Career Notes 6.26.22
Ep 106 | 6.26.22

Richard Melick: Finding the right pattern to solve the problem. [Threat reporting]


Richard Melick: Hello, my name is Richard Melick. I'm the Director of Threat Reporting over at Zimperium.

Richard Melick: I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. A lot of my friends in elementary school and middle school, their parents were scientists and engineers and I very fondly recollect the meeting of one of my friend's dads who designed the first soda machine to go into space and I got fascinated with it, and I thought, you know what, I'm gonna go design my own aircraft when I get older and start my own aircraft company.

Richard Melick: Then it was a realization a little bit further on that, right around high school. That's like, oh wait, that requires a lot more math than I really like and not to say I'm bad at math. It's just, who wants to do math every single day of their career? And so I found my calling in writing but ultimately college was not for me right away, uh, diagnosed early on with ADD and ADHD. I knew my junior year that if I went to college, I would drop out. So I ended up joining the Marine Corps and that kind of set me on the path that got me to where I am today.

Richard Melick: After four years, it was time for me to get out and I had this dream of being an English teacher. So Marine Corps released me from their grasp and I went to University of Northern Colorado. I go for my first semester and did a tour of a high school and it took two hours for me to realize that was not a good choice. I just focused on writing and communication strategies and graduated college in three and a half years, and started picking up little contracts here and there. I applied for this job at a company that was literally four miles from my house, I had no idea what they did. But they were looking for somebody to do evangelism, communications, help with community development, and social media development of their products.

Richard Melick: So it was my first step into cybersecurity was with Webroot and it just uh, it started to click. I was able to take my knowledge as a network administrator and the security protocols that would build out for all the various networks that we built, the computer management, being a customer of multiple security products and a practitioner, having to deal with threats on that side and how did I apply that to as a communicator, as a writer and to this, to this space that I was very unfamiliar with and it slowly but surely started to fall in place for me.

Richard Melick: I realized that I had found my space and it was taking highly technical conversations, highly technical situations, and explaining it in different levels for different kinds of audience members. It could be highly technical individuals themselves, or it could be down to the bean counters, the accountants that had no clue what was going on, but just wanted to make sure that their investment was going in the right space.

Richard Melick: I always said that if I can explain it to my dad and he gets excited about it, I've done a good job. So I started getting more involved at Webroot and started getting more involved with the product line and understanding it, learning to pitch, learning the products inside and out, doing demos, being trained as an SE, while being on the marketing side. Until I caught the attention of then up- and- comer Cylance and Bryan Gale, was the VP of product marketing over there, uh, he had hired a good friend of mine and my friend had passed on my name to him and he called me up and we had some great interviews, great meetings and within four weeks had a job offer.

Richard Melick: So now it was going from, the small screen to the big screen in my world, all of a sudden it wasn't just online and at a couple different shows. This was living in a hotel room for 200 nights a year, traveling around the world, being a technical spokesperson for this organization and this product and the technology that Cylance was presenting to the world. Cylance got bought by BlackBerry and it becomes a big corporation and I'm not a big corporation guy. I like building, I like the idea of helping to tell the story, not telling a story that other people have told before and this has really impacted my leadership opportunities and my team building approach significantly. So I ended up leaving BlackBerry after three and a half years joined Automox which is a great, great opportunity in that space was stuck around there for about a year and a half of to build out some of the the rapid response, getting in the press. Ended up leaving there, uh, and I joined here at Zimperium the mobile security space to really drive the, the endpoint security product for the mobile device.

Richard Melick: I've been doing this long enough that if I go to a unique problem and try to solve it, I find that I'm solving it the same way that I would've solved it five years ago, because I found my pattern. I found what works for me. And I think that kind of gets us into a cycle of just rinse and repeat. I'm looking at the problems that we need to solve both as a company, as an industry, and I'm saying, okay, who can I bring in that's gonna bring a unique approach to this? I don't want someone necessarily that's been doing the same thing for 30 years. I want someone that's gonna come in with a little bit of a fresh mindset. That's transitioning maybe out of one specific career path into this career path. Be it product marketing, technical marketing, creative marketing, or whatever.

Richard Melick: It's all a team effort, it's just like the marketing and sales relationship. You see so much celebration over organization sales, but you don't see a lot of celebration over the organization's engineering development, or prowess, or patents. This is the industry as a whole, this is a reflection on the industry, you see a lot of LinkedIn posts about, "oh, I got to go to President's Club and look at all the success I made in sales." And not many companies are inviting the people who literally made the product to be successful and when we sit there and think about credit and giving credit, we've got a lot of those kind of people in this industry, people who have worked really hard in their previous careers to solve problems and found their way over into cybersecurity, especially on the machine learning side and they deserve so much of the credit and it's not just making up the mathematical equations, it's understanding, like how do we look at it different again, kind of like that solving the problem from a marketing perspective.

Richard Melick: I love telling stories and I'm able to apply my fascination and attraction to machine learning and artificial intelligence and, uh, the science behind it is in a very similar way that Dave Dufour did in a very similar way that I saw Stuart McClure, do it with Cylance. I'm able to apply that kind of approach to it. And so the audience is sitting there getting involved, getting invested, getting bought into those numbers, getting bought into those mathematical algorithms and believing it, that's the prowess that we need to see more of.