On Building Companies and Products

https://dilbert.com/strip/1991-09-06

Motivated by Twitter interactions, I’ve decided to try and capture my opinions and experience on building companies and products. I consider this post––and those linked––to be living and will update it over time.

Who am I?

Brandon Dixon. I am a product manager and entrepreneur in the cybersecurity space. I have no formal developer training though I can write code to solve problems. I have no formal business training though I have created several companies — some successful, others not. I’ve been in cybersecurity my entire career, working in various different verticals including education, consulting, defense contracting and security intelligence.

My opinions on start-ups and building products are informed by my experience on all of the above and by no means do I consider myself an expert in any of the areas. As a friend used to say, “I am just a boy, not yet a man”. That said, I thought it could be helpful to share my experience and that’s what this blog series covers.

Sections

Each posting will cover a specific department of a startup where I share my opinions and include stories to help provide some color.

Helpful Background

I am sharing my opinions, they aren’t fact and you may disagree. There are plenty of resources on startup advice that you should consider. Read my posts for a first-person account with real details tied to the opinions. Every person is different and thus, every business is going to be different. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide for building a company. Use my experience as a loose guide, or a foundation to question your approach.

RiskIQ is a cybersecurity product company focused on managing an organization’s attack surface. Using a combination of technology, historically collected data and algorithms, RiskIQ is able to build a digital footprint of externally facing assets owned — known, unknown and rogue — by an organization. This information provides visibility to a company and helps them better defend against threats to their organization, employees or customers.

PassiveTotal is a cybersecurity platform to aid analysts in their investigations. The platform brings together years of historic Internet data into a single location. Users can pivot between indicators, add their own insights and form profiles on malicious actors. I developed the platform and started the business with Steve Ginty, an analyst colleague, in April of 2014. We operate under a freemium model and offer enterprise accounts through packages. In 2015, RiskIQ acquired PassiveTotal and it became an offering in their larger suite of products. At the time of writing this post, PassiveTotal has over 65,000 registered users.

NinjaJobs is a cybersecurity job board, originally developed and conceived by Chris Clark. Unlike generic job boards, NinjaJobs focuses strictly on the cybersecurity community and aims to pair candidates directly with hiring managers. Companies can pay to list their job within the platform and candidates can apply for free. A services business focused on traditional recruiting is built atop the platform as a separate entity. Every month, NinjaJobs sees hundreds of new users, thousands of job applications and tens of thousands of job searches.

Founder of @BlockadeIO, PDF X-RAY, and @PassiveTotal. Partner and developer for @TheNinjaJobs. VP of Strategy for @RiskIQ. Roaster at @SplitKeyCoffee.