firewall, protecting

Leigh Honeywell:

people's personal accounts, personal information, and

Leigh Honeywell:

personal safety.

Dhruti Shah:

But how did you make that move from taking

Dhruti Shah:

perhaps more secure roles? And being like, No, I'm gonna go

Dhruti Shah:

away and recreate this app create this thing that's

Dhruti Shah:

actually quite at the vanguard. There's not a lot of things out

Dhruti Shah:

there, like what you've created. So how did you take that risk as

Dhruti Shah:

it were

Leigh Honeywell:

The fortune and the misfortune, I think the

Leigh Honeywell:

fortune is that I was in a position where I'd been working

Leigh Honeywell:

in tech for a bunch of years, I had some savings, I had a

Leigh Honeywell:

network, I had access to venture capital. So in many ways, I was

Leigh Honeywell:

very fortunate. And then the misfortune is, sometimes there's

Leigh Honeywell:

an itch that nobody else has scratched yet, and you got to be

Leigh Honeywell:

the one to scratch it. And I actually came up with the idea

Leigh Honeywell:

that would eventually become Tall Poppy, all the way back in

Leigh Honeywell:

2014. During the the GamerGate crisis, when all of these women

Leigh Honeywell:

video game journalists and critics were getting attacked

Leigh Honeywell:

online by like a horde of weirdos who really had too much

Leigh Honeywell:

time on their hands. This sort of idea came to me that like,

Leigh Honeywell:

how do we get leverage to support people who are dealing

Leigh Honeywell:

with stuff like this? And you know, when you think about who

Leigh Honeywell:

can be the sort of payor for stuff like this, it could be the

Leigh Honeywell:

individual - that seems that sucks. It could be like

Leigh Honeywell:

governments or agencies, sort of the nonprofit world, or when

Leigh Honeywell:

it's people that have a job, shouldn't the employer have a

Leigh Honeywell:

duty of care, to protect people who are dealing with these

Leigh Honeywell:

personal security, personal safety issues in the course of

Leigh Honeywell:

their job.

Leigh Honeywell:

And that was the real lightning bolt moment was like, Oh, this

Leigh Honeywell:

is something that like, companies should be paying for

Leigh Honeywell:

to protect their staff. So came up with the idea all the way

Leigh Honeywell:

back in 2014. But I was living in the US on a visa, and you're

Leigh Honeywell:

not allowed to like start companies on the visa that I was

Leigh Honeywell:

on. So I was like, Ah, I guess I'm just gonna, like keep

Leigh Honeywell:

thinking about this for four years until I got my green card.

Leigh Honeywell:

And then I got my green card in February 2018. And I

Leigh Honeywell:

incorporated in April. So that was like, I was kind of like,

Leigh Honeywell:

well, nobody else has done this. Clearly, this is something that

Leigh Honeywell:

I still need to do. It's I've still been thinking about it. I

Leigh Honeywell:

still see it as a need in the world. And the rest is history.

Dhruti Shah:

Your passion - how did you make sure that it was

Dhruti Shah:

maintained? Because four years is a long time, especially in

Dhruti Shah:

the tech world.

Leigh Honeywell:

If you leave it at that timeframe, there was an

Leigh Honeywell:

election in 2016. That was pretty stressful living in the

Leigh Honeywell:

States as somebody like as an immigrant, there was a lot of

Leigh Honeywell:

things going on day to day, but I kept doing the work

Leigh Honeywell:

fundamentally in my evenings and weekends working one on one with

Leigh Honeywell:

individuals who were dealing with these like severe personal

Leigh Honeywell:

security issues.

Leigh Honeywell:

Whether it was because of activism, whether it was like,

Leigh Honeywell:

you know, connected to an intimate partner violence

Leigh Honeywell:

scenario or intimate partner abuse, we saw a real rise in

Leigh Honeywell:

that time in a type of malware called stalker wear, which is

Leigh Honeywell:

spousewhere, which is like an even creepier term, this is sort

Leigh Honeywell:

of apps that people would installon their significant

Leigh Honeywell:

others phones, either with or without their knowledge, and

Leigh Honeywell:

then use them to surveil things like location. And there's also

Leigh Honeywell:

you know, mobile devices have built in functionality that

Leigh Honeywell:

allows for that kind of surveillance stuff like the Find

Leigh Honeywell:

My, in iOS, like, you know, you can consensually share your

Leigh Honeywell:

location with people sometimes that's like a healthy and good

Leigh Honeywell:

thing, if it's like a parent who's trying to keep track of

Leigh Honeywell:

like a small child, but in an abusive situation that can be

Leigh Honeywell:

really, really scary. So really sort of tracking that arc of the

Leigh Honeywell:

field, staying current with threats that people were facing.

Leigh Honeywell:

And then when I had this sort of logistical opportunity, and the

Leigh Honeywell:

time was right, for me, personally, I was able to, you

Leigh Honeywell:

know, actually start the company and hit the ground running

Leigh Honeywell:

because I had been keeping up to date. And I also spent a lot of

Leigh Honeywell:

time, it's sort of cheesy, but like learning about

Leigh Honeywell:

entrepreneurship, and like talking to other people who

Leigh Honeywell:

started companies and learning all that stuff, so that when I

Leigh Honeywell:

was actually logistically able to, particularly with the visa

Leigh Honeywell:

stuff, I was able to start the company.

Dhruti Shah:

You're a founder, you're not a conventional type

Dhruti Shah:

of founder. So what's that journey been like?

Leigh Honeywell:

Ups and downs but generally trending upwards.

Leigh Honeywell:

I think the.. it has been harder in ways that I didn't

Leigh Honeywell:

anticipate. And some of the things have been easier stuff

Leigh Honeywell:

that's been harder has been things like fundraising, there's

Leigh Honeywell:

an oft touted statistic that 3% of venture capital is raised by

Leigh Honeywell:

women, which is pretty depressing, if you think about,

Leigh Honeywell:

like, some of the big brands and names in the world that were

Leigh Honeywell:

founded by women. And I think every woman founder goes into

Leigh Honeywell:

this being like, Oh, I know, it's 3%. But it can't be that

Leigh Honeywell:

hard, right? Like, I'm really good at what I do. There's

Leigh Honeywell:

always this sort of, like, I didn't follow up on that one

Leigh Honeywell:

email, maybe it's not, maybe I'm not dealing with bias, maybe

Leigh Honeywell:

it's actually just that, like, I suck personally right? Then I

Leigh Honeywell:

come back to like, 3%. That's pretty bad. That's pretty bad.

Leigh Honeywell:

So I'm very fortunate to have some fantastic investors on, you

Leigh Honeywell:

know, on my cap table that have believed in the company that

Leigh Honeywell:

believed in me and my team, but I think the the fundraising

Leigh Honeywell:

thing has been legitimately really, really hard.

Leigh Honeywell:

Hopefully, by the time this podcast comes out, we'll have

Leigh Honeywell:

some exciting news to share. So stay tuned. It's been a slog, I

Leigh Honeywell:

think that's the technical term, the stuff that's been easier

Leigh Honeywell:

that people I feel like constantly complain about, I

Leigh Honeywell:

hear other founders being like, man, it's so hard to hire, it's

Leigh Honeywell:

so hard to like, get the word out. And I think we have the

Leigh Honeywell:

sort of fortune of this is an issue that people care a lot

Leigh Honeywell:

about, and want to work on. And so, you know, when we've been

Leigh Honeywell:

recruiting when we've been hiring, we've just had like, a

Leigh Honeywell:

tonne of incredible, incredible people apply. I feel like, if I

Leigh Honeywell:

had the budget, I could hire twice as like, I could double

Leigh Honeywell:

the team tomorrow, which would be challenging for like other

Leigh Honeywell:

cultural reasons.

Leigh Honeywell:

But I think the I've been very, very fortunate that hiring

Leigh Honeywell:

amazing people has been relatively easy compared to what

Leigh Honeywell:

I hear from other people. And, and also just like, we've done

Leigh Honeywell:

basically no marketing since day one, and we're doing like,

Leigh Honeywell:

pretty good. And a lot of that has been that like people like

Leigh Honeywell:

you want to talk about this stuff. And I'm really, really

Leigh Honeywell:

grateful for that. So we actually have our first

Leigh Honeywell:

marketing intern right now. She's been making TikToks It's

Leigh Honeywell:

very exciting. Figuring out the things that are hard for us that

Leigh Honeywell:

are easy for others. And the other way around has been a

Leigh Honeywell:

really like interesting part of the journey.

Dhruti Shah:

You're awesome. Just gonna keep saying that

Dhruti Shah:

every so often. But how do people discover who you are? You

Dhruti Shah:

have a marketing intern now? Is it word of mouth? And also not

Dhruti Shah:

just people in terms of who need what tall poppy offers what you

Dhruti Shah:

offer? But the investors too? Is it a lot of cold calling? Is it

Dhruti Shah:

a lot of Oh, actually, here's one person who really believes

Dhruti Shah:

me? Can they recommend me to somebody else? Like how does it

Dhruti Shah:

actually work? Because it feels like connections are actually

Dhruti Shah:

quite important in this game, in the investor game.

Leigh Honeywell:

It's been super interesting, seeing how the word

Leigh Honeywell:

of mouth and networks work in this field, a couple of the ways

Leigh Honeywell:

that we've gotten the word out, I used to be very active on

Leigh Honeywell:

Twitter R.I.P. And so certainly like social and the social

Leigh Honeywell:

presence, a lot of referrals, we've worked with a number of

Leigh Honeywell:

particularly trust and safety teams. So these are the teams

Leigh Honeywell:

that tech companies who they ban the like internet Nazis or

Leigh Honeywell:

whatever the sort of current mode of nastiness is, those

Leigh Honeywell:

teams are the folks that do content moderation. And one

Leigh Honeywell:

thing that we found is that the trust and safety community is

Leigh Honeywell:

very tightknit, everybody knows each other. And so when we ended

Leigh Honeywell:

up working with a couple of like, major company platforms,

Leigh Honeywell:

whose names start with T, the sort of diaspora of folks from

Leigh Honeywell:

those companies, who now work at other companies tend to like

Leigh Honeywell:

bring us in in subsequent roles. So we've seen a lot of business

Leigh Honeywell:

come that way as people move around in these various roles,

Leigh Honeywell:

doing sort of media talking about what we do, I think has

Leigh Honeywell:

been really useful in terms of just... a thing that I learned

Leigh Honeywell:

in the sort of like, as I'm learning how to do say, like,

Leigh Honeywell:

I'm a security person I, computer scientist, like I'm not

Leigh Honeywell:

a business person by training and learning how to do sales has

Leigh Honeywell:

been a big piece of like, what I sort of didn't even know what I

Leigh Honeywell:

didn't know, going into this.

Leigh Honeywell:

A big thing has been this sort of like idea of educating people

Leigh Honeywell:

about the thing that we do even exists, right, I think that's

Leigh Honeywell:

one of the really interesting challenges of building something

Leigh Honeywell:

new is that people don't even realise that there might be a

Leigh Honeywell:

solution to the problem that they're having. So just

Leigh Honeywell:

literally just like talking to people talking to like you about

Leigh Honeywell:

what we're doing is one of the most important things that we've

Leigh Honeywell:

been doing in terms of the sort of like promotion of the thing.

Leigh Honeywell:

So one of the other things that we've been doing is engaging in

Leigh Honeywell:

the sort of civil society efforts around fighting online,

Leigh Honeywell:

there's different terms used in different places, I think the UK

Leigh Honeywell:

is using online harms a fair bit as a sort of catch all term.

Leigh Honeywell:

Other places use online violence, and online harassment

Leigh Honeywell:

is the sort of traditional term, but all of these different

Leigh Honeywell:

things, there's a group out of the International Women's Media

Leigh Honeywell:

Fund called the coalition against online violence. And

Leigh Honeywell:

we've been highly engaged in that for the past two years, we

Leigh Honeywell:

have sort of regular calls and talk around what are the

Leigh Honeywell:

different efforts in the world in like civil society, nonprofit

Leigh Honeywell:

land around combating online harms, that's been a really

Leigh Honeywell:

important way for us to like, give back, because, you know, we

Leigh Honeywell:

are a commercial for profit company, although we're not

Leigh Honeywell:

profitable yet. But being able to participate in that dialogue

Leigh Honeywell:

in that discourse, and be a resource and service provider to

Leigh Honeywell:

that to that community in the various communities that they

Leigh Honeywell:

support has been really important to us.

Dhruti Shah:

So just to make sure that we break it down for

Dhruti Shah:

the audience. Like if you're an individual, can you download Tor

Dhruti Shah:

puppy? Or is it something you have to get your company to sign

Dhruti Shah:

up for? And then just again, very quickly, what happens once

Dhruti Shah:

you log on? Like, how does it help you?

Leigh Honeywell:

Yeah, so we currently only sell to

Leigh Honeywell:

businesses, we really don't want to be charging individual

Leigh Honeywell:

consumers for the work that we do. So our like official product

Leigh Honeywell:

is something that we only sell to businesses and organisations.

Leigh Honeywell:

The other things in terms of the participation in the ecosystem,

Leigh Honeywell:

we work with a number of groups that provide public and free

Leigh Honeywell:

resources. Back in the summer, we released a new guide to

Leigh Honeywell:

staying safe online on the Feminist Frequency games

Leigh Honeywell:

harassment hotline, website. So that was actually a guide that

Leigh Honeywell:

was originally produced in 2014. And this was the first big

Leigh Honeywell:

update of this guide in quite a few years. And we're really,

Leigh Honeywell:

really proud of having been able to contribute to that we did the

Leigh Honeywell:

sort of tech editing of it.

Leigh Honeywell:

We're also involved in a number of other projects that that

Leigh Honeywell:

provide public resources for individuals who aren't

Leigh Honeywell:

necessarily like coming through a company. One of my favourite

Leigh Honeywell:

resources along those lines is the Consumer Reports security

Leigh Honeywell:

planner, this is a free public tool that anyone can use to

Leigh Honeywell:

improve their overall personal cybersecurity and personal

Leigh Honeywell:

safety practices. It's really like the best product on the

Leigh Honeywell:

market for the general public. So I highly, highly recommend

Leigh Honeywell:

checking that out, I believe, at securityplanner.org.

Leigh Honeywell:

And then we have an extensive public resources page, where we

Leigh Honeywell:

link to all of this different stuff, a whole number of

Leigh Honeywell:

resources, both from the sort of tech support, like how do you

Leigh Honeywell:

keep people from hacking into your stuff, but also the sort of

Leigh Honeywell:

psychosocial support because I think that's one of the things

Leigh Honeywell:

that I mean, you can say cybersecurity very broadly, but

Leigh Honeywell:

also specifically talking about stuff like online violence. We

Leigh Honeywell:

don't talk enough about how like upsetting and frankly

Leigh Honeywell:

traumatising, some of this stuff can be even if it's just like

Leigh Honeywell:

just a scam, or just some sort of like untargeted attack, it

Leigh Honeywell:

can still be like really upsetting to people. And I think

Leigh Honeywell:

making sure that folks have that sort of psychosocial support and

Leigh Honeywell:

resources is really important to me.

Leigh Honeywell:

So to your actual question of like, if somebody works at a

Leigh Honeywell:

company that we work with, what is the process, we do two

Leigh Honeywell:

things, we have a web app that can scale to like an entire

Leigh Honeywell:

company, it walks people through protecting themselves

Leigh Honeywell:

proactively as well as if you do become the target of online

Leigh Honeywell:

harassment, what are the things that you can do to mitigate and

Leigh Honeywell:

reduce the harm, we also provide Incident Response support within

Leigh Honeywell:

the context of our like customer base.

Leigh Honeywell:

So you know, folks can obviously self serve through the app, or

Leigh Honeywell:

we will get on the phone with them and walk them through

Leigh Honeywell:

threat assessment, potentially working with law enforcement, if

Leigh Honeywell:

that's something they're comfortable with all the sort of

Leigh Honeywell:

asterisks of law enforcement like really struggles to deal

Leigh Honeywell:

with this stuff. And also, lots of people do not feel

Leigh Honeywell:

comfortable interacting with law enforcement for many very valid

Leigh Honeywell:

reasons. So we've got this web app that we built, we roll out

Leigh Honeywell:

broadly, we also do a sort of executive service where we go

Leigh Honeywell:

over one on one with folks and typically this is, you know,

Leigh Honeywell:

going by the name its executives is particularly high profile

Leigh Honeywell:

people within an organisation and it is a more expensive

Leigh Honeywell:

service because it requires a human to like interact with the

Leigh Honeywell:

person. So we don't tend to roll that out super super broadly

Leigh Honeywell:

within organisations, but we do two big things there.

Leigh Honeywell:

One is what we call the digital footprint assessment. In the

Leigh Honeywell:

digital footprint assessment, the sort of like joking way I

Leigh Honeywell:

explain it, but it's like pretty accurate is we basically like

Leigh Honeywell:

cyberstalk you with your consent. So if I was really mad

Leigh Honeywell:

at Dhruti, what would I find about her on the internet?

Dhruti Shah:

Too much

Leigh Honeywell:

We do that, walk through people's like

Leigh Honeywell:

online profile, use a bunch of tools to figure out, you know,

Leigh Honeywell:

what kind of data breaches has your email address been. And

Leigh Honeywell:

therefore I can find out your like, Neopets account from 2014,

Leigh Honeywell:

or whatever, hey, you might want to reset the password to that,

Leigh Honeywell:

because I found the password and it reached up and stuff like

Leigh Honeywell:

that. So that's the digital footprint assessment. And then

Leigh Honeywell:

the second piece is an advanced security review. This is where a

Leigh Honeywell:

deep dive one on one interview, where we go over, like how to

Leigh Honeywell:

use technology. And then we make customised recommendations based

Leigh Honeywell:

on how you're currently using stuff, and and what you could do

Leigh Honeywell:

to secure the stuff that you already use.

Dhruti Shah:

See, it's so weird, because a lot of what you say

Dhruti Shah:

makes common sense. But you are at the vanguard of a lot of this

Dhruti Shah:

in terms of like the company itself in terms of the way that

Dhruti Shah:

you've been thinking in terms of the conversations that you're

Dhruti Shah:

having. So that's the let me sort of segueway a little bit,

Dhruti Shah:

you're clearly multi talented, multifaceted, how do you not

Dhruti Shah:

break with so many ideas with such a big brain and so many

Dhruti Shah:

different things going on, and also the fact that you're

Dhruti Shah:

working in security, and it's quite, it's not necessarily the

Dhruti Shah:

most positive space to be in constantly.

Leigh Honeywell:

I think a big thing for me has always been in

Leigh Honeywell:

terms of making this work sustainable and not too crazy

Leigh Honeywell:

making is really like identifying what is the small

Leigh Honeywell:

chunk of the world that I can break off and fix in a very,

Leigh Honeywell:

like, small contained way. And I do have a zillion projects on

Leigh Honeywell:

the go. Or at least on the planning board, I feel like

Leigh Honeywell:

being able to make like little bits of progress on all of them

Leigh Honeywell:

makes me feel really happy. Even if I'm not like getting

Leigh Honeywell:

obviously top hobbies my day job. That's like the thing I'm

Leigh Honeywell:

the most focused on.

Leigh Honeywell:

But my other sort of like hats that I'm wearing right now are,

Leigh Honeywell:

I'm on the board of a local nonprofit that's doing housing

Leigh Honeywell:

advocacy. So we have a housing crisis in Canada, which is

Leigh Honeywell:

bonkers. So much space, every time I say that out loud. I'm

Leigh Honeywell:

like, this is the most ridiculous thing ever. But the

Leigh Honeywell:

reality is that Canada has built the fewest houses per population

Leigh Honeywell:

of any country in the G20. I have been an immigrant in the

Leigh Honeywell:

States, I very deeply and I strongly believe in immigration

Leigh Honeywell:

to Canada.

Leigh Honeywell:

But there's something about like, if we actually want to be

Leigh Honeywell:

welcoming, we have to build houses, I've been really

Leigh Honeywell:

involved in this local nonprofit and literally talking about like

Leigh Honeywell:

changing little tiny bits of the world. I show up at these like

Leigh Honeywell:

zoom housing consultation meetings for like an 18 unit

Leigh Honeywell:

apartment building that people are like up in arms about, oh,

Leigh Honeywell:

you're gonna cast a shadow over my backyard or like, this is

Leigh Honeywell:

going to add all this traffic on this, like really high traffic

Leigh Honeywell:

street. And I was like, Hey, we are in a housing crisis in a

Leigh Honeywell:

climate crisis. Can we get this building built, please. And one

Leigh Honeywell:

of the really powerful things that I learned about housing a

Leigh Honeywell:

few years ago, which honestly just was one of those, like,

Leigh Honeywell:

total mind blowing moments is the people who are already here,

Leigh Honeywell:

they are the ones that are showing up at these meetings to

Leigh Honeywell:

say like, I don't want this, I don't want more neighbours. The

Leigh Honeywell:

people who are not yet in those 18 units, we don't know who they

Leigh Honeywell:

are, they don't know to show up at that Zoom meeting. And so it

Leigh Honeywell:

is the responsibility of those of us who are already here who

Leigh Honeywell:

know that this is a problem to show up and be like, No,

Leigh Honeywell:

actually, we need to build this building. One of my big hobby

Leigh Honeywell:

horses right now is housing.

Dhruti Shah:

Can I just throw something into the mix? Because

Dhruti Shah:

actually, I'd quite like to hear your thoughts on this because I

Dhruti Shah:

was at a conference very recently, where you mentioned

Dhruti Shah:

climate and people were talking about something similar with

Dhruti Shah:

nature. And people being a voice for nature, like representing

Dhruti Shah:

the rivers or representing particular elements of nature in

Dhruti Shah:

those meetings, whether it's planning meetings, or like

Dhruti Shah:

government meetings, but what you're doing is at a smaller

Dhruti Shah:

scale for particular components, yeah, housing. But it's

Dhruti Shah:

interesting that there is that movement going on where people

Dhruti Shah:

are stepping up beyond who they are, specifically in order to be

Dhruti Shah:

able to represent not necessarily the voiceless, but

Dhruti Shah:

those who don't actually know what's going on or can't be

Dhruti Shah:

there, even though they're the ones that are subject to it,

Leigh Honeywell:

Or just like physically aren't there yet. A

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couple of years ago, I read Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry

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for the Future, which is sort of near future climate change

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science fiction, and I highly highly recommend it kind of

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content note for the first couple chapters describe like a

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unsurvivable heatwave in India and it's really really like,

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it's a it's a rough scene. So I always like caveat that so that

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people don't dive into this book and they're like, oh my god, it

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because I was definitely like sobbing by like the third

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chapter, but it's worth it. Super worth it. The book is

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amazing. Going by the title Ministry for the Future, the

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sort of conceit of the book is that the United Nations sets up

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a ministry to engage in like the legal defence like through

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litigation and stuff of people who have not yet been born. And

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this is actually a like legal strategy that is being tried in

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the real world. And as you you mentioned, the defending the

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lakes and the rivers. There has been I think, Greta Thunberg,

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the climate activist. She's one of the folks that has been, like

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advocating for this strategy of like, literally children suing

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governments and polluters and all of these different folks

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that are like messing things up, because there's a future harm.

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And I think that's it. You know, I'm not I'm not a lawyer,

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although I was raised by a pack of lawyers.

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But I think it's a really, really interesting strategy, a

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good segueway to the other little chunk of trying to fix

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things that I've been thinking a lot about, which is really

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around like emergency preparedness.

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This is a Thursday we were supposed to record on a Tuesday.

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And I had to reschedule because my internet had been down

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because we'd had this huge storm and the power's out for a couple

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days. And that's like the second one this year. And last year, we

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had a derecho, which is something I only learned about

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recently, but it's basically a tornado without the twisters.

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It's like that degree of storm. But there's no funnels that

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touch down. And so we had this direct show in May 2022 in

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Ottawa, which took out I think, about a quarter million people's

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power.

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We were without power for nine days. And thankfully, like we

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have a generator, because we've been thinking about this stuff.

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But that is like, we were very lucky to have a generator. We

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didn't have internet for nine days. So that was, that was

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challenging. But just thinking about all of that sort of like,

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you know, as we're dealing with this increased frequency of

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weather events, I grew up in Ottawa, we did not have

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tornadoes, and I was growing up, that was just like, it was not a

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thing. And we've now had two this year so far, and the

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derecho last year, this is like, very, very different. And so

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anytime that people are like doubting climate change, I'm

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like, are you do you not see what's happening? Like I did not

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grow up in a place with tornadoes. So that's kind of

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So building that sort of community resilience is

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wild. But when I was living in San Francisco, before I moved

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something that I've been thinking a lot about. This past

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weekend, we had this other power outage, my neighbor's fridge was

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plugged into my garage, because we had the generator running. So

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home to Canada, I went through a programme called NERT, the

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making sure that people are like talking to their neighbours and

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identifying like, hey, who in the neighbourhood is an elderly

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neighbourhood Emergency Response Team. And this is a programme

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person who's not mobile? Can we make sure that they're okay in

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the wake of this storm, or whatever. And then you've got

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that was set up in the wake of the 1989 earthquake, where they

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the additional challenge of like you're in a high rise or like

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multi unit buildings? How do we make sure that, frankly, that

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the laws require those buildings to have generators, so that

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realised like, hey, let's actually get a whole bunch let's

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somebody who's less mobile is able to like get out of the

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building, if there's any sort of incident, we have this nine day

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build surge capacity of individual members of the

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power outage, if you're on the top story of a tall building,

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you're stuck there, if there's a medical emergency, that can be

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community who want to learn the basics of first aid, the basics

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super, super scary.

Leigh Honeywell:

So some of this stuff can be done in the like, super

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individual community level, some of this stuff has to be done

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of like, we call the earthquake, eyes, look at a building, see if

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from like a regulatory framework, because, you know,

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some random apartment building, they're not going to instal a

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generator on like, the goodness of their hearts, you have to

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it has unreinforced masonry is it going to fall down now that

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regulate them. But my dream is that everybody should have

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something like the neart programme in San Francisco and

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we've had this earthquake identifying, like, where's the

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like, there are programmes like that around the United States.

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But as far as I've been able to tell, in Canada, there's only

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natural gas shut offline, so because when in the '89

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like the 72 hours of supplies kind of level of community

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preparedness. I want to go a step higher than that and like

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get people talking to each other, get people learning these

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earthquake, all these houses caught on fire, because the gas

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skills. Although, thankfully, we don't need to learn the like

Leigh Honeywell:

earthquake goggles as much here doesn't take that much work to

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lines broke, and so you got to be able to let's go turn off the

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do this kind of emergency preparedness, but it takes

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knowledge and like access to the information. And that's I think

Leigh Honeywell:

gas, the gas outputs.

Leigh Honeywell:

the big thing that I think is missing right now.

Dhruti Shah:

And that was the amazing Leigh Honeywell, digital

Dhruti Shah:

security expert, founder and CEO of Tall Poppy and helping you

Dhruti Shah:

get prepped for all emergencies. Do you have an interdisciplinary

Dhruti Shah:

life because I would love to hear from you. And perhaps we

Dhruti Shah:

can chat on this podcast that goes in my newsletter, which is

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called Have you thought about and can be found via

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www.dhrutishah.com. Please join me next time for a fun

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conversation with another guest who likes to mix up lots of

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things in their life. If you like the podcast, do share rate

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and review. It's an independent podcast and if you find it

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helpful, then let people know. Thank you to Rian Shah for the music.