Simple 1871 fact -- the people make the place. Today we chat with Isaiah Sarju, Co-Owner of cyber security consultancy Revis Solutions.
That "Oh No" Moment
There wasn't so much an “aha” moment as a series of "oh no"s. In the security world, you don't have to look hard to find a problem. It's the solution that requires finesse. When I joined 1871, working on a different venture than I am now, I had conversations with startups, people at small firms, and folks with non-traditional businesses.
Since I can’t ever turn off my security mind, I found myself internally saying “uh oh, that’s bad”, a lot. I realized that some of the most vulnerable folks weren’t taking the steps to secure themselves and their businesses. I work everyday so that I can say “uh oh, that’s bad” a little less.
Investing in Connections
I’ve invested in the connections that I’ve made and I give when I can. I also say no when I can’t give. Throughout my life I’ve made many connections, and I try to maintain strong connections with those that I already know instead of constantly seeking new connections.
When I need help, I do significant research and then bring my assumptions to my mentors. They appreciate the leg work I put in and sometimes I throw it all away for a much better option. But we get to the better options more quickly and I can be respectful of their time.
I build new and strengthen current connections by being a giver. Giving is rewarding on both sides and builds closeness. I work to say “no” more often as I’d rather not help at all than help in poor manner – I have to get better at this.
I expect things to get hard and I believe that I can get through whatever comes my way. “Getting through” means different things at different times: I’m successful, I decide I have to give up, or the struggle stops because of external factors. I’ve been depressed and I expect it will happen again in the future. I have also proven to myself that I can get through those times.
[I deal with adversity by being] open with a level head. I’m accepting of challenges and adversity, and on some level I seek it out. Whether it’s learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, living in a foreign country, or simply trying to improve my communication with those that I care about, I seek to learn new things about myself and this world. Adversity simply comes with the territory.
Most Important Lesson
Mark Achler [Managing Director at MATH Venture Partners] asked me if I knew the difference between my end user and my customer. In other words, who is going to use my product, and who is going to pay for it. Trying to answer that question helped me realize that I needed to shut down the venture I was working on at the time.
From an empirical standpoint, diversity helps companies grow, sell more, and reach their customers better. From a humanity standpoint I believe that diversity is the gateway to equity. But between diversity and equity, you have segregation; A diverse group of folks where some are excluded from the benefits. This is Chicago: diverse but not equitable. [Equity] cannot be solved by a few feel good programs and tokenization.
My dad once told me that our weaknesses are often an overuse of our strengths. This helps us be more gracious to ourselves and others.
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