1. Tell us about the business you work for and its mission
Idenprotect is a cyber security company providing high security browsers and passwordless systems for remote workers at the world's largest banks.
2. What attracted you to working in operations originally?
The diversity of issues and problems which need to be solved, and having to work across organisations to deliver the solutions.
3. What was your path to becoming a Chief Operating Officer?
I took a very unplanned circuitous path starting in Tech Support then Sales in New York City. Before getting an MBA and joining a global Strategy Consulting company. It was while working on yet another strategy project, I realised I got much more satisfaction from delivering a final product than writing a strategy for one. My journey then continued through Product Development to General Management before finding the fit with Operations where I have spent the last ten years.
4. What are the core skills and experience required for your position?
I feel the COO role is more about the breadth of skills and experiences. One moment it is working closely with the CFO and CEO on DCF and P&L models for fundraising, then delving into product design with Engineering teams to optimise product/market fit and unit economics, before maybe working closely with Sales on Sales Ops issues. While the issues and problems are nearly always new, there are patterns which having experienced similar situations a number of times before allows for better discussions and I believe better outcomes.
5. Often the COO has a wide-ranging remit encompassing everything from finance to sales to recruitment. How do you approach managing so many different departments?
Hire really good people and ask thoughtful questions.
6. You've worked in many industries including FinTech and AI, did you find any major differences from the perspective of running operations?
Like many roles, operations is about people and getting the best out of teams. Hiring the best, motivating the best, dealing with HR issues quickly, helping teams plan/coordinate/collaborate, etc. The important things remain constant, and I've found systems and processes look more similar than dissimilar between industries.
7. Tell us what you love most about working in ops
The people I get to work with from all over a company and the variety of problems to solve.
8. What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar career path?
Read lots, and go on training courses provided by your employer.
9. What do you do to relax in your free time?
Run, watch our children play sport, and play tennis (poorly).
10. Which essential item do you always pack for a business trip?
Finally, any company news that you would like us to include to share with our audience?
If you work in finance, pharmaceutical, government or other industry where getting hacked causes a world of pain, I would think about getting a demo of the Idenprotect system so you understand why most single sign on and authenticators aren't that secure.