Innovation, delegation and motivation are the key characteristics that Nir Zuk, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, with Palo Alto Networks, believes have contributed most to his business achievements and success.
CIO Asia editor, Ross O. Storey shared thoughts about success characteristics with this IT entrepreneur who, as a 16-year-old, developed his own army of viruses to learn more about computer security.
Many network security companies try to solve network threats by putting multiple devices on the network, but we need to question the status quo of everything thats being done and find innovative ways of doing things that are completely different from what end-users do today.
The second important characteristic is the ability to delegate. I see a lot of companies that are very centralized whereby the founder is tightly controlling everything thats happening in the company and he or she wants to be involved in every single decision thats being made. But, basically you cannot really do everything on your own; rather I would advise them to hire a really good management team to support and grow the business. It is important for founders to step back and let them focus on doing what they are good at.
Motivation is another key ingredient to success and I dont mean money. For me, it is having a strong passion for technology and more importantly, to help solve customers complex problems with simple and yet unique solutions. Money is a byproduct and should never be the ultimate goal for success.
You started out making your own viruses to develop your skills. What is the current state of the digital threat environment and how has it changed since you were building viruses?
I developed viruses for fun when I was just 16 years old. Back then, viruses were developed for fun, and they were not malicious. But today, the goal of a malware developer is to steal data and make money. A lot of investment has gone into malware development and identification from governments to cybercrime organizations. So, malware has evolved into a much more sophisticated threat.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs who are developing their own start-up businesses? What are the most important issues they need to be considering?
My first advice is to build all your company in one place. That way you can control, manage and support your product development better. Secondly, develop a technology that has a large enough market to be successful and not just for a niche market.
Also, only raise capital from tier one venture capitalists (VC) who have been entrepreneurs themselves. Get a VC who understands your business and can help you build a good management team.
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