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The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode 36 · 2 months ago

Arick Goomanovsky, Co-founder Ermetic - Reasons to Launch a Startup

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This Founder challenges others looking to start a business to ask themselves - Why do you want to start a company? Ermetic Co-Founder Arick Goomanovsky is a two-time founder who appreciates the ever-evolving journey of founding a company. In this episode, co-hosts Todd Gallina and Sandy Salty sit down with Arick to discuss the inner workings of launching Ermetic, a cloud security startup which has raised a total of $97.3M in funding over 4 rounds.

Listen in with this Founder and learn more about the different challenges between starting a services company versus a product company, and the power of people who help you think outside your own box, a good team, a unique culture, and open communication.

Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

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Some people will do that for formal reasons. I fear of missing out exactly. I see some of their friends being more successful, some being less successful, and social media has an interesting part to play with that, because all the founders post only great things on Linkedin and it looks so glamorous from the outside and they're saying to themselves, my friends are doing this, why can I do this? And frankly, I think that's not the right reason. The founder Formula Brings you in behind the curtains and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insider's look at how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of the founder Formula. My Name is Todd Galina, and with me is the chief marketing officer at trace three, Sandy Salty. Hey, todd, thanks for having me. Oh, you're welcome. It's been a blast. We are on a role, we're on a roll at cloud security role. That sounds like the best kind of role. If you're kind of nerds like us, it's your role. But I'm just kidding. But we're going to kick things off with a little bit of lightning round with our guests, yes, or, as I like to call it, thunder round. That'll be fun. It'll be a good way to kick off the conversation with some casual, Fun Banter. Yes, you're ready, I'm ready. Okay. Our guest is a tenured business leader with two decades of experience and strategy, technology, research and leadership and government. In the private sector. He was CO founder of Scindia Consulting, a Cyber Consulting and incident response firm which was acquired for two hundred and fifty million dollars. Before Sindia, our guests worked at McKenzie and company in London, where he focused on strategy and opera rations. He served for fifteen years in the I D F Intelligent Corps, where he led a team of hundreds of research and development experts. He currently is the CO founder and CBO of Er Medic, a cloud security company based out of Palo Alto, California. Please welcome to the show, Eric Kumanovsky. Eric, thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. You Bet. Okay. So, as you know, we're gonna kick this episode off with what we call the lightning round questions, and so we have selected three for you and Sandy. Do you want to nail him with the first one? Sure, sure, this is probably my favorite of all lightning round questions. Eric. Small gathering or big party? Big Party. Okay, all right, good answer. I like that. What's the biggest party you've been to? Like, have you been to like these massive, like three hundred People Mansion Pool Parties? Yeah, definitely. Look, I just recently went to uh, my NBA ten year reunion. was actually a leve in year Ar Union because last year we can do it because of covid so we had like five hundred people in a classic French Cheto in Fontain blue, black divent turning into a crazy, crazy party, or really bringing me back to my crazy NBA days. So yeah, lots of fun. It sounds great. Where don't you go to school for your NBA? So, Fontain Blue France. It's called INCIAT. It's outside of the US. It's probably the number one NBA school, always competing with London. You know business school lbs. We had people from like hundred twenty countries in my promotion, of of the five people in the promotion. Yeah, it was very exciting. It's a dual campus school, so there is a campus in France and there is a compus in Singapore and you can, you know, split your time between the two campuses. Um, lots of fun. That sounds amazing. Do you speak French? Not at all. I mean I I picked up some French where I studied. They're just, I mean tooly, you know, the classes are all in English. But living in France you have to that. I mean you have to learn to speak some...

French. That it's been like eleven years and I didn't do any practice, so I lost any sense of French that I used to have. So this is okay. So, so where was the party located? With the two different campuses? So everyone comes to uh, to France once, you know, once in five years there is a huge reunion weekend. We all gather on the campus, we all kind of do small gatherings during the two days around the town and then there is one big, huge party. Um, kind of lake type band at a French classic Chateau. Um that's it's like, uh, you know the movie wedding crashers. I think we should become NBA party crashers. You would, you would fit in, but I would get selected. They're like that guy doesn't have an NBA I could just look at him. That's funny. Okay, okay, that is wow. Okay, we got a lot out of that one. Okay, UM, okay. So here's your next lightning around questionnaeric. If you could pick one snack food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? This one is a little bit more tricky. Probably I'll go with the Sashimi Salad. Yeah, I didn't know. Some proteins, UM, some healthy vegetables, soy sauce, a little bit salty, probably that. That would be the snack. You're very healthy. Yeah, like I do. It's a full meal. Yeah, exactly. Well, the alternative would be a protein bar, but I don't know. Uh, Sashimi Salad sounds a little bit more. Eats a lot of protein bars. This is you know, I do. He works out a lot. He's pretty buff. Stop It. People are going to be listening to this and they're gonna be like wow, these these founders really don't like eat funnions and bugles like like you think they do on the TV show. Um, what snack food would you eat for this of your life? I'M A I'm a big popcorn guy. I Love Popcorn, all, all different kinds, except micro popcorn. So I make my own and I sometimes I'll look for like special brands of popcorn. But yeah, total old school, like put it on the on the stove and cook it in oil. It's my favorite, the best. Have you ever got to a movie theater and they've given you popcorn and you're like this isn't fresh? Totally. Yeah, the pain is real. And so what about you? Oh, my favorite snack food? Yeah, Oh, it would have to be tritya chip, squawk and salsa. Okay, yeah, like you said, it's very specific. Do you make your own Guacamole? I have, but you know, I'm good with like as long as it's fresh store blood as well. Yeah, Avocados out here are legit. They're legit. I'm not a GUAC Connoisseur to the degree that you are a popcorn any GUAC will do. Okay, all right, next sliding around question. Um, okay, I'll have you okay, Eric, if you have to live somewhere else, where, would it be in? Why? London. Definitely. I've lived there for a two years, twenty twelve to t after my neest. Work for Magenzine company there and I just love the city. Um, it's a combination of a very inter national city, right, at least it was before Brexit, right. So, you know, Um, there were no British people in London back. Now, you know, there's a lot of stuff to do, but on the other hand it's like it has like a big city by but it's not Manhattan that is like so tall and you feel so tiny and insignificant. You can really feel like a human being in that city. Um, so London definitely, and you've been right to women. Oh Yeah, I love London. I agree. It's sort of like it's like the diverse city. Is definitely an element of London that's pretty cool, and then there's the the elegance and then the food and it kind of offers a lot, for sure. I'm a I'm a big stickler for good weather, though, and I don't know that that London gives me a sunshine. But but I love I love the city. Yeah, yeah, that was people, you know, usually think of London that...

...it's always gray, and it's definitely you have like three options that they can start nicely and turned into gray, that they can start gray stay gray, or that they can start gray and turning into a nice day, early days that start nice and kind of end nice. But once you leave there you learn to enjoy the good kind of the good weather. Tis Right. So those trick yeah, it makes you realize, you know, how versus US Californians, it's like we take it for granted it's beautiful every day and when we get rain we're like shocked by it, crashing, crash on the freeway. Okay, all right, hey. So thanks, Eric, for for playing a lightning round. We are ready to get to the meat of this interview. Yeah, Eric, so I'll start with the first question. Um, tell us about hermetic and why you started it. Sure, absolutely, with pleasure. So hermetic basically is a cloud infrastructure security um solutions. So we work with the organization that are basically utilizing public cloud infrastructure, so Amazon web services, Microsoft D agger, Google cloud platform. Work with a broad range of organizations, organizations that you know traditional, your fortune ten enterprises that have been, you know, on premise forever and ever and recently started their kind of Um, you know, digital transformation and as part of that they're moving more close to the cloud and also with you know Um startups or hyper scales. Organization that you know Um were founded after after twenty ten and they never had a single server on crowd. They were in the cloud from from day one and all those organizations surprisingly experienced a lot of similar challenges um when, when moving to the cloud. Um. One of those challenges, maybe from a business perspective, is kind of organizational disconnects that we see between the security teams and people that actually own the new infrastructure, which is in many cases shifting out of the hands of the t and then going into the hands of the developers. So that creates a lot of challenges for organizations from from a business perspective. There are challenges from technical perspective. Uh, the nature of the security perimeter is shifting once you're moving from your on premise to the cloud. On premise networking was the major perimeter. Networking was skiing everything insecurity was almost almost everything insecurity had somehow to do with networking in the cloud. Identities and permissions kind of become the new perimeters. So they replaced the traditional networking periature. Um. And you know Um, coming from an inserted response company, which I was part of before medic I saw how threat actors are compromising great institutions left and right by compromising identities, leveraging sensitive permissions to get access to sensitive data, leveraging the organization disconnects between security teams and developers, Um, kind of uh Um, bringing basically very impressive and greater organizations with very strong securities to their needs. And we thought that this is a huge problem as the world is going through this transformation from on premise to cloud, and we wanted to be part of that, of that transition and really help organizations be better prepared to the new challenges that are moving to the cloud and better helps them better secure their sensitive information. And there are new cloud infrastructure. So yeah, well, I think we're we're very lucky, uh, in many ways, that we kind of live and and and work in this exciting time, because there are very few opportunities like that where the world of ideas undergoing, Um, a fundamental transformation, and I think this is a fundamental transformation that we we see now with the transition to the cloud and being a part of that, even from even only from the lens of security, is super, super excited. Totally agree. There's definitely a palpable paradigm shift and cloud securities APP aolutely the space to be and thank you for that.

We're very excited about what Ar metic brings to the table. Yeah, Eric, this is your second go round as a founder. Can you share something that you're personally doing differently with this go around with the metic? Sure, absolutely so. First of all, before medic just did a little bit of background. I was a CO founder of a cybersecurity services company called signia. Uh. Insignia. We did a lot of incident response work for Um, you know, um, large multinationals, especially in North America Europe. Um, later also an Apac H, and also a lot of pre emptive consulting, really helping organizations h enhance their cloud secus or their general cybersecurity strategy and posture, uh in general. Um. Of course, being a repeated entrepreneur, there are a lot of lessons learned. Right. So, and it starts from how do you structure your team? How do you build a team of founders, how do you UH dividing conquerr in terms of responsibilities among the team. How do you build processes? There are a lot of things that you learn from from previous experiences, how to work with customers, how to learn from customers, how to become better. I would say that the immediate outcome of that is that you're making less mistakes, or at least you're trying to make different mistakes, and you try to achieve similar goals but much faster. Right. So, growing your revenue much faster, going to market much faster, building the product much faster. I think there is also a personal, uh strong personal element to that as well. You know, being a founder of a startup, actually being in an executive role in the startup, not necessarily a founder, but a founder especially. So it's a it's a constant droller coster, right. So, uh, you you can be ten times in a day up and down. Right, you have a great call with a customer, it's amazing, and then you are a customer that was expected to sign a p O uh turns you down because they have a budget issue. And then in the same day you deliver a great functionality that a lot of your customers like. And then you have a bug in production that you have to do with fix right. So it's very, very hactic. Uh. And I think what you learn from from time to time kind of as as uh, you're becoming more experienced to take things easily, right. I mean if it's uh, if it's your first startup, every small hiccup feels like, Um, you know, a disaster. But with experience you learned that they're just part of life and you're you know, you may not be getting as excited with the winds, but you're at least also not that depressed with, uh, with the losses. UH, and you're building up your resiliency. Uh, and that's very important. Like the mental resilience, Um, is super, super important for a founder. You have to be always focused, you have to be always minded on the winds, you have to be always positive, Um, and uh not taken down by by small hiccups along the way. Right. So, and I think this is something that you learn with time. Imagine, Um, your reaction to maybe some negative news can potentially cascade down throughout the organization. So I think this second go around, if you do get a major bug after a launch, I think maybe having some some calm and in the fact that you've been through this before. It really settles down the team. Is that a fair statement? Absolutely, absolutely. Um. It's what you project to the team, it's what you project to your peers, it's what you project to the investors when you meet them, uh once a month, or or the board meeting once at quarter. It all matters. Right now. I'm not saying that you have to be, uh, always super, super optimistic and you only have to focus on the positives, because if you do not think critically about the situation and then you know you will never improve. Because, I mean for...

...sure there are there are always problems that you have to solve and you have to address and you have to have, you know, a grain of critical thinking all the time, even when things are going well. Um, there is a value for for Um, you know, review, analysis, trying to learn. You can learn from the from your wings, at least as much, if not more. Then you learn from your losses, right, and that's very important because, Um, a lot of you know the very in you know, in advanced organizations they don't learn from anything right, and then the next step of maturity is when you start learning from your losses. But I think the best organization learned even more from their winds than from their losses. Right. So, and you have to learn all the time. If you don't have the appetite to learning new things all the time, you won't be able to be a founder, at least not in our space. As a follow up to that, in another conversation we had with you, Eric, you mentioned, you know, as a repeat founder, like the the ups don't need to be so high and the downs don't need to be so low. It's like, you know, one's ability to sort of modulate their emotion. Um, their successes and their failures tend to evolve, uh, in the in the second, third fourth go around, H as as compared to kind of the first, uh, the first round. Yeah, absolutely. I mean again, the first time. I remember my first encounters and my first, Um, you know, engagements and and and my first negotiations with customers in my previous startup, right when I, you know, I was closing my first high six digit or high six figure deal. I remember how nervous I was and in the first time I planned and I planned and I planned and I thought, okay, the customer will say this, I will answer that and if they will raise one objection, I will I will try to answer with a different answer and I ultimately be because of the anxiety. I think I've kind of over complicated the situation. Right. Um, I'm not saying that planning is not important and when you're going into a serious negotiation, you should not have your basis covered and you you should have a plan. Always have a plan. But Um, you have to focus on what matters most and not get really down when things are not working the way you like, because things, certain things, are never working the way you like. I mean you can get lucky once in a while, but you cannot get lucky all the time and there will be losses and there will be things that will go not according to plan and you just have to be mentally prepared for that. This is the reality of, you know, being an executive in a startup, not only a founder. I look at our C R O, right, who manages are you know, sales organization? Isn't a lot of negotiation. That wouldn't necessarily go the way he would love them to go. But it doesn't mean that eventually we don't win. Right, we do win because we plan and we can't prepared and we we don't overreact in either direction. Yes, so, Eric, you know, you mentioned your your first company was a services company, largely successful for medic is. is obviously a product company. What made you want to take that journey from founding a services company to to now a product company? And do you have a preference? Is there, I mean, is there one that you're you're having more fun with or or did have more fun with? So H it's an amazing question and it's a question that I asked myself, Um, almost every other day. Um, it's the there are two fundamentally different beasts. Right, services organizations are when, when you think about the product of a service organization, it's it's people. So basically, you're selling yourself, right, you're selling your expertise, you're selling your your practice, you're selling...

...your capabilities and ultimately, once you've solved that, you also the one who is responsible for the delivery. Right. The most sales organizations, more sorry, most services organizations don't have a dedicated sales team. Right, it's the practitioners that are actually doing selling right, because this is very, very um knowledge forward selling process. If you look at, you know, great services organizations, like you know consulting companies like McKinsey. Right, it's the partners who are ultimately responsible for delivering the project are the ones that are doing most of the selling work as well. Um. So, in in the product organization, right, you're you're building a product and then, Um, there is a separate part of the organization. I mean it's it's part of the same company, but Um, sales organization responsible for for selling a product that ultimately don't they don't build. Right. Uh. It creates a lot of interesting Um, you know, challenges and I think the the kind of the tension between product organizations and sales organizations, between product teams and sales engineers are, you know, they're as old as as technology or software sales. Right. So, uh, they did not start last year and they probably will not end ever. Um. So that that does create an interesting perspective. Also when when you're working in a services organization, the ability for scale up is very limited. I mean a super successful services organization as an organization that grows in tens of percents a year over year. So fifty percent grows to a hundred percent grows, is amazing, because you're ultimately limited by your capacity to deliver, by Your menpower effect and by the talent you can you can recruit a product organization. If you have successful product, you can scale up two or three or four ten times year over year, right, if you're if you're doing a good job and and executing well on the go to market side. Obviously. So, Um, there are different challenges, right. Um. But then, Um, you need in order to build your successful product company. Besides building a great product, you need to build a great pipeline of potential customers. Um. That pipeline has to grow exponentially if you want your your sales and revenue to grow exponentially. You don't necessarily need all that. In a successful services organization. You can run a successful services organization with very few customers. Um. So it's uh, it's a toughly different beast from multitude of perspectives. Um. Of course, the intimacy you would get with your customers in a services organization and the depth of relationship you would build is much, much deeper, much greater than in a product organization. Um. But then you still you have a handful of customers and then a product organized aation, you can have thousands of customers. It's really it's really different. It's massive. I didn't realize the limitation and the growth potential with the services company, but now it completely makes sense. Yeah, I remember, Um, we interviewed an amazing uh, another amazing founder, Um last year, and at one point he said, well, it's really it's difficult to scale up a services organization because you can't take a human being and partition them, you know, ten or fifteen different ways, which I thought was it was an interesting sort of perspective. It totally is. And we're talking about Eric. Your your response. You're talked about the importance of people, you know, manpower. Um, knowing how tight talent is right now, do you find yourself bringing in folks from your from your previous company, just because you're aware of their capabilities, or do you tend to start from scratch? What did you do with this go around? I couldn't, like, bring a lot of from my from my previous organization. You know, there...

...are issues of conflict of interest and things like that, but obviously bringing people that you worked with in the past, uh, really allows you to move faster. Right, Um, you bring people that you already have a common language with, you have established trust relationship. It always allows to accelerate Um, accelerate the business. So, for example, UH, in our product organization or our engineering team, my co founder, Michael has has brought with him, almost on day one, a core team of five six people that he has worked with before for years and years. So their ability to deliver a product, a functioning product that we can actually take to market um because of that was unbelievable. We had, like in less than six months, we had a fully functional product that we could actually sell Um. These thing, when you have to start building the team from scratch, can take years. Same goes to the go to market organization, right. Uh. You See, when Um, you know, sales leaders bring people with them that they have worked within the past, that they have again common language, understanding, trust, than you know, the business flourishes in those regions. And when sometimes they bring you know, you hire someone who's super, super talented, but you've never worked with that person before. It just takes time to build the trust, to build the common understanding. Um, so, Um and and in the startups, especially startups today, it's all about speed and go to market. Right, the faster you can deliver, the faster you can grow the revenue, the more you can raise in the next round, the faster you can raise the next round, and that kind of reinforces creative, you know, this viry just cycle that allows you to grow and grow and scale more and more. Right. So, Um, the ability to do things faster is really important. And, yeah, working with people that you have worked with before, Um, is part of that. However, you have to remember that there are also some people that you don't want to work with again, right. So, yeah, they're reaching out to hey, man, I heard you start a new company. Love to be part of it. Yeah, that's gotta be tough. I would imagine that bringing in new, fresh flood is interesting as well and that it brings perhaps a different way of thinking, in a fresh perspective to the table as well. It's it's a must, it's a must. UH, as I said, uh, people that are not willing to learn and change. Uh. You know what they say, it's not the strongest that survived, right, it's the ones that are more susceptible to change. Right. So you have and we're live in a very dynamic world, right, things are changing all the time. Look at how the markets have changed over the past six months, right from being extremely bullish when people were raising hundreds of millions left and right, to a situation where you know, investors are not giving money out that easily anymore. The valuations are going down, some companies are are are sending people home, right. So you have to be able to cope with the dynamic environment. As far of that is being able to learn and change and it just the way you operate, it just the way you think, and part of that is also surrounding yourself with good people that can you know that sometimes even thinks differently than you do. Right, it's I think it's an important part of leadership. Right. If you if you're basically surround yourself with with a bunch of minimies, you are right. I mean you have to you have to put people around you that sometimes think differently, think out of the box. That will help you evolve and move forward. That's so true. I keep thinking back to this massive party you went to at the beginning of our conversation, all these NBA students in France. Um, did you end up bringing anybody from your program him over to Ermitic, someone from my...

...program over to Erbatic? Not yet, Um, not yet um. But yeah, it's it's definitely. Uh, it's definitely a possibility for the future. I did end up partnering with some with some people. Uh. So, for example, speaking about services organizations, one of my uh one of my peers from from school, he runs a pretty interesting, uh Software Development Services Organization in London actually, and we did partner and UH did some joint go to market activities and work with these customers. So there are a lot of opportunities to network and partner. But I do have a friend who started to startup m straight out of the NBA school and he had, like plenty of people from our from our class, working at that startup over the years. Right. So, Um, that definitely works. All right, we're gonna switch gears now. Um, Eric, given given your experience and and success over the years, I'm sure you have a lot of friends and peers tell you that they want to start their own company. How do you what do you tell them? Like, what advice do you give them? Think again, yeah, but, but, but, but seriously, Um, you know, Um, yeah, that that. That's happened. A lot of people reach out, people are thinking, people are dreaming of something. Usually my advice, like my immediate responses. Okay, let's that's that's a good idea. Let's try to think together. Why do you want to do that? Uh, and I think that the why reason is very important, right, um. And there are different UH why reasons. Right. Some people are saying, okay, you know, I've been Um, Um, you know, I've been working for for an enterprise my entire life. Uh, I'm I want to be part of a more a dynamic environment. Right. So, yeah, it's it's it's a it's a valid reason. I would say. Okay, so maybe before you found one, you know, actually go and found the company, maybe you should work for a start up for a while and, you know, see if it's for you. Right. Overall, you don't have to go and work three years for a startup, but maybe you go and spend a year in an executive role in a startup. You will learn a lot that will make your future start up more successful and maybe after that you will say, you know, I don't want to be in a start up anymore. Um. Some people want to do that for, you know, for financial reasons. Right. They said, okay, I worked for a salary all my life and I'm okay, Um, but but I want better for myself, for my family, for my kids, for, you know, for my significant others, Um, and if I'm a successful entrepreneur, probably, Um, you know, I can fundamentally changed the economic situation back at home, and that makes a lot of sense. Right. So, Um, I think it's a it's a it's an absolutely valid reason. Very few people would admit that's that's the truth. But, but, but a lot of people do that for the financial reason and and that's that's fine. Um, I would talk to them about the risks, right. So, Um, it's a small percentage of startups that are ultimately successful. Um, so, whether they're really willing to take the risk. Um, some people would do that for formal reasons. Um, you know, if you're out exactly, I see some of their friends becoming entrepreneurs and some being more successful, some being less successful. And of course, you know, uh, the social media has, um, an interesting part to play with that because, like all the founders all the time post only great things on Linkedin and it looks so glamorous from the outside, right. Uh. And they're saying to themselves, okay, I mean this well paid, comfortable, interesting, even interesting, right, very interesting job. But I'm like I want something more exciting. My friends are doing this. Why can I do this? Right and frankly, I think that's not the...

...right reason. That's not the right reason. There has to be some some intrinsic Chersiannel uh to go and do and do a start up, because things in reality are not always as glamorous as they appear to be on on a linkedin page Um, and there are a lot of harsh times and a lot of risks and a lot of sleepless nights and you've got to have a good reason to go on other than Hey, my friends are doing this. Um. On the other hand, I have friends who don't necessarily want to go into start up and I think they would be immensely successful and it would make them so much happier than they are in their day to day jobs. And sometimes I have find it hard to to convince them because not everyone is so, you know, is risk taking or oportimistic. And you know, I think those people might actually be, you know, but I might be actually missing out, because they could really, I don't know, we can say, fulfill their death standing or something like that, by by being a building the start, because they are made from the right stuff for entrepreneurs and founders, but for whatever reason they never go that way. Um and, and those people actually try actively convince them to h to go and give it a try. Uh and I do everything I can to help them. Um, you know, some people don't do that for financial reasons. They say, okay, I have a family, I have a more used to pay, I cannot go unemployed for for six months now, right, working on an idea, trying to raise money. So I would go and help them with that. Right. So that's super cool. That's awesome. So it sounds like the worst reason to start a company according to you, is Fomo. Did you have a best reason to start a company? I would say the best reason to start a company is if you have a good team, if you have a good thing that you feel that you can fight together and you can win together. I think that's that's a that's the best reason to start a company. I think if you have a team, you will find the idea and ultimately you will be successful. If you don't have a good team, it's gonna be a very, very tough, uh fight for you and no matter how good your idea is, no matter how much money you're able to raise right because you need support, you need to do it together. There is definitely a better together story. Um, with founders. Look, I'm in my second startup. We were four co founders in our first startup, where four co founders in our second startup? People say, for Co founders it's a you know, it's opinion. Yes, for four opinions, everyone's pulling into a different direction, and that could be so, but there are also four people that can carry the weight and that's super, super important when you're in a start up. And well, it's actually a perfect segue to the next question, which is, you know, culture. Like we, we place such a huge emphasis on culture at trade three and I I am pretty convinced that it's it's one of the ingredients for our our success over over the years. And then you just curious from your perspective, like how do you develop a good culture and even more so, like what is a good culture from your perspective? How do you define it? It's a good question. We recently had kind of Uhum, we had a session with with the management, with all the employees, kind of old hands where, Um, we gave all the employees an opportunity to ask open open questions. Right. They asked the same question. How do you like? They said. You know, we feel that we have a very unique culture here in aromatic, which is great. How are we going to be able to maintain that culture while we are scaling up the company? Right, we're growing from twenty to fifty, from fifty to a hundred, from a hundred to two hundred people? How do we maintain this unique culture that were able to build when...

...we were, you know, a twenty people company? And one of our s leaders said, you know, raise his hand and said, Hey, guys, that's very easy. We just don't hire assholes. Y. Yeah, one of the C level positions is asshole spotter. Yeah, exactly. So. So it's it's definitely it's definitely a good answer. It's it's definitely very difficult not to do that. But, Um, I think being transparent two employees and candidates about your company, your values, making sure that as many different people have the opportunity to meet the candidate before you bring them in. It really creates this opportunity to maintain a good culture. Right. But you you have to define values and you have to hire people that believe in similar values and you have to track people's performance against those values and you have to address where you see people that are not acting according to those values. Right. So, for example, in our company we are surprisingly very non arrogant team. Right, we have four co founders, all of us our repeat entrepreneurs. We were all pretty successful in our careers to date. Uh, you know, we're running an amazing company in an amazing market and you know, many other people that we all know from the industry would be extremely arrogant in this position, but this is not us. We have a very kind of down to Earth Culture and our medic uh that Um, you know, prioritize open discussions, prioritize hard work. Uh, everyone is extremely approachable the everyone in in every part of the organization can pick up the phone or just walk into the CEO s Office uh talk to him about anything that is on their mind. It's something that you nurture throughout the way and I think you also have to lead by example, right, by breaking those barriers, by talking to people, by engaging people, by talking to them about what matters most to you, what matters asking them what matters most to them, being there for them. I think that ultimately nurtures this open down to Earth culture that we believe is very important part of our medic but but again, different companies, different styles. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. There is an answer that is right for o medic but for another company there might be a different answer. Like grouchal marks used to say, I have my principles, but if you don't like them, I have others. So that's a gradual marks quote and I didn't know that. That's awesome. We talked earlier about the roller coaster ride of a founder, up and down, and when you described one of your upos, it was you who would have a great call with a client of yours. Um, on this show with like to celebrate winds, and so do you have a gratifying client success story you'd like to share with our listeners? Yeah, you know, recently Um I was I was on a call with the customer and, as I said that one of the areas where medic really really excelled is by helping customers Um cut through the complexity of identities informissions, in public cloud infrastructure, again, which we believe is probably one of the biggest, not the biggest, risks to Um. Securing your cloud infrastructures today. Uh. And you know those Um cloud I am configurations can be extremely complex. Um, in some cloud environments more than others, but definitely it's it's it's crazy how complexly things are. And I was recently on a call with the customer, uh, and they were looking at our Ui and the customer was like, you know, guys, I could never understand what's happening here in a W S...

I am, but whether medic my five year old girl can understand what's happening here. Uh. And you know that when, when you hear something like that, you say, okay, we're really nailed it, because we really help our customers understand and cut through that complexity in such an easy and approachable way that we make something that is extremely complex extremely easy for them to solve. And that's that's an unbelievable feeling, right when you're saying, okay, we as an organization, right, it's not my personal success, it's it's a product success, it's the sales success, it's a customer success success. Right, we as an organization. We're able to be extremely successful here because we took a major problem, we analyze the problem, we understood how we can solve that and we communicate the solution to customers in a very comprehensible way. Right. So I think that that that's a big win. But I think simplifying the value prop and and how it empowers the client is is typically, you know, one of the bigger challenges for for any technology company. So the fact that you were able to do that successfully is awesome to hear, you know. So this next question we get varying answers. Force I want to I want to get a sense for how important you think it is to track your competition. We've had we've had founders in the past day. Look, we are maniacally focused on on the client. That's what matters, that's all that matters. You know, founders who believe no, you've got to kind of take a three sixty view to the market you play and you have to understand where your competition sits and how to outsmart them. Um, in addition to kind of knowing, uh, how what your client needs and how they think, etcetera. Um, what's your answer? What's your answer to that? Um, is it important to track your competition? CAN DISTANT LEAN? So again, I think there is a right and wrong answer. I can tell you what I do. Um. Yes, I'm focused first and foremost on our customers and on our prospects and I'm making sure that we delivered the best product for them and that they're utilizing the product to the full extent of its capabilities and capacities and that they're happy with the product that we deliver. I do look at the competition, of course. Um, one UH. I think it's good to have competition, especially it's good to have big competition because, especially in a nation, in a nascent field or or in an evolving or or scaling up area or in a new area, you have to build the market and the more players there are in the market that shouting out and talking about, for example, cloud infrastructure security challenges, the more demand eventually for cloud security solutions will be there. So, Um, I think it's great to have competition, especially big competition with very sizeable marketing budgets, because as a startup you you're always limited and if you have a big competitor, large enterprise that childs and talks about your problem as well, that ultimately creates market for you as a startup. So competition is great. Looking at the competition is also good because, Um, you know, you don't have all the answers to everything and there are smart people working for your competitors as well and they think about similar problems and they may be approaching problems the same way you are or they might be approaching them differently, and there's always an opportunity to learn from your competition, whether it's around product, whether it's around the ways there to go to market, whether it's around the ways they do marketing or brand building. Um, how do they position themselves? It's all uh, these are all very interesting inputs into the broader picture. But I don't think you should be obsessed with your competition. You should be obsessed with your customers. UH, ultimately you're not trying to outsmart the competition,...

...you're trying to win business. And Yes, part of that is as winning Bay cops and winning competition, but part of the percent is really addressing customer needs. That's where I focus. So probably on customers and maybe less than twenty percent or something like that on competition. It's amazing given a numerical assignment there like that. Hey, eric, we're coming to the end here. You've been wildly entertaining. We've learned a ton. Is there anything that we didn't cover on this podcast that you would like to share with potential founders? It's a never evolving journey. You know where you start, you never know where you're gonna end. The market, since even since we started our medic three years ago, the market changed like five times. The company that we thought that our our competition is going to be our competition. When we wear one year in to the story and enter the journey like two years ago, are not even getting close to our company. What we think is our competition today. Right what we the problems that we were focused on three years ago are not necessarily the problems that we as a company going to be focusing on Um in a year from now. The story that we take two years ago, or even a year ago, probably is not going to be the same story we will tell a year from now. That's a never evolving playing ground and you have to be agile. You have to be always thinking openly and critically about the situation where you are in your market, your customers, your competition, your investors, and be ready an agile and be prepared to the fact that things will change. And I think Um you know every every company is a different story, but every company is an exciting story, whether it's successful or not successful ultimately, and I'm I'm envious of any founder that it is not abow to start something new because it's it's super, super exciting. It's superb, but it's over exciting as well. Well, Eric, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your experience with us. We are super excited about the future of over medic and what it brings to the cloud security space. Yeah, Eric, thanks a lot for hopping on the PODCAST. You were great. Thanks so much. Thanks, guys, for having you. BET trace three is hyper focused on helping, I. T leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace three dot com slash podcast. That's trace, the number three dot com slash podcast. You've been listening to. The founder formula the pod has for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies. Subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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