Happy New Year from Yubico! We are very excited for the upcoming year and 2019 has already kicked off with two new product announcements at CES, and now we’re expanding the Yubico family.
As of two weeks ago, we added another member to our executive team: Guido Appenzeller. Guido joins us as the Chief Product Officer of Yubico to focus on product development and strategy, a critical role to the company’s continued innovation and success in making strong authentication truly ubiquitous. Previously, he served as CTO of VMWare, Consulting Professor at Stanford, and the founder of two start-ups.
Please join me in welcoming Guido into the YubiFamily. To learn a little more about Guido here is an excerpt from a recent interview between Ronnie Manning, our VP of Communications, and Guido.
From founding two different start-ups to working as CTO for VMWare, you have had experience with both large and small companies. While each phase of company growth presents its own set of challenges, which growth phase would you say you enjoy the most and why?
Both have been incredible experiences. I love small companies because of their agility and speed. You spot a new opportunity and with a good team you can have a product in the market months later. On the other hand, being an executive in a large company puts huge resources at your disposal. At VMware, we entered new markets by buying the market leader and then accelerating it with an enterprise sales team of several thousand people. In the end for me, it boils down to where I can have more overall impact and usually that is in a smaller company.
What’s the single biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career about successfully growing a company, and how do you plan to bring that to your role at Yubico?
The two most important things about growing a company is the market and the team. Yubico is in a great market and solving a key problem: how to make the internet secure. Stina, Jakob and the team have done a great job creating a culture that focuses on security while at the same time emphasizing a fun user experience. That’s actually pretty rare for a security company. My goal is to keep this culture while building the lightweight process that’s needed to take Yubico through the next phases of its growth.
You have a long history of leading companies through successful growth periods. In an ideal world, how do you envision Yubico’s growth to unfold over the next 1-5 years?
The short-term opportunity for Yubico is to replace passwords as the main authentication method in the internet. This is a huge shift. It would all but eliminate phishing while actually improving usability. But this is just scratching the surface. Having inexpensive hardware with advanced cryptographic functionality opens up new applications for payments, messaging security, IoT security and secure infrastructure. Long term, these are the areas that excite me most.
What are the most exciting and daunting aspects of working in the cybersecurity industry?
Security is often an afterthought. We have a rich history in the technology industry of first building systems where we ignore security, then recognizing our error and eventually bolt on a security solution that is awkward to use and difficult to understand. I think what initially got me excited about the YubiKey is that it is one of the very few security products that is easy to understand and that end users actually love to use.
When you’re not busy tackling the roles and responsibilities of a Chief Product Officer, what are most likely to be doing?
I love the outdoors and like exploring the world on foot, scuba diving or behind the controls of a small airplane that I have flown all the way from California to the Caribbean. I am an avid gamer with my kids or alone, and recently have been spending more and more time in Virtual Reality.
The Yubico team will continue to grow in 2019. If you’re interested in a career in cybersecurity at Yubico, check out our open job opportunities here.