Interview with Magnus Kalkuhl
What made you interested in cyber security and future technologies?
Like many children, I was easily fascinated by the futuristic technologies I saw in science fiction series as a kid. What broadened my perspective though, was when I started programming myself at the age of 10. I then realized, that computers allow us to take a much more active role in the creation of future technologies – instead of just consuming it or watching new things happening in movies.
Consequently, many of the projects I worked on were managed and stored on my computer. Eventually, when the Internet came up, and viruses were not just about destroying data, but stealing and uploading it to its creators, knowing about cyber security was not an option – but a necessary skill for self-defense.
How do you work with clients to prepare your keynotes?
The most important thing here is communication. I do not only need to know what the client expects, but most of all what the audience expects. If they are happy, the client will be too.
So what’s their level of expertise? What are their jobs? Who has previously spoken at the event and which topics were already covered? All these things matter.
That’s why I prefer talking with clients as early as possible (usually on the phone) before preparing my visit. Often, it’s also useful to meet up the evening before the event takes place to clarify some last minute questions.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
Certainly. In 2012, I did a presentation about the history of malicious software and used a Commodore 64 computer for that purpose. In fact, it was not just some C64, but exactly the same one that I used as a kid to learn how to program. The two presentations before had been done on a DELL Laptop and on a MacBook Pro, so the audience was pretty surprised and loved seeing me connect this 27-year-old computer to a state-of-the-art projector.
How do you help audiences understand the future of technology?
By avoiding complicated terminology and using real life examples and analogies instead. I believe that a good presentation should be about inspiring the audience, and that requires using a language, that is understood by everyone in the room.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work as a keynote speaker?
Of course, the audience should leave the presentation with the knowledge of which technology is out there, how they can use it personally and what are the risks to keep in mind.
Most of all though, I aim for (re-)igniting a spark of fascination for new technology. Often, people are intimidated by new technologies. They think that they can’t keep up with new developments. They fear the risks that often come along with new inventions. My job is to ensure that people retrieve that lost feeling of control and leave the room as well equipped and inspired explorers of the future.