Monday, November 17, 2008

On Inspiration and Security

First, I have a horrible revelation to make: I never held CEOs in much regard. For example, if you go to “a CEO keynote” at a security conference (RSA comes to mind), you can be  pretty much assured that you’d get a boring, bland and “content-free” speech which summarizes to 1 word: nothing. Actually, it is 0 words :-)  Similarly, even though I knew what CEOs did (tell people what to do, give speeches so that employees work better, help sales sell, interfere with engineers’ engineering :-), etc), but always regarded them as people regarded “party commissars” back in the Soviet Union days: as folks who give rosy speeches hardly anybody believes in and who show charts with upward trending curves (e.g. “Bullshit volume per employee per quarter is UP 34.6%!!!” :-)) To better understand this point read the famous book “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter's Guide” :-)

So, my dear readers, imagine how amazed I was to find myself being truly inspired by my CEO,  for the first time in my working life! Philippe’s “no-B.S.” approach definitely works for me. I listened to his speech at a company meeting last week and – I am serious! – that was the most interesting, visionary AND inspiring speech that I’ve heard in a long time. It was clear what we’ve been doing, what worked, what didn’t and what we need to be doing and why it will work.

I already learned more than a few things from him just by listening to him  speak or conduct a meeting (or by watching him beat up a job candidate…). For example,  one CAN be “positive, but not marketing-ish,” even if situation is difficult. If one has an issue, one has to face it with no sugarcoating rather than ’play’ positive and pretend the issue is not there. One can have BOTH a driving vision AND be attentive to customers. One CAN release something when it is ready, not a year before :-) Etc, etc.

Finally, while some choose to lay people off, we at Qualys  ARE HIRINGCome join us and help build the SaaS security platform that actually works! Specifically, we are looking for TAMs (kind like an SE, but better :-)), PMs and a lot of engineers.

Dr Anton Chuvakin