Welcome Captain America (Grant Shirk): Vera’s Newest Superhero Who’s Bringing a Fresh Perspective to Data Security
I’ve built a number of teams – large and small – in my career, and nothing is more satisfying than welcoming someone new. Late last year, Adam Nash, the CEO of Wealthfront, offered his thoughts on the matter, kicking off a tweetstorm (and a companion blog post) that started with:
1/ New hires are the lifeblood of hypergrowth startups.
— Adam Nash (@adamnash) September 30, 2014
My belief is that it’s this constant renewal that drives Silicon Valley – the accelerated cycle of finding new purpose, aligning to a new mission, and tackling new problems gives people the motivation to take a chance and build something that might change the world. Basically, like any good superhero 🙂
In that spirit, I’d like to introduce you to Grant Shirk, Vera’s new Product Marketing leader, who joins us from Silicon Valley unicorn Box, where his nickname was Captain America. I’m thrilled to add his smarts, innovative point of view, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit to the team. He’s rolled up his sleeves and he’s already hard at work helping us build something new and exciting in the security world at Vera.
Grant has been leading the design, marketing and delivery of products that bridge the gap between end users and IT for almost 15 years. He’s pumped to apply his expertise in messaging, positioning and product strategy – with a particular focus on data control, security and compliance – to advance Vera further down its epic journey to reinvent data and content security.
Since starting his career as a UI designer at a 50-person startup building innovative mobile solutions, Grant has been fascinated by products that help people and organizations work together in new ways. During his interview, I prepared a few tough questions for Grant, just to see if he’d break a sweat. His answers were pretty compelling. Check them out:
What excites you about security?
Enterprise and content security is exciting because it’s such a complex, dynamic problem. It’s constantly evolving, and companies have to adapt to more effective, agile solutions. At a recent cybersecurity panel moderated by New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth, panelist Dharmesh Thakker noted, “Threat management isn’t a steady-state problem.” And combined with that, the panel unanimously agreed that the biggest challenge for businesses and service providers today is around data security. It’s a real problem, and I don’t believe there’s enough attention or investment in this space today.
How is Vera changing the traditional approach to security?
The approach we’re taking at Vera is different because we’re building products that address not only how companies operate today, but also how we see teams working together into the future. And you can’t do that by simply plugging the gaps in existing processes and systems. At the RSA conference this month, I observed that many exhibitors were still focused on the past – securing, monitoring and managing existing infrastructure and operating models.
By attaching security, policy and control directly to the data, our customers can now protect their information no matter where it’s stored, or how it’s shared. It’s no longer about solving the “last mile problem” – it’s about making sure that every path your information takes is protected.
When he’s not thinking and writing about enterprise software and security, Grant spends most of his time in the East Bay with his family, playing frisbee with his yellow lab, Penny, and hiking local trails.
Fun Fact: One of Grant’s favorite ways to relax and connect with others is through word games. Grant and I have a long-standing online Scrabble rivalry. I think we’ve played a few hundred games over the past 3 years.
Welcome, Grant! Excited to see what awesome things you’ll accomplish at Vera. I couldn’t be happier that you joined us in our mission.