Focus (you don’t have as much time as you think)

There are two signs on my office wall. One says, “Life is Short, Do Stuff That Matters” and another says, “Get It Done.” Both speak to what connects me to my working life and to the culture we’re building at Dtex Systems.

In any job I’ve taken or investment decision I’ve made, whether I’m investing my money, or more importantly my time, I ask whether it’s for a problem worth solving, and whether it matters.

When I worked at Motorola, it was very easy for me to understand why our work mattered; by mobilizing data we were able to change how healthcare worked, how banking services were accessed, and how people consumed media. Some folks who’d never had access to the internet, or even a telephone, found themselves with a mobile device that for the first time created a connection to the digital world.

The other motivator for me, as someone who has spent a lifetime in technology, is that our inventions – devices, applications, and social networks – are being weaponized.

At Dtex, we tackle the risk that insiders raise to company security. We ask how competitors get access to confidential data or how data ends up in a place that it shouldn’t. We question how these things happen because it remains a massive dark spot for many enterprises and one that we can’t afford not to solve.

I think part of the reason why we haven’t had reliable solutions in this space in the past is because nobody had been thoughtful about how to do it in a way where visibility can be ensured and users can feel confident that their privacy is being protected. Dtex takes care not to intrude. Our monitoring platform has a tiny footprint, with near-zero performance impact on end users. That means that security doesn’t slow down their lives or their work, or erode their trust or invade their privacy.

The other motivator for me, as someone who has spent a lifetime in technology, is that our inventions – devices, applications, and social networks – are being weaponized. There are a tremendous number of bad actors taking advantage of technologies that were created with good intentions. It feels like there is a responsibility on my part, and others in my field, to defend our turf by securing the environments we work in.

At Dtex, this means establishing employees as trusted insiders rather than insider threats. It’s about removing barriers to efficiency and helping people bring their full selves to work.

Not every application needs to be locked and blocked; it’s okay to go to the cloud, it’s okay to go to G-suite, it’s okay to tell folks that they can have a personal and a professional life during the day.

What’s not okay is people taking advantage of those blurry lines by stealing data that belongs to their company and giving it to people who shouldn’t have it. We believe the fear of that happening no longer justifies putting in place restrictive boundaries.

The way to make users feel trusted and protected is transparency. Users need to understand that the company’s policies have purpose and there will be transparency about how compliance is monitored. We’re not keystroke logging and we’re not videotaping screens or doing anything invasive or creepy. We’re creating trust through transparency to ensure a more secure world.

Focus and Speed
For a company that is growing as quickly as Dtex, focus is critical.

I understand that those in product management have interdependencies with engineering and with sales and marketing. In order to get stuff done, all of those teams must be focused on the same set of outcomes.

I’ve been very blessed in my career. At Apple and Motorola I had the chance to work with some really iconic leaders. I watched closely their method of understanding the big picture. From a strategic point of view, they were crystal clear on what mattered and what didn’t, and that enabled them to be incredibly focused on execution and operations.

Founders of companies are often very good at the big picture; they think that if they can solve a certain problem or get access to a particular piece of technology, then amazing things will happen.

As CEO my task is to visualize hitting the finish line with a certain set of capabilities and to work backwards from there, determining with my team everything that needs to be done to achieve our goals.

We fly to 100,000 feet and down to a metre off the ground, while also moving laterally. I understand that those in product management have interdependencies with engineering and with sales and marketing. In order to get stuff done, all of those teams must be focused on the same set of outcomes. It’s all about execution, execution, execution.

At Dtex we know what we’re focused on. We’re trying to get there as fast as we can, working to the intense rhythms of Silicon Valley where we’ve seen so many examples of entire industries disrupted overnight by nothing more than a cool app.
Right now, there’s a lot of customers and companies that are relying on us, but the world can change in an instant. At Dtex, I’m driven by the knowledge that we never have as much time as we think.

Christy Wyatt is the CEO of Dtex Systems.