We invite Bob Kruse, Co-Founder and CEO of Revelstoke Security, down to Hacker Valley Studios this week to talk about his journey from investment banking to cybersecurity sales to owning and operating his company with Josh McCarthy. With a focus on communication and peoples skills, Bob discusses how to be a leader in the cybersecurity community, including building strong relationships with staff members, connecting with cyber experts, and developing successful security teams.
[03:40] Selling software to cybersecurity practitioners and managing the skepticism around marketing to an audience that’s taught to doubt and question
[08:12] Gaining inspiration for Revelstoke Security from the entrepreneurs in his family and his experience starting his cyber business with his partner Josh McCarthy
[12:51] What being an early-stage startup looked like for Revelstoke and lessons learned from their first pitches to cybersecurity investors
[15:01] Comparing and contrasting being someone in cybersecurity sales to being a CEO of his very own company
[20:58] Looking towards the future of Revelstoke Security as they expand into new markets and continue to build their business around providing solid cybersecurity jobs
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Were there any speculations like, "Hey, can this guy really go from sales to being a CEO at a tech company?"
Bob’s focus throughout his career in cybersecurity has completely revolved around sales. From his first cybersecurity role at Oracle Corporation to his recent position at Demisto, Bob’s prominence and impact on the cyber industry has always had sales at the center. Co-founding Revelstoke, Bob encountered skepticism and wariness from investors, curious if he would be able to transition into a cybersecurity CEO. Thanks to his knack for knowledge and his confident partner Josh, Bob has defied expectations and built up his own confidence in his new role.
“It's about having a co-founder that compliments you, that you can implicitly trust, and implicitly trusts you. You can have the best technology in the world and the best idea in the world, but if you don't have a trusted relationship…it's not going to be successful.”
Between your previous life in sales, and now, being a founder and CEO, what are some of the parallels?
With so much experience in sales on his resume, we were curious which parts of Bob’s journey to CEO were similar to previous positions he’s held. It turns out, just like we’ve discussed on Hacker Valley Red, communication has been a key element no matter Bob’s position in cyber. No matter who he’s talking to, or what side of the house he’s marketing towards, people skills continue to be his forte. Being able to have discussions with employees, investors, and potential clients relies heavily on honest authentic communication skills, even though his business knowledge has had to grow immensely since becoming CEO.
“Today, I still lean on my people skills, and over-communicate. I try to have one-on-ones with everybody in the company. I welcome every new hire we have, and it's increasingly important, obviously, as we have a widely distributed team.”
Where has your focus on introductions and networking come from?
We know Bob as an introduction master, and he’s even helped us with meeting some of the biggest guests we’ve invited to Hacker Valley. With so many cyber security experts in his network from all corners of the cybersecurity industry, we had to ask Bob where he learned the value of making those connections. It turns out— it’s always been that way for Bob Kruse, from the days of his early childhood working at his father’s business. Connecting others, communicating with them, and learning how to help has been his passion for his entire life.
“When somebody needs your help, it's a compliment. I've always found it as a compliment in that I have something they don't, and I can impart on them some sort of an introduction, or a reference, or some knowledge.”
What impact or impression are you hoping to leave on the world with Revelstoke?
There are a lot of cybersecurity startups that make their way down to Hacker Valley, but Revelstoke Security seems like a different breed, with a strong staff at its core— so strong that they’ve only grown since they began and have yet to lose a single employee. With an impact like that on the cyber job market, we asked Bob what he sees on the horizon for Revelstoke. He made it clear: more jobs. Success, for Bob and Josh at Revelstoke, relies on building strong teams and providing the right jobs for those team members and their families.
“Success…is starting a company and providing jobs for people, jobs that never existed before you decided to start a company. I want my legacy to be somebody that not only started a successful company financially, but that employed a lot of people and supported a lot of families.”
Learn more about Revelstoke Security on their website.
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