I quit my 6-figure Hollywood job to start a Security Awareness company. Here’s why.
You Did What?
Well, I’m terrified. At 38 years old, I’ve walked away from the comfort and security of a high-paying job, in a career trajectory that was just beginning to peak. For the last few years, I’ve been meddling and playing in the security awareness video industry (one that, when I began searching for options a few years ago, didn’t really exist).
I first dabbled with funny video usage while at Activision Blizzard, using a video initially put out by Sophos I think. My CISO immediately saw the value and impact of using the video during our security awareness live-trainings. I still can hear her laughing out-loud from her office as she re-watched the video (thank you, Jennifer, for letting me try new things). I was convinced there was something about funny videos.
While I was managing the security awareness & training program for The Walt Disney Company, I began looking for a vendor doing high-quality, funny, security awareness videos. The few I found, weren’t really doing what they claimed - and we chose to produce our own internally. These videos are still alive today and are notorious with those who have seen them. But, this wasn't enough for me. I wanted to share them with the world and wasn't legally permitted (obviously).
So my wife (a working actor, producer, and director in Hollywood) said screw it, and we made our own. Hashtag Awareness was our little baby and it was growing so fast. A little over a year ago we premiered the pilot episode to my peers at a conference (thank you, Lance).
Do What You Believe In
I have this passion, this, almost obsession, with making really funny and engaging security awareness videos. I think end users deserve better than what is out there. I believe everyone deserves access to this information. But we were just a mom & pop shop, in reality, doing our best with our network...
Then a random stroke of luck hit me in the face. I unknowingly began pitching the video series to a local LA tech consultant I had just connected with on LinkedIn. His immediate interest was exciting, and as we were chatting more on the phone I began to feel like I was being interviewed. During the phone call, I realized I was talking with one of the co-founders of Rapid7, and he was very humble when I exploded with "wait did you just say you co-founded Rapid7!?!" shrieking like a fanboy. Chad was very curious about the product and the space, and had some very interesting ideas on how to take the videos to market, and execute it with precision.
Cue a few months later, lots of phone calls and meetings, thousands of dollars in legal counsel, lots of support from family, friends, and peers... and Chad and I formed our new security awareness company. We share a passion for changing the security awareness industry. Two weeks after the official formation, we made the decision that I needed to focus all of my attention on developing the brand and product further...
So, I quit my job at Sony Pictures. I quit my corporate career.
I am so very excited and proud to introduce our new company, Habitu8, Inc. (pronounced ha-bit-chew-ate). Suddenly my twisted and winding career path makes complete sense. We’re gonna change this industry...I hope for the better.
Hope to see you around,