Founders & Friends with Scott Orn

A Startup Podcast by Kruze Consulting

Startup Podcast by Scott Orn

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Posted on: 12/15/2017

Michael Piacente of Hitch Partners - The Best Executive Search Firm for Security Professionals

Michael Piacente

Michael Piacente

Co-Founder and Managing Partner - Hitch Partners


Podcast Summary

Michael Piacente discusses his firm, Hitch Partners, the leading Executive Search Firm for Security Professionals. Michael talks about the explosion in demand for Executives in Security and the downside companies face when they haven’t invested properly in securing their IT Operations. Michael is a long time recruiting expert and shares tons of Best Practices for Recruiting as well.

Podcast Transcript

Scott:

Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn of Kruze Consulting. My very special guest is Michael Piacente of Hitch Partners. Welcome, Michael.

Michael:

Thanks for having me, Scott.

Scott:

Michael and I have been friends for two or three years, and in that time, Michael has started his own company in the IT security space. Michael, you want to tell everyone how you had the idea for the company, how you got in the space in general?

Michael:

Sure. Yeah, the origin of Hitch Partners ... I have a partner down in Austin, Texas, a fine gent named Brett, who works with me. We both had run larger, national firms, even boutique firms, and we were both in the CIO space, actually, CTO, CIO space. We noticed in the CIO space, it took about 10 years or 12 years for that position to really transform. CIOs used to handle infrastructure, and apps, and program management, and governance. Every year, it seemed that with changes in technology, specifically cloud, different pieces were stripped away or the definition changed. In about 2014, 2015, I started running my first CISO searches. I noticed a much more accelerated transformation and to the point where now a CISO's role, which has really been elevated, has changed because of the cloud into what we call DevSecOps within a matter of two years. The position is completely different than what it used to look like even in 2014, and so we thought that there was an opportunity there to really identify key pain for clients that are really having a hard time identifying what the candidates look like and what the process should look like. That was the origin of the company, and so far so good.

Scott:

That's awesome. CISO stands for chief security officer, right?

Michael:

It does, yeah. The original one was the chief information security officer, which kind of denotes the bare metal and infrastructure sitting in a data center or somewhere else.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

Now, we have moved the I, or at least we're focused on moving the I out of there, and now it's chief security officer.

Scott:

You're totally right about the change in CIOs and how that position got elevated over time. Because I remember I was working at Lighthouse doing venture vesting back in the day, and it was like, yeah, they were more focused on managing infrastructure or whatever, the servers or things ... With now with the cloud, I feel like a lot of that job ... A, they're more important to the companies, because IT is like the weapon that everyone uses to either reach customers more efficiently or to deliver their service more efficiently. It's like it's pervaded our entire economy, like the software eats the world, kind of Marc Andreeson thing.

Michael:

Absolutely.

Scott:

That's super important. Those people are now one of the top two or three executives at every big company, especially the Fortune 500. Then, this element of hacking and security became so huge. I think that for me, the watershed moment was the Target thing where Target got hacked.

Michael:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott:

Didn't the CEO of Target get fired like a week later or something like that?

Michael:

The CISO, yes. Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah. Now, that position's getting elevated, and now all the CEOs across the world, or CFOs, know that that is a critical job they need to hire for.

Michael:

You're absolutely right.

Scott:

Now they're reaching out to people like you.

Michael:

Yeah, absolutely right. We've also seen the movement from what was an information risk officer to an infosec officer to now more of a cloud security officer. The technical level of these individuals, these leaders, needs to be accelerated, but also, the fact that they need to really focus in governance is key. I mean, you know better than anyone working with startups in your business that startups accelerate from looking like a few guys in a garage to, "I need to act like a public company," very quickly. We've seen CISOs and CSOs being hired significantly earlier in the process than even a CIO.

Scott:

Wow, really?

Michael:

That tells me a lot about where the market is. Unfortunately, we're not prepared for those. Now, we are. That's what we do, but the companies in general aren't really prepared for that search at that stage of their maturity. That's one of the things we're trying to help them out.

Scott:

That's the perfect opportunity for you. You guys are getting in early. I mean, how much of your communication or sales is trying to convince them there's a real need? Or, have you seen it shift over the last couple years where now they're coming to you?

Michael:

I would say at least eight out of 10 times that we are working with a client, it is walking in to advise them on what they already know, which is that there is a pretty large point of pain in their organization and that we're really focused on helping them gather all the information from all the parts of their organization. Because one thing about security that's really interesting is that the nomenclature is very different. There's no common language. We actually have a process called interviewing the interviewers where, before every search, we will walk in to a prospect, and we will interview everyone that's going to be on that interview committee-

Scott:

Interesting.

Michael:

... For two purposes. One is to really, truly identify the pain and come up to the CEO or CFO mostly and say, "This is what we have discovered," but also is to really come up with a common language. You have your CEO using the word, "I need a cybersecurity officer." Your head of products is saying, "I need a DevSecOps master," and then your marketing person saying, "I need a CISO." They all mean the same thing, but when you actually dive down into what technically that means, or what that means from a gravitas or presence level, it's actually very different.

Scott:

Can you get into that a little bit?

Michael:

Sure.

Scott:

Because, first of all, I started laughing because Trump talking about cyber flashed into my mind there, which was-

Michael:

Yes. He is very good for our business.

Scott:

Yeah. Yeah, he really is. Oh, man. Anyways, that could be a whole nother podcast, but ...

Michael:

Podcast version two. We'll do that.

Scott:

Yeah. Talk about the difference of the person the CEO's looking for, or thinks they should be looking for, to maybe the person the organization really needs. Because I feel like the CEOs fly at such a high level, they think of it ... They're probably mostly worried about losing their job.

Michael:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott:

Maybe I'm being too presumptive, but what are those different kind of profiles that the different people in an organization are looking for?

Michael:

Yeah, we have a client right now I won't name, but the CFO there has distilled the security space into these pillars, which I think is very impressive. He's a wonderful ... He's just a great communicator, and I think he's spot on when he says that there's ... When you're looking for a CISO, there's really four main areas. You have this presence from inside in communicating in your internal community, everything from the nontechnical marketing person and salesperson to the very technical developer or coder.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

There needs to be a level of trust that you're going to protect us. There needs to be a level of communication that everything is going to be okay and that we're on the latest versions of whatever we need to be. Then, there's the view of what the external posture looks like is another big pillar.

Scott:

That's really good.

Michael:

Very much like a CFO, what's your outwardly-facing focus as CSO is very much a spokesperson. Not necessarily when the proverbial shit hits the fan, but even before that.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

If you're in a product company and you're selling a security product company, you really want to make sure that you're out there in the community. He distills it down to these pillars, which I think is very ... It's so true. Because the position has become more elevated, the CFO tends to be more focused on the gravitas, and the presence, and could this person contribute greater on my C-suite than just the technical things that we usually go to that person for? It's very different than a CIO. A CIO, most people didn't know the CIO's name until something went wrong. The CISO is out there in the community. They're getting interviewed by the trade mags and the media, whereas on the ... That's at the executive level, and that filters through to the head of sales, head of HR, everyone else that's involved. When you get down into the engineering piece, that's where it gets really interesting because traditionally, cloud security has been held by engineering. It's been embedded in engineering. Developers

want toScott:

That was kind of the reason for the cloud, right?

Michael:

Yeah.

Scott:

It was more secure, supposedly?

Michael:

Absolutely.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

Absolutely, and so they have all of this data. They have all this code, and the new CISO, the new version of the CISO, I would say about 2015 and onward, is really focused about protecting code, protecting the company's crown jewels of their product. That audience is very different. They want to understand how can you go toe to toe with me on the technical level? At what scale did you work with? You're looking for a candidate that expands ... Often we are this ... We call it the purpose squirrel in recruiting, but I've never seen anything like it with the span in a CISO space.

Scott:

So, they're looking for the purple unicorn, or squirrel, being the perfect person, basically, someone who can talk to the community like a CFO does and instill confidence and calmness and lack of worry, to someone who can also talk engineering with the hardest-core developers in an organization.

Michael:

The other two pieces are, "Can you talk to my legal counsel, and can you also talk to my customers in sales and marketing?" It is really very much a unicorn position, and-

Scott:

Do you benchmark that? Or, do you come in and say, "Look, we'd be lucky to get two and a half of those four, or three of those four"? How do you weight it? Or, is it just the preferences of the person who's doing the hiring?

Michael:

That's a great question. What we do, the interviewing the interviewer process does help prioritize that.

Scott:

Yeah, I love that.

Michael:

We say, "Okay. Here are the five or six main criteria that your organization is looking for. We did a collective assessment. Here's all the data. Now let's prioritize this." Because really, in executive recruiting, it's not necessarily, "Can we find the perfect candidate?" I look at it as let's look at what the negatives ... Let's look at what the minuses are of a candidate, and can you live with those, and can you mentor those minuses?

Scott:

That's a good point, yeah.

Michael:

Because really, we're looking-

Scott:

No one's perfect, you know?

Michael:

No one is perfect. Hopefully, companies realize they're not paying us to find the perfect match, but they do expect us to advise them on what's important, what's not, what may be just a loud voice speaking versus the reality of the market. Like I always say, I say that my role is very different in that I have to do probably 90% advising now well before a search begins.

Scott:

Interesting.

Michael:

There's a difference between-

Scott:

Because you're trying to make sure they are receptive to the right kind of person, so that when you bring them the right kind of person-

Michael:

Correct.

Scott:

... They'll hire that person?

Michael:

Yeah, that and we also want to make sure that our process, which is not just, "Here's some candidates. Let's talk about them," but it's really, "Let's talk about the things that are important to you. Let's talk about your cultural matching. Let's understand that not every candidate's going to be a match, and probably the reality is only a few of them that you're going to actually hit your target list." There's-

Scott:

Interviewing the interviewer is the perfect phrase for that, because that ... I mean, I wrote it down on my little notepad because you're right. Coaching those people on how to interview correctly and also pulling the information from them that what they really are looking for ... Because you do this all day long, where they're going to hire a CSO maybe once every three or four years if things go well.

Michael:

Hopefully, yes.

Scott:

Yeah. Right? That makes total sense, and I never thought about it that way. I always thought of a lot of executives searches, having the Rolodex to know when people come open to be able to get that person, but I like how strategic you think about it and how preemptive you are about it.

Michael:

Yeah. I think every search firm says they have a great process and a great network and that's what distinguishes them, but I think it's the little things we can do. There's another thing that we do that we love. We actually conduct a case study towards the end of the interview. We take our two or three finalists, and they come in and present an actual problem-

Scott:

Oh, wow.

Michael:

... That we've given them in advance to the same interview team.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

It's actually fascinating. What happens there is that not only do they determine that the candidate may be a match or not a match, but they actually figure out where they're really good and where they're not really good, what they need to work on internally. So, it's actually-

Scott:

Does the candidate do a set of interviews and stuff like that, or how does the case work? That seems brilliant to me.

Michael:

We send them an actual case study in writing. It's usually a paragraph of a specific example. For instance, we did one recently, which is, "How would you propose to collaborate with the apps development team? In the cloud environment, let's ... Walk us through. We're having some trouble with communication. How would you propose to solve that?"

Scott:

Yeah. I'm laughing because it's like, wow, who could anticipate that?

Michael:

Right.

Scott:

Of course there's going to be communication problems there. Yeah.

Michael:

I could pick that out of any startup in the Bay Area, and that would be the case study.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

The fact is that what happens is they will come in and present in a round table format, usually ... Everyone does it differently. Some candidates will bring in slides. Some will just free speak. Some will ask a question and audit the team, but it gives everyone a chance to see this person at another onion layer lower.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

What's fascinating, I think is about it, is not what the candidate's reaction to the evaluation, but the candidate's evaluation of the client.

Scott:

That's a good point. Well, and are you saying the round table would be maybe the five or six key engineers or executives in the engineering team, something like that?

Michael:

We actually mix it up quite a bit, but most of them will go right back to the original first-round interviewers, so the executive-level team.

Scott:

Wow, yeah.

Michael:

So, someone from products, someone from marketing or sales, some of the CEOs, CFO. It's the person that they would interact with most. Some companies do like to put an architect in there or another DevOps person, and that's great as well because it gives those individuals exposure. If you think about an executive search cycle, a lot of these interviewers don't interview very often,

and soScott:

Yeah, yeah. Well, and you would hope not, if you're running the company.

Michael:

Yeah. It makes for an interesting way to look at the search. Not every client does it, but we do encourage that they run a case study.

Scott:

That's cool. Going back to those four key properties of the right person, what do you value the most? When you walk in, you're like, "Oh, I don't care what the client says. If this person can't do X, then I am not going to recommend them." Do you have a favorite skill set or a favorite communication style, or ...

Michael:

I think the golden rule for me is to identify ... Sometimes in recruiting, a candidate and a client create an instant love affair. I don't try to talk them out of it, but I do like to look at that in a different language.

Scott:

Totally. Based on intangibles that have nothing to do with the job, right?

Michael:

Yeah, likeability.

Scott:

Yeah, yeah.

Michael:

Likeability and capability are two extremely different things.

Scott:

Yeah. We've experienced that at Kruze Consulting. We made a few hires of people we really liked, and then, like, a month later, we're like, "Oh my gosh. This person actually totally hoodwinked us and doesn't know that much about accounting, or doesn't like accounting anymore," and we're like, "Oh, shoot."

Michael:

It's such an important thing, I think, because ... Let's role play for a moment. I'm your recruiter, Scott, and you're about to hire a CISO. This is Jane over here. I have to ask you, "Based on what you know about her personality, is she the person that you're going to want to sit in a room when you get hacked and your company gets hacked, and you have to figure out whether your communication skill is ... Is that the person you want to go to war with in the trenches?" If they say, "Yes," and there's a lot of reasons why, but if they kind of hesitate, then maybe it's more of a likeability versus capability.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

I do also look at the mentoring aspect right now. Right now, we're having to manufacture almost candidates because-

Scott:

That's a great point, yeah.

Michael:

... There's not enough candidates on the market today that have this full range of skill set. They're either missing the gravitas, or they're missing the technical piece.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

Usually, the technical piece is not-

Scott:

Is that because they're younger, the gravitas being on the younger side, and the cloud security space is still so new? Or is that-

Michael:

It is, yeah. You have a really strong community of CISOs that came from the infosec space.

Scott:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Michael:

They know compliance. infrastructure.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

You have a more junior, certain up and coming ... I wouldn't say junior, but you have the new class of, "We didn't have infrastructure. There was no bare metal anywhere. It's in the cloud, but we know Dev. We know what code ... We're on the product reviews. We know the code piece." But they haven't been mentored or exposed to executive briefings, to boardlevel presentations like a traditional CISO would be. You have these two worlds of a traditional CISO and a new CSO colliding into the same market where there's many more positions than there are ... And that's just at the CISO level. I'm not even talking about director and manager and contributor layer down.

Scott:

It is interesting about the board presentations and being able to converse at that level. It's like the only way you get good at that is by doing it over and over again. You need these lucky breaks in your career to get that They know governments. They know access. I liked how you brought up mentoring, because that's where those breaks come from. I mean, in a very small way, we always have the whole team talking to the client at Kruze Consulting. This is accounting, but ... Because I want them to understand the problems their clients actually go through, and that's how they grow. I think it's one of the reasons people grow pretty fast here. If you're a DevOps person and you're not getting pulled into these meetings, you're just not going to have that experience. I like how you emphasize they need to be a good mentor.

Michael:

I think it's critical. We're involved in several mentoring programs right now that ... We have something on our site that if you want to be a mentor and you're a CISO-

Scott:

That's smart.

Michael:

... You can just notify us, and we will put you in touch with someone-

Scott:

That's really cool.

Michael:

.. Who's geographically desirable to you. If you both live in Marin, we'll connect you. That's nothing to do with us. We just connect these two leaders.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

There's also a couple programs that are going back, looking at continuing education for individuals that may want to get into security, and offering some classes to get into the security space.

Scott:

Wow.

Michael:

There's just not enough candidates. There's not enough apples on the tree, and clients are recognizing that and that there's been a lot of mistakes in hiring.

Scott:

How do you guys go about understanding that ... It feels like Hitch Partners would be so much more like it's super important that someone hires you, right? Is that scarcity good for you in that being able to find the right candidates is a huge value Do you prefer it have three years from now, the market'll have more people in it. There's more people to choose from. What's your preference as a professional in the industry?

Michael:

I think we started the firm really because we wanted to just run really great searches in a space that we felt needed a lot of help, a lot of advising, a lot of just, not hand-holding, but just let's have a honest conversation about what you're really looking for. Where's the real pain? I would prefer that we have less searches with a lot more definition and really getting to know that client.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

We do everything face to face. My partner, Brett, and I, we actually handle all the searches together, so it's not like we go off and hand it to someone else.

Scott:

That's good. Yeah.

Michael:

He actually has a-

Scott:

So, they're hiring you. You're actually going to do the work.

Michael:

Exactly. Actually, he has a very different perspective than I do on a lot of things, so it's very nice to hear back and forth, and then the client gets ... You have a real just mature conversation about where they're going with their own security posture, not just about this position.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

I think that's really what it's about is ... It's we can understand where their direction is, we can really help them.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

I'd say, often, I get the, I call it, prospect to oh-shit mode.

Scott:

I was just going to ask you about that.

Michael:

Yeah.

Scott:

Tell that story. We were talking off-mic. Sometimes the best things come off-mic. I was like, "Hey, do you have any crazy stories?" Michael was like, "Oh, there's this thing called oh-shit mode."

Michael:

Yeah. Because of, we call it the monthly hack ... A big brand name is hacked, and it really creates some trepidation in the market. We often have clients that will say, "We've heard of you. We were referred to you through a venture partner, and we would love to get to know you. Come on in, and let's talk about what we're going to do from a security-

Scott:

A very leisurely invite, right?

Michael:

A leisurely ... Yes, exactly.

Scott:

No urgency whatsoever.

Michael:

Right.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

I'm reading tea leaves. I understand that. Then, the next conversation is, "I think we've kind of worked around ... I think we're looking for a director, and this is the role we might be looking for." Then, maybe the third or fourth conversation over the course of a month ... At some point, there is the oh-shit phone call, which is, "Hey, can you come in? We need a CISO Monday. If you have any interim people, that would be great. But we also want to conduct a search, so can we come in and talk about ..." Then, the first question is, "What is your fees?" which is like, "We'll get to that. Where's the pain? What happened?" If that phone call is not proceeded by a press release, which I have seen, then-

Scott:

You immediately put the news alert in Google for that company's name.

Michael:

While I'm on the phone.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

No.

Scott:

Yeah. Yeah.

Michael:

No, but I usually will do that in the first prospect.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

We can also tell what kind of security organization they have from that first phone call, but that's what we call the prospect oh-shit mode.

Scott:

Is there like a network effect for you guys in that, I would imagine so, that you're talking to so many candidates that there may be two or three candidates that don't fit with a specific company, but you know they're perfect for someone else that's coming down the pipe, or things like that? Is that part of your business model of understanding who's out there and who actually fits from a personality perspective or skill set perspective with people coming down the pipe?

Michael:

Absolutely. Leveling, culture, personality. I would say there's a good portion of time where I'm trying to convince clients not to hire a CISO, believe it or not.

Scott:

Interesting. Wow.

Michael:

I mean, that's kind of counter-

Scott:

You're a good person.

Michael:

Well, it's counterintuitive to my own business, but it's the right thing to do. Because they think they will need a CISO for posture, for recognition, they have a product, when really their challenge is at the pure DevSecOps level, that coding piece, and then maybe bringing the spokesperson that's more outwardly facing afterwards, but they really have a big pull right now in technical talent and protection.

Scott:

Interesting. Yeah, yeah.

Michael:

The safety measure is an issue. We'll continually look at this candidate actually is a better match for ... This candidate type is a better match.

Scott:

Good for you. Yeah. Always doing the right thing for the customer ... It's such a cheesy thing, but it totally works. We do the same ... There's a lot of seed-stage companies that call us. We're like, "You know what? You're honestly just too early. We don't want to take your money yet. Call us in three to six months. Here's what you could do to get by." It's the same thing you're doing, and those people really remember that. They always call, like, three to six months down the road.

Michael:

Yeah. I actually had a conversation this morning, in fact, a pretty wellknown Bay Area company, that said, "We need a CISO." After a half-hour conversation, I said, "You actually need an interim contract CISO to start. I'll throw some names at you, and you can use my name. Absolutely, they're in our network, but it wouldn't be an engagement through us, although we will do that eventually." The key was that there really only were a few things that were broken. There wasn't a strategy in place. There wasn't an organizational, structural change. This was just an immediate fix. They needed someone, and it just made more sense.

Scott:

Wow.

Michael:

Believe it or not, they hadn't thought of that option.

Scott:

You know, I wouldn't have thought there was an interim CSO market, though, but it makes sense that there ... There's an interim CFO market, so there should be and interim CSO market.

Michael:

It's a very small market. Because if you think about how much balance you would need between the DevOps piece and the traditional CISO piece, you have to be ... There are some years of experience.

Scott:

I was going say, what's the profile? Is it people who have done it for a long time and want to play golf half the week and work hard the rest of the half of the week?

Michael:

Yeah. That certainly is the case, although I don't know many security officers that play a lot of golf these days. They constantly getting interrupted.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

No, I think it's usually between 15 and 25 years of experience. They were around when infrastructure was prevalent. Now they're very much focused in the cloud space on code, open source, all the different pieces they would need to know. They just like solving problems, and they don't necessarily like being tied to one ... You know, six-month engagement is about when they ... They like to fix things and build things, but they don't like to maybe finish them or be part of that.

Scott:

I mean, we do that, too. Vanessa and I always joke that she's still going to be doing tax returns when she's 65 years old because it's the puzzle aspect of it that she really likes.

Michael:

Yeah.

Scott:

I'm sure for the CSOs, it's the same exact thing. They go in. They get to diagnose what's wrong, and they get the joy of fixing it. I'm sure that's what they get charged up about.

Michael:

They do. Yeah, they do. It's a very fulfilling role to say, "This is a company that was compromised, and I went in and helped them-

Scott:

Fixed it.

Michael:

... So that that never happened again-

Scott:

Yeah, that's huge.

Michael:

... At least not on my watch."

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

I think that just says a lot. If you think about most CIOs and CISOs, if you think traditionally, they come from a place of no.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

Right? "No, you can't implement that."

Scott:

Denying budgets and denying buying stuff.

Michael:

Yeah. "No, you can't put that on your laptop. No, you cannot get that on your phone." That's very different than the way the world thinks today. Now, it's DevOps is ... If you think about how DevOps really started, engineers maxed out their credit card on AWS instances, right?

Scott:

Totally. Yeah, and they didn't need anyone's permission to use it. They just did it in small dollar amounts, and then everyone realizes the best service, or whatever software they're buying.

Michael:

That's right.

Scott:

It's the land and expand strategy.

Michael:

Exactly, and the last thing they want is now, as the company gets more mature, this executive coming in and saying, "You know what? I need to do that." There is a time for no, but there's also a time for, "Let's collaborate, and let's figure out how to educate your team and to better prepare us to get more protected code." Finding someone with that narrative is actually really tough to do. Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah, to be kind of oriented ... It's almost like being oriented towards the customer. The customer is actually the DevOps team instead of-

Michael:

Absolutely right.

Scott:

Yeah. That's interesting.

Michael:

Before DevOps, they were sort of distant cousins, and now it's a customer.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

You're absolutely right about that.

Scott:

Just looking forward, is there another step function change, like how you talked about the CIO being elevated and now the CSO's getting elevated? What's the next trend over the next five years?

Michael:

I think it comes down to data, and who is going to own the data, and how is that data going to be protected. I think there is a lot of talk about chief data officers, chief digital officers. Where's the CIO play in all that? Where's marketing play in all that? I don't know the answer. My crystal ball isn't yet constructed, but I can see it trend towards the CISO really taking on a much more elevated as they become more mature in the presence area-

Scott:

Executives, too. Yeah.

Michael:

... And less away from the geek factor.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

I mean that in a good way.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

They will take on more and more roles, so I think the ... Boldly, I will say that the CSO will eventually take over most of the data in a company. How that data is transported from one place to another will be part of the security measures.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

It will all tie together, so I think that's really the big trend that's coming.

Scott:

Especially with, like, autonomous vehicles, an internet of things. All of our clients are telling us that the amount of data getting created and the sensitivity of it is going up like crazy. We have a lot of clients who are doing stuff around that.

Michael:

Right.

Scott:

It seems like it's just getting ... It's like the full employment for life kind of trend. Those people are always going to be in demand.

Michael:

Absolutely, yeah. I actually heard a wonderful podcast on the a16 from Andreeson's group. They were talking about who was at fault on an autonomous car when it gets into an accident.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

The idea is you have to go back through the lines of code to see what was the engineer who put the last line in that created the crash. So, is that-

Scott:

I never thought about that.

Michael:

Yeah, it's a fascinating discussion. Well, I look at it from, well, what about the security around that, too?

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

Do you want to really protect your employee from being exposed from an insurance company? You have a lot of ... They're looking at solving it with blockchain solutions, but it's a pretty fascinating discussion.

Scott:

Wow.

Michael:

It's just not going to end, and we're really far behind on the talent side.

Scott:

Well, kudos to you for recognizing the opportunity, starting your own company. It's really exciting. Maybe you can tell everyone where they can find you, how to reach out, whether they're a candidate, or they're someone who's interested in retaining you.

Michael:

Sure, both. We welcome both, especially candidates that are looking to get a mentor or just want to talk about the market, and clients that want to do the same. We're located at hitchpartners.com. It's H-I-T-C-H, as in hitch a ride, and go with the one-syllable piece so it's easy to remember.

Scott:

We're naming a baby right now, so I'm totally in the syllables thing, too. Yeah.

Michael:

I think Hitch would be a great name for your child.

Scott:

Actually, yeah. It's a little girl, so we'll have to ... I'll play this for her when she's 18, and she can thank me.

Michael:

That's great. Congratulations again on that.

Scott:

Yeah, thank you.

Michael:

Yeah. We're at Hitch Partners, and we're actually building out some of the resources on the site as well. By all means, please contact us, and we would love to just talk through what we're seeing in the market.

Scott:

Awesome. There's an email box or something they can sign up for?

Michael:

There is, a contact. A good, old-fashioned contact box. It would come to myself or my partner, and we will get back to you right away.

Scott:

Awesome. Cool. Well, Michael Piacente, thank you so much. It's Michael of Hitch Partners, hitchpartners.com. Check him out. We've been friends for a long time. He's an awesome guy and crazy knowledgeable, so I really ... Kudos to you for finding this market and getting in there. I mean, I look forward to seeing your growth.

Michael:

Thanks, Scott.

Scott:

Yeah.

Michael:

Appreciate that.

Scott:

Awesome. All right, Mike. Thanks. Bye.

Michael:

Thank you.

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