I have an admission to share with you. Okay, here it is. I am a multipotentialite.

What’s a multipotentialite?

Multipotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to the ability and preference of a person, particularly one of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields.

Wikipedia: Multipotentialite

I first encountered the term when I watched Emilie Wapnick’s 2015 TED Talk. When I learned the term, it was like a proverbial light bulb turning off above my head. Emilie was talking about me!

At the outset, it sounds like a great thing. You’re someone who has several interests. You’re a Renaissance man. Your interests are diverse. What’s wrong with that?

In reality, so much is wrong! It’s a freaking curse. I have two college degrees: meteorology (Geography) and broadcast media (Telecommunications). The problem is that most of my professional experience is in information technology or, more specifically, information security. So on paper, I am a degreed meteorologist working in the IT and information security space.

Why would anyone hire a meteorologist for an infosec job? What is a recruiter or hiring manager supposed to think? I am a meteorologist with a CISSP certification.

It’s weird. Truthfully, I am weird, so it kind of works. But it can be a real challenge to convey my unique story to any hiring manager that comes across my weird resume. Ultimately, I must convince them that my multipotentiality is a benefit, not a liability.

If I were to categorize my “potentials” into individual buckets, I’d say that I have four buckets: media, technology, business, & music.

Media – I have a bachelor of arts degree in telecommunications from Ball State University (that school where David Letterman went). I can write. I’ve written broadcast copy, public statements, business letters, technical documents, and creative scripts with complex story arcs. I know the ins and outs of audio and video production. I have an uncanny gift for editing both audio and video. I’ve built websites from scratch, like raw HTML and CSS. I know enough about graphic design and topics like color theory to be dangerous when armed with Photoshop. I’m a capable photographer, whether with a still camera or a video camera. I know the rule of thirds. I know how to use various focal lengths to get my desired effect. Depth of field must be mastered to get that blurred background look. Then there are lenses, filters, recording media, file formats, and so much more.

I’ve announced on several radio stations, and I’ve emceed live shows and events where I’ve had to speak in front of thousands of people. I’ve voiced commercials for national airplay. I wouldn’t say I’m a voice “actor” by any means, but I certainly am comfortable behind expensive microphones. Having spent more than 16 years working within the broadcast industry, I’ve gained exposure to many of the technologies that drive the media industry today.

As an example, let’s examine my claim of understanding audio production. First, audio must be captured via a microphone. I understand the finer points of picking the correct microphone, whether that’s a dynamic, a condenser, a shotgun, a lavalier, a PZM, a ribbon microphone, or a special-use microphone like a headset or a set of drum mics. Most microphones output their signal on a 3-pin XLR connector, though that isn’t always true. Usually, pin one is neutral or ground. Pin two is positive or high. Pin three is negative or low. I’ve soldered more XLR connectors than I care to admit. Neutrik connectors are the best, in my opinion.

Before a recording device captures a microphone signal, certain cases call for the microphone signal to be processed by a preamp, compressor, or channel strip. Microphone processing is a rabbit hole into which we won’t venture today, but I’ve used devices ranging from a DBX 266 to Neve gear. A solid middle-of-the-road mic pre that I use in my studio is the ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip. It’s capable. It’s clean. It also comes with a ton of I/O options. MSRP on the ART Voice Channel is $759.99, so it won’t blow up your budget.

Now let’s say that you have your application-specific microphone and processing solution. An audio signal needs to be digitized or sampled to convert the electrical impulses generated by the microphone into data that a computer can understand. When recording sound, you need to know the sample rate, bit depth, and the number of channels. Most microphones are mono sources, meaning they only have one recording channel. When capturing a sound source, the device (or circuitry) that samples and converts the audio signal into a digital signal matters greatly. On the cheap end, you can record an audio signal with the little microphone jack on your computer. Alternatively, most studio applications use a dedicated device to digitize an analog audio signal. RME, SPL, Burl, and other companies make good audio capture devices. I’ve used a lot of Focusrite gear in studio build-outs because it’s a lot of good-sounding bang for the buck. I love my 2nd and 3rd generation Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 units with Scarlett OctoPre connected via ADAT. My 2nd gen is the heart of my home recording setup, while my 3rd gen is a part of my mobile rig.

See, that’s several long paragraphs outlining more than you wanted to know on audio recording. I haven’t gotten into the software needed to record and edit sound files. Then there’s what type of audio file you’re going to use. Will it be compressed like an MP3? Will it be uncompressed? WAV? FLAC? OGG? And all this stuff is merely what I’ve recalled off the top of my head. There are another 1,000 tangents I could take on the topic of audio recording alone. I’ll spare you that knowledge dump. But still, am I making my point? No one knows everything, but I’ve got this media stuff down full-stop.

All these skills tie into many of my software proficiencies like Final Cut Pro, Motion, Compressor, Logic, VLC, ProTools, Garageband, OBS, vMix, HandBrake, Adobe Audition, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Express, and After Effects. I stay sharp on my media skills by doing freelance projects through my media company, Hensler Media Solutions. I know that much of my media work overlaps with technology, but I’ll leave the technology section to address my IT and infosec skills.

TIP: If you’re searching for basic audio recording software, I recommend OcenAudio over Audacity. I’ve found OcenAudio to be more user-friendly, plus the developers frequently push updates to keep the software secure and cutting edge.

Technology – Most of my professional experience has been oriented around technology, or more specifically, computers and networking. Much of my knowledge has been learned on the job as my roles demanded. If I didn’t understand the difference between an access port and a trunk port on a switch, I had to look it up.

Dating back to my high school days, I loved learning about computers. Over summer breaks, I worked for the school IT department (earning minimum wage). I did everything from cleaning computers, moving and setting up computers, pulling CAT5 wire for new drops, hanging WAPs, and building new deployment images. Those summer experiences gave me a great foundation of technical understanding.

By the time I got into college, I got into building desktop PCs. I don’t remember exactly how many machines I’ve built over the years, but it is at least 15. It may be more than 20 as I’ve built machines for various clients. Planning the build, sourcing the components, verifying the specifications, ordering the pieces, assembling it all, and making a functional computer forced me to learn a lot about the technologies at play.

I eventually transitioned from information technology fundamentals to the ever-expanding world of information security. After almost a decade working for a managed security services provider (MSSP), I earned the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. I could write thousands and thousands of words in an effort to illustrate my level of knowledge, but I think this industry-leading certification can speak for itself. Plus, this blog post is already too long. I’ll keep the rest of this post neat and concise.

Business – I incorporated my first LLC in July 2007. Hensler Media Solutions LLC has been an active part of my life for over 15 years, and we have served hundreds and hundreds of clients.

Music – I started playing the piano at the age of five. My dad showed me a few basic chords – I, IV, V. Or, in other words, tonic, subdominant, and dominant. My discerning ears took it from there. I have played the piano in front of thousands of people throughout my life. I can play pretty well when I’ve practiced.

From music to media and meteorology to commerce, my weird hodgepodge of talents is uniquely me. I can slap different labels on my various skill sets to make them better align with this job or that job. Still, in a world where perception is reality, I am who I am regardless of degree, certification, or any other label. I am Ryan G Hensler: husband, father, entrepreneur, musician, and more.

When I started writing this article, my hope was to convey a little bit of who I am with a healthy dose of knowledge dropping to convey my intelligence. But at the end of it all, can mere words explain who we are?

Heaven knows I’ve tried.

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