Incite Rides Again

Submitted by Mike Rothman on Tue, 2009-11-17 08:14.

I was laid off from eIQ yesterday. I know it was a tough decision for the folks up there. Business decisions can be that way. I feel for them that they feel bad. They shouldn't.

Am I disappointed? Yes. But not for the reasons you'd think. I really enjoyed working with some members of the team, and I'll miss that. Some parts of the job were fun and interesting. I'll miss that too.

But most of the stuff I won't miss. At all.

As I was thinking back, it turns out the tenure of my last 3 vendor jobs has been exactly 15 months. I know, kind of strange, eh? Don't think they have an actuarial table to predict that. Yet this last experience has finally brought me to the realization that working for a vendor isn't the best use of my skills. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.

There are lots of reasons a vendor job isn't the best fit, but three really stick out like a sore thumb. The first is competition. I used to be very very competitive growing up. Life was a zero sum game and I wanted to win - everything. I used to joke that I wanted to be king of all I survey. As I've gotten older, my need to win is much less acute. So the hand to hand combat of working for a vendor in a competitive market space is not only tiring, it's soul crushing.

After my experience at CipherTrust, I figured that I didn't like the competition because I was on the losing team. But that's not it. I'm not interested in tracking the time it takes the competition to copy my messaging anymore. Win or lose, I'm tired of the competition. And if you don't want to compete every day for every deal, you shouldn't be working for a vendor in a competitive space.

I also don't like breaking things that aren't broken. So the first 6 months with a vendor are fine. Things are broken and I fix them. The positioning. The web site. The product marketing and sales toolkits. The product strategy. But after about 12 months, everyone thinks things are broken again. Shiny objects start flashing that "need" attention. And that takes focus away from what is really important. You are forced to go through this dance of trying to figure out what is broken and what isn't. And the answer "I did it right the first time" doesn't really fly (I tried that the first time, it didn't go very well). These gyrations are so much fun, I'd rather give myself an enema with a branding iron than reposition the company around the latest hot buzzword.

But neither of these are the real kicker, there are parts of every job you don't like. For me, it's all about the passion. The best performers I know are really passionate about what they are doing. They just love what they do and would do it whether they were getting paid or not. I can tell you I was not passionate about my last 3 vendor gigs.

And to do something all day, every day that you are not passionate about is tiring and soul crushing. So I did my best each day and would anxiously await the day when they would pay me to not do marketing, which happens to be about 15 months after I start.

But ultimately this gets back to me. When I left TruSecure, it was them. At least that's what I convinced myself. 17 months later (2 months to get the CipherTrust job and then 15 months there) I left CipherTrust and it was still them, but I was tired of working for someone else. So I started Security Incite.

I joined eIQ because it seemed the stars were aligning and it was going to be different this time. 15 months later, it's not different. And it's not them. It's me. And I'm OK with that. Really, truly OK.

You see, life is a journey and I'm finally starting to realize that there is no right path or wrong path. There is only the path. eIQ and my other vendor experiences were part of that path. But as I look ahead, my path doesn't involve working for a vendor.

Given that Thanksgiving is next week, I'm going to lay low for the next few weeks. Get back into a routine of taking care of myself first. Writing the manifesto that accompanies my new Happyness content (Bill Brenner of CSO did a piece on the talk). Talking to old friends and plotting my next move.

So that was a long winded way of saying: INCITE RIDES AGAIN on November 30.

It's good to be home.

Photo credit: "Hi-Yo, Silver!" originally uploaded by arellis49

Submitted by Kevin Riggins (not verified) on Tue, 2009-11-17 08:52.

Hey Mike,

After reading your post, I am not going to say 'sorry to hear that.' It sounds like you are taking this opportunity to re-evaluate and head in a different direction. As our friends down under say, good on ya'!

I am also not going to say good luck. You don't need it.

Have fun figuring out your next steps and enjoy the holidays.


Submitted by Anton Chuvakin (not verified) on Tue, 2009-11-17 10:19.
OK, now it is clear that this is the case for "Congratulations!!!" So, congrats, Mike!
Submitted by alan shimel (not verified) on Tue, 2009-11-17 14:40.
Mike, my friend what can I say? I know just how you feel. Do what makes you happy and enjoy the wife and kids, that is what is really important anyhow. It took me a long time to figure it out. Also you are right on, when the passion is gone, it don't mean a thing anymore! enjoy the few weeks and looking forward to having you on the podcast soon! alna
Submitted by Ted Doty (not verified) on Tue, 2009-11-17 15:42.

Hey Mike -


Well said.  One of my favorite sayings is the longest journey a man will take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.


Don't be a stranger.


- Ted

Submitted by Andy Ryan (not verified) on Tue, 2009-11-17 18:34.

Enjoy the long holiday weekend, looking forward to the re-emergence of Incite.

Submitted by Jody Ma Kissling (not verified) on Tue, 2009-12-01 06:34.
Good to hear your voice again.  Looking forward to more...
Submitted by Michael Schultz (not verified) on Fri, 2009-12-11 11:38.

Glad to have you back to more active writing again Mike, but sorry it was a forced decision. I expect six months from now you'll look back glad for the latest change, just make the most of it.



Submitted by Sam Van Ryder (not verified) on Fri, 2009-12-11 11:58.

Mike - Just getting caught up on a LOT of blog reading. I absolutely dig this post. It speaks volumes and I can identify with most of what you're sharing.

I am very glad to have SI back in my regular reading routine and hearing the "mouth of the south" ride again! ;-)

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