Career Notes 4.2.23
Ep 143 | 4.2.23

Alon Jackson: Sometimes you feel like an octopus. [CEO]


Alon Jackson: Hello, my name is Alon Jackson and I'm the co-founder and CEO of Astrix Security.

Alon Jackson: I always wanted to be an astronaut, that's the truth. Um, I ended up founding Astrix, which is not very far when you think of it, and also the name Astrix, kind of have the, the astro, um, kind of prefix, uh, into it, but I guess that's, uh, that's my fir first thought of what I wanna do, when I'll grow up as kid.

Alon Jackson: I think I was always quite a geeky guy. So started off by building Lego and then building robots, and then building, uh, software. Um, but creating, I think, uh, things, uh, from the ground up. Uh, in this time it's a startup, right? It's a brand new company. Uh, but I think that's a big passion that kind of, uh, went, uh went for years.

Alon Jackson: Prior to being, uh, you know, the CEO and founder of Astrix, I actually led the R and D group at Argos. The company does the automotive cyber security, basically hacking into cars and cool stuff like that, and before that I actually had quite a long army career. So around 12 years at 8200. It's the, um, cybersecurity unit in Israel. So my last position there actually left as a major, um, which is quite a high rank, and the last position there was in charge of the cloud department. So anything to do with, you know, offensive operations and, uh, you know, really the other side of the coin of what we're doing now. So that was the last position there and, and before that many different, you know, management positions. I actually did my master's thesis in cryptography, so as I said, quite a geeky guy in, uh, in heart. Um, and before that, um, I actually met my co-founder and CTO, uh, a long time ago. Um, so it's, when I say a long time, so it's not five or 10 years, it's over 15 years now. In the Army were recruited together to an Army military excellence, uh, kind of program, so we went through a lot, uh, together. Um, yeah, and, and before that, as I said, you know, a geeky guy building robots. 

Alon Jackson: As a startup founder, I think you, you feel like an octopus, right? You're doing everything. You're doing legal, finance, product, right, marketing, sales, um, you really feel like you have to touch a lot of, uh, a lot of different, uh, aspects. I think specifically with our journey, things are, are escalating quickly, which is amazing. You really see the, the company growing. Um, we'll soon reach 30, uh, employees and you know, it just happened in a year and a bit, uh, which is crazy. So, every few months, I'm kind of, uh, letting go and delegating a big chunk of, of my time. So, I think my job is, is kind of focusing and, and diminishing as time goes by, but really changing all the time. It really changes every kind of two, three months um, in that sense. And I think the general line is always, of course, kind of thinking, how do we want the company, uh, uh, to look like in half a year and a year from now? What do we need to do to get there, right? What kind of people we need, the partners we need to help us, uh, get, uh, to the next steps. So these are kind of, uh, thoughts I was have in mind, and it's a new challenge kind of almost every day.

Alon Jackson: So I think a very bottom ups approach, and I think this is kind of a, you know, how a lot of, uh, the folks in Israel at least, uh, from the cybersecurity industry it's kind of a, a small bubble, right? I think this is how we kind of, uh, we're grown up in, in the unit, 8200. The ranks don't really matter in that sense. 8200 is a, is an army, right? But it really functions not very much as you would expect with the line, uh, of chain of command and you could really, you know, listen, um, to everyone and take everyone's opinion into account. So I think this is really something I'm taking with me and a, a good complimentary to that, which is something that we are embracing very much as, you know, as a startup is, you have to run fast with decisions. And the idea is really to fail quickly and learn from it, right? The idea is really to fail fast, learn from it, and, and, and switch, instead of kind of dwelling on what should we choose or dwelling on the way that we choose that path that we chose, uh, to take, um, some really small steps.

Alon Jackson: I think the major advice would be that, you know, look around and understand that, um, innovation never ends. Technology moves forward and moves fast, and security always falls back, right? Um, so looking into the, uh, security industry that might look intimidating and very crowded, right? There's always the next thing, right, technology won't stop. There's new stuff, there's always a new AI thing that is coming out that will give more room, right? Uh, for both people to build uh, new productivity tools, right? So without good brakes and without good seat belts, right? Uh, you can't really drive, uh, the cars these days, but this is how cars started off, right? Um, so really there's always room for innovation, uh, and new companies in this space and, you know, also remember that it's all about people in the end, despite very, being very, very technological and always needing to be the cutting edge, the bleeding, cutting edge of, of what's going on, it's all about people in all, in all sense.

Alon Jackson: I think the main goal is, is maybe two. One, building a company that people kind of know about, remember, and is important in the world, right? And being one of those companies that, uh, people know about. But not only that, um, also putting the, hanging the hat like you said, after I know that I've built, uh, an organization that is the dream organization I would always, uh, want to be at. So it's a place where people can really fulfill themselves, uh, to the fullest, you know, get the most, uh, exciting and, uh, and challenging missions to do and enjoy a good both work life balance with the hard challenges and, and the place where people really want to wake up, go into the morning, or log into their zoom, um, and encourage their friends to come over and just be one of those best places to work at, really being like a role model for, uh, for employers.