“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”
This famous commercial by Apple is probably one of my favorite commercials of all time. Every time I embark on building a new security company I reflect on it and ask myself if this company can bring real change. This is what’s so attractive about Verodin, we are changing the security industry and its status quo. That’s big change; that’s real change.
It’s an amazing feeling that washes over you when your startup thrives because you and your colleagues put everything you have into making it a success for your customers, investors, and employees.
But startups aren’t easy. They’re not all ball pits and BBQs. A lot of people that haven’t been in a startup think joining one would be fun and pretty cool. And they’d usually be right. But it can also be unforgiving and take a toll on family, friendships, and sometimes sanity. It makes me think of the “Best job I ever had” scene from the Brad Pitt movie Fury.
With that said, building security startups is pretty much what I’ve done for most of my 20+ year career in the technology industry. Some have told me that they love and hate startups all at once and if you don’t think that’s possible, check out some of Melanie Klein’s psychoanalytic research.
Regardless of how you feel at any given point, you need to be able to do one thing better than anything else and that’s being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Successful startups move too quickly, learn too fast, and adapt to changing conditions so often that if you are doing the same thing twice you’re probably doing it wrong the second time. Startups are about change and change can be uncomfortable.
Building Verodin has been a lot of hard work and a lot of love with some truly amazing people across engineering, pre-sales, customer success, marketing, sales, and leadership. The Verodin culture is a rare, wonderful and terrible thing. At Verodin no job is too small and if you’re wearing four hats co-workers might wonder what happened to the other six. We love what we do, who we’re doing it with, who we’re doing it for, and why we’re doing it.
We must be one of the hardest working companies I’ve ever been with. There have been many days without sleep, product hackathons, and countless airports, Ubers, and hotels, but when you’re building a market and building a brand, that’s what you do. We are fueled by the success of our customers and those results are hugely rewarding and I can’t think of a single person here that doesn’t step up – that’s real startup DNA. And because the entire company is doing it – it’s downright euphoric.
Some people say that even when you’re working 90+ hour work weeks it doesn’t feel like work if you love what you’re doing. That’s a lie. I’m here to tell you that it absolutely feels like work, but if you love what you’re doing despite this and you have a culture where everyone comes together and “puts in the work,” it’s also an amazing sense of pride when you accomplish big things.
Where we are today juxtaposed to less than year ago is amazing. And I think our success is largely predicated on the fact that we are committed to our mission – 100 percent. That mission is audacious, perhaps crazy, and maybe even a bit cavalier. We are changing the security industry and its status quo, and we don’t view this change as just a job, it’s our responsibility.
Madera – Rosewood Sand Hill
The other day I was at Madera, a restaurant in the Rosewood Sand Hill and something happened that prompted me to write this blog. If you know anything about the Silicon Valley venture capital community you know that the Rosewood is ground zero for most things VC. I was sitting with various customers when one of them said to me, “It looks like Verodin is all grown up now.”
This was in reference to our customer growth over the last year as well as growth in employees, partnerships, global reach and market buzz. I gotta admit, it’s nice to be at a security event, first meeting with a prospect, partner dinner, etc. and hear that people already know about Verodin, love our story, understand our value, see the fit and want more. But, I wouldn’t be so bold to suggest we’re all grown up. Our sights are on real, significant change and there is a whole lot more in store for our customers.
We do have amazing customers across Fortune 500 companies and government agencies and that list is growing every quarter. And based on past experiences, this level and velocity of growth are uncommon and I’ve been to this rodeo many times before having been involved with Riptech, ArcSight, Imperva, Solera and other security companies that were all very successful.
Because of all this, it’s flattering to hear someone think we’re all grown up. However, even as I write this, our intensity is rising from 10 to 11. So, here’s to my colleagues, the men, and women of Verodin, the crazy ones. “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”