The blog post is split into four parts:
- The Past: A brief history of how Gartner Innovation Center was formed.
- The Present: What Gartner Innovation Center is currently up to
- The decision to move and get out of my comfort zone
- The Future: My thoughts on what’s going to happen next
Senexx was acquired by Gartner three years ago. Originally, Gartner meant to move the development to the U.S, while Zeevi Michel (CEO, Senexx) & Michael Gelfand (CTO, Senexx) wanted to stay in Israel.
Nir Polonsky had an idea (back then was Gartner’s New Markets Group VP). He believed that Gartner should start expanding to new markets that were previously untapped by Gartner, and pitched the idea to Eugene Hall (CEO, Gartner).
I joined just five months after the acquisition, and as far as I remember, was the fifth employee. We were a startup of our own - starting fresh, building the infrastructure for innovation.
I was tasked to quickly implement various proof-of-concept projects and to pitch them to management. It was very important to get something out the door before 2015 in order to show our capability.
We succeeded in pitching two ideas, and two products were born. My pitch for a Business Intelligence system gave me “Dev Lead” responsibilities, and together with Eran Katoni (now VP R&D), we formed a team that would take the project from concept to reality.
We grew fast, but were still a family. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Company-wide lunches and human Nerf-Gun targets weren’t unusual. We goofed around a lot and built some amazing things.
A lot has changed since then. We renovated our building in Lilinblum, Tel Aviv & grown 10x. We’ve grown so much that our building couldn’t fit everyone, so we had to lease extra space. We’ve also received a lot of recognition inside the company and gained a lot of respect for the things we delivered.
Today GICI is split into two distinct groups:
- Digital Markets: working on gaining ground in new markets. One of their key products is CloudAdvice, but they also lead the work to converge Gartner’s latest acquisitions in the digital market space: GetApp, Software Advice and Capterra.
- Core: finding new ways to make Gartner work more efficiently. From a fully autonomous talent scout, to a search engine for analysts - Most of the products are heavily based on data science, and have been extremely disruptive.
I was always at Core, and always working closely with Zeevi and Michael. I actually reported directly to the Zeevi (now Managing Vice President, Head of GICI) for two years, until I moved to the “CTO Office” and started reporting to Michael, the CTO.
Working with Michael has been amazing. As his sidekick, I shared my time between writing infrastructure code, bug hunting, writing Proof-of-Concept projects, being part of significant architectural decisions, DevOps and around-the-clock evangelism.
The problem is that after three years, I got into a comfort zone. If you ever visited my about page you’ve probably noticed Rumi‘s quote at the beginning of the page: “Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”
As much as I love GICI, it was too comfortable. Moreover, being a security fanatic, I had a dream of moving to the cyber security field.
A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine, Amit Serper, said he’s coming for a visit from Boston.
“Cybereason is the leader in endpoint protection, offering endpoint detection and response, next-generation antivirus, managed monitoring and IR services.
Founded by elite intelligence professionals born and bred in offense-first hunting, Cybereason gives enterprises the upper hand over cyber adversaries.
The Cybereason platform is powered by a custom-built in-memory graph, the only truly automated hunting engine anywhere. It detects behavioral patterns across every endpoint and surfaces malicious operations in an exceptionally user-friendly interface.
Cybereason is privately held and headquartered in Boston with offices in London, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo.”
I told Amit what’s on my mind, and he told me to send him my resume. Actually, my romance with Cybereason started more then three years ago, right after their first round of funding, but that’s completely out of scope. I might share that story someday.
Fast forward a few days, and a lot of enthusiasm on both parts, I signed.
Instead of just catching up with a friend over beer, I found myself switching jobs!
I won’t lie to you guys. I’m scared as hell. I built a name for myself at GICI. I have the respect of my colleagues and management. I know everyone. I’m familiar with all the products and all the technologies.
Now I’m moving to Cybereason. I’m not familiar with most of the technology stack. I don’t know anything about the internals of the product. I almost don’t know anyone at the company and to top all that, Aviv Laufer, Cybereason’s VP of Engineering, pretty much told me that he expects me be a 10x programmer.
I believe in Cybereason. I think they’re doing exceptional work, and I’m not the only one. They have just completed a very successful series D funding round that added an extra $100 Million to their pocket. All in all, they’ve raised an impressive $190 Million to date!
Furthermore, I’m certain their product actually works. Why? because Amit works there, and I know that He would’ve never stayed there for so long if it didn’t.
P.S: I hope I won’t fail miserably and find myself out of a job in a few months :)