Comfortable with the Unknown

Comfortable with the Unknown

Ulf Mattson

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


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Comfortable with the Unknown

"You need to get comfortable with the unknown. When you are doing things like this, innovating, pushing the envelope, leading the edge type of approaches, you may lose some sleep over that. But each time that you can see the proof that it works and has paid off, you will sleep much better."


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

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ou know you need to get comfortable with the unknown hmm because when you are doing things like this innovating pushing the envelope leading-edge type of approaches you may lose some sleep over that now and then hmm but each time you can see the proof that it really worked and paid off have you sleep much better everybody this is Devin Miller here with another episode of the inventive journey for those of you that are new to the podcast or first-time Watchers or listeners I'm Devin Miller your host I am the founder of Miller IP law where we for patent attorney patent and trademark attorneys that help startups and small businesses protect and grow their business I'm also a serial entrepreneur and love to explore the the journeys of others so today we have a great guest on that's gonna tell a little bit about his journey he is you live want to make sure I say it right and he is worked for quite a while at IBM and did some data security work or has some big customers that he'll mention about and kind of will talk to you a little bit about his journey but welcome on to the podcast thank you thank you I'm glad to be here thank you for coming on so tell us a little bit about your journey about how you got started all the way back when and IBM and and what brought you up till today with working with the security yeah thank you so I I worked at IBM in 20 years in software development and in the IBM research organization and my focus was IT architecture and security so I developed the databases applications and focusing more and more on security I security data security became more and more my focus area and I've been head of innovation at the token axe a payment the security company and I've been chief technology officer at a couple of companies like Atlantic vici compliance engineering and protag rity and that fraternity I invented a new way of doing data protection called both less tokenization and I was very excited about taking that innovative step into securing payment information and all kind of different PII identifiable information so I I've been in research as I mentioned and I can't we have 73 issued US patents and they are in the area of encryption threat protection data you should control intrusion prevention and and so and during my time at these companies I worked with IBM Microsoft HP Oracle RSA and other companies so it I left the big company IBM to start up protag rity where we had joined integration projects at IBM Microsoft HP and Oracle so IBM it became reseller put our security product on the IBM price list Microsoft became a close partner so my team had an office on the Microsoft campus outside Seattle and we developed the even ecommerce security product for Microsoft and Microsoft distributed our software on the Microsoft software distribution so we're gonna all pause you right there for just a second so you jumped over a bit of a I'm sure an interesting point which is hey you were at IBM I think you mentioned first 19 or 20 years worked with them for quite a while and you know and especially back in the heyday and I be I'm still a huge company and does a lot but you know 19 20 years you know but a bit ago they were a big company they were you know well-known renamed recognized had a lot of you know stability and brand power and everything else and then he decided to you know jump over and do more of a startup on data security and IBM became one of your you know one of your customers in that but how did he decide okay I'm at IBM I've been there for a while you know 19 20 years is a good it's a good chunk of time at a given company how did you decide that now we're going to strike out on her own or do a start-up or go over to data security and leave what would be IBM and for people they know some people would think would be you know dream job or a great company okay I I try to convince IBM to focus more on database encryption database security and it was too early I think that innovation was ahead of its time so I decided to be by VM because I always follow my passion I get a vision an ID and I just want to pursue it so IV it was too early for IBM so I left it to a startup and if I talked to Oracle at that time and Oracle said hmm this is interesting and we have a one of the two major soda beverage manufacturers and they need encryption of the Oracle database and that was something or he couldn't do so Oracle told this company to contact me and our startup company and we developed our first product and that was used by the beverage company to secure a a lot of sensitive data a IP data eh or data and shortly thereafter Microsoft came to me and said well you did this for Oracle could you do it for Microsoft hmm and and we started an integration with Microsoft very tight integration deep integration with Microsoft and then a couple of other companies came up Sybase for the financial industry and they we developed deeply integrated product with Sybase that they used for the financial industry a big data a company teradata it then came and became a reseller so we started to protect them encrypted very large databases and a couple of other companies like RSA security came and said they they needed more data protection data encryption and we help them with that including the key management and it was a fun journey so there's a whole bunch of great names that you drop there as far as first customers or clients he brought on I think you mentioned before you had you know Pepsi and Coke and Microsoft and Visa and American Express and Goldman Sachs and so you know everybody robe asically everybody's heard of those companies so how was it you know how did you go about if you're you're starting your business you know you start up in data security where they were you know you get all these big companies were they approaching you or you going out with them was it just such a need in the market they're knocking down your door kind of how did you go about landing some of those big you know what would be big companies or big accounts as a start-up okay that was interesting we did not approach these companies Visa MasterCard Goldman Sachs American Express and and and a more we did not approach it was actually IBM Microsoft and Oracle and teradata that he told us that they had customers that urgently needed this type of security solution so they brought us in they helped us in in a I would say in a very supportive way yes oh it come because we were inventive we didn't we didn't have to use the normal a development and support channels partners channels if it instead became a very tight team developed joint development teams that first integrated the products brought their customers in helped us to succeed and then eventually helped us to go to market so I think we were lucky by having something that was leading-edge innovative and they these companies big companies couldn't deliver what the customers asked for in in a timely manner so you it was almost really you had you put out a good product or product you use a bit a bit of your initial network or people you knew you they became a Banja LeSueur it was kind of when spread the word and your own getting referrals from them because they liked your product so much yeah you know I that's correct I've been in in that industry for for some time so if people in my network me up and said hmm I heard you were working on this new inventive technology could we do something here and we did then over the years I wanted to go a little bit broader beyond database encryption so I went into companies that developed data discovery surfaces and software a cloud application security brokers that are encrypting data before it goes to the public cloud in and web application firewalls web products yeah and I I also worked in in companies that provided some security operations center hey so I saw a couple of different angles a how you could skin the cat and make he and security better okay now so that's very interesting so now almost shifting slightly shifting gears you can obviously tell by your accent that you were foreign-born and then you moved into the u.s. kind of is it was it in the midst of your of your career or doing these kind of businesses how did you know when was that happen and what made you decide to leave Sweden which is a great country and come to the u.s. was a opportunity whether the businesses you're working with was it just wanting to see a different part of the world what made you kind of move you know move as you're doing all this move from one country to another yes so this development started in Sweden Europe and more and more of the development and engagement with IBM Microsoft HP Oracle it became very us centric so I ended up spending more time in in u.s. than in Europe and we decided to move to us move the company to to us and that that was great the customer base initial customer base was basically a in u.s. hmm okay so as a matter of decided if most of your company business and clients are all located or located within one given their geographic location or one area that you might air you'll want to be close to the cut our customers in order to better service them yeah and I mentioned a 73 issued US patents so the story is basically when engaging with these customers and these partners they were coming up with new requirements they were discussing direction in the industry and what what they needed so it became a wonderful platform to do more innovation hmm so it came for free by being early in in you know one security aspect so then we jumped forward a little bit and just tell us a little bit about today you're now working so you went through you've done IBM then you went to do data security you worked on cloud technology for a while and did some research development on that and now you're almost moving into kind of a payment platform right is that kind of your payment and do all of that yeah I and yes I am helping different companies advising them in the areas of payment applications for example startups in that area that are innovating payment systems I'm advising organizations on solutions for data privacy and security and in particular in in the mix of environments where they need to consider on-premises combined with hybrid cloud solutions and the mobile environment hmm so then and so you're doing that doing it as a kind of a consulting you're helping people to better secure better protect our money in our transactions which is always a positive so how did you see you kind of make these and they're all kind of within the data security and you know technology rail excuse me that's you um so you do all of that so how did you decide kind of when you got to you when you decided to make the jump between each of them so you go from IBM you go to the data security go to cloud technology started working and consulting in that and doing a payment platforms and I get that there's kind of a common thread but how did you decide okay I'm kind of done or I'm wrapping up with this next one I'm ready for my next adventure my next journey or my next opportunity what kind of triggered it that each time I I think I was treated by my network so people that I work with or used to work with in the industry be they had a dialogue with me about what is the next front what do we need and what are the problems that are not sold so for example country I'm working on it innovation in an area that is helping secure sharing of data secure exchange of data in a highly distributed environment he highly cloud focused and mobile focused environment yeah I cannot talk much about the details but it's basically taking the next step in securing data being compliant but making data usable when you share that with partners when you share it internally when you address threats from criminals and different type of attacks and that's very exciting no I I can see that and that's a pretty exciting place to be and to work in and to be working on developing so what so then well as we're kind of looking at that and you've jumped through you've done all those projects which one's been your favorite or if you're the bureau just have unlimited funds unlimited ability to go and do whatever project you have you know money wasn't money and time weren't any issues what would you jump into either next or what would you continue to do I view as the cornerstones are based on data the applications that are using that data and the user that is accessing that data so those are the constants and the core of what I view as security and privacy issues and data application and user is then applied to different environments a mobile cloud and hybrid environments so solving better way is to secure securely operate and share data in those environments is whether I want to go next so for example you you have more and more untrusted parties that you need to work with they need to do computing for you they need to you need to share information with them and you still need to run a business so whatever you do need to be highly transparent to the business processes it need to be compliant of course to many of the new coming the regulations you have the GDP are you have the California CCPA and you have a more and more privacy regulations coming honest so finding that balance between operational requirements to run your business processes and at the same time providing the how to say adequate security for security and privacy for compliance reasons for addressing emerging attacks on on on your data and and your systems so that's where I want to be I want to continue to be there and and it is a changing landscape so it's it's very very encouraging I don't think that data security is going anywhere anytime soon or payment platforms or cloud technology so you're certainly positioned well and a lot of those areas because they're certainly continued to be growing areas well hey we are reaching tight towards the end the episode and I always have two questions I always want to make sure that we hit on and so I'll go ahead and ask those now so the first question I always ask is so what is the worst business decision you ever made I think that looking back I stayed too long in that big company I I learned a lot at IBM I had a lot of fun a lot of friends but staying there for almost 20 years that was too long I wish looking back I think I should have started if a new company before that yeah and also moving from a small company to United States I should have done that earlier in my career all right so biggest mistakes words you didn't jump in soon enough and you waited too long but it still sounds like it worked out well ok second question is if you were to get someone that was trying to get into maybe the technology industry your payment platforms or cloud technology of data security and kind of all that realm look you're someone that's either just wanting to get into it or just have a startup that just began in this industry what's the number one piece of advice you'd give them you know you need to get comfortable with the unknown hmm because when you are doing things like this innovating pushing the envelope leading-edge type of approaches you may lose some sleep over that now and then but each time you can see the proof that it really worked and paid off have you sleep much better and for example if you look at a protag rity the first startup I worked in they are more than 300 people now many years after so so I'm looking back and and I conclude that okay we didn't know in the beginning if this actually would be feasible or sellable and eventually it proved out we start a little bit early but eventually proved out to be a great solution oh cool well that is that is great so I think that's some great advice for people to the followers or trying to do their startups again into this industry well thank you for coming on to the podcast it's been it's a fun it's been fun to hear your journey and it always never enough time and always more journey than they want to talk about but it's always fun to hear how people get going and it was fun to hear how you started with a big company and it weaved your way to a few different businesses and made the transition a movie moving to a different country and all of that so thank you again for coming on it Thank You Debian it was a pleasure to have this conversation with you and stay safe now I will certainly do so so thank you so and for all those all the listeners for if you enjoyed this journey and you have a journey of yourself the of your own to tell feel free to go on to inventive Journey calm and apply to be a guest on the podcast and for those of you that are looking there starting a start start up for small business and wanting to protect and grow it certainly feel to reach out and Miller I feel all we want to make sure to help you ever take and grow your business with patents and trademarks so always let us know and we're happy to help you along your journey so thank you again for coming on and it's been a pleasure and we hope to hope your journey continues to go well thank you very much and most importantly stay safe now in these tell her [Music] English (auto-generated) All Recently uploaded

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