By Mike Wiacek, CEO and Founder
We’re a cybersecurity company introducing our vision, team, and founding principles today, along with a seed investment from our incredible partners at Accel, Sequoia Capital, Allen & Company, and Gradient Ventures.
Based on our name alone, we hope that we don’t sound like just another security company. There are countless options for enterprises to choose from when it comes to cybersecurity tools and services. Yet, we all still feel like we’re in a futile arms race, where even the best of us are outmanned and outgunned by adversaries who are always a step ahead and our most formidable efforts an inch short.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The advantages adversaries possess are not insurmountable, but if we are continuously forced to approach defense from a reactive position, they might as well be.
Stairwell believes in forging a future in which any security team, regardless of size, sophistication, or resources, can be empowered to defend against every attacker.
The team behind Stairwell, including security leaders and engineers from Google and Microsoft, is singularly focused on making that future a reality. Before we started scoping products and services, before we wrote a business plan or job descriptions, we outlined our foundational principles that would define our values to each other and our customers.
I wanted to share those principles here, because if we’re announcing our existence, there is no better way to understand who we are, the approach we’re taking, and what it means to be on this journey with us.
We believe that truly great things are only accomplished by people who passionately care about their work. They’re not just looking to solve a problem and move on, but appreciate the idea that even a seemingly simple problem can lead to deep insights and unforeseen opportunities. Curiosity is paired with passion because the drive to seek out and explore — to question long held beliefs — is hard, but a prerequisite for innovation. We’ll never know why if we don’t ask.
Diversity of Perspectives.
Groupthink leads to complacency and eventual stagnation. In the security space, this means defeat. We need to accept the fact that security is a cat and mouse game that drives the evolution of tactics and tools faster than almost any other field. To stay ahead of that curve, to maintain relevance and effectiveness, we must embrace approaches that may seem unorthodox. We must pursue inspiration from diverse fields: from physics to finance, from epidemiology to law. There are insights everywhere.
Products not Promises.
We’ve been practitioners in the security field long before we started this company. We don’t believe in selling promises; we are results-focused. We’ve ignored calls from vendors because we were short staffed and running lean. We know your time is valuable, so as a company, we will be direct, upfront, and truthful. We value our relationships with customers, partners, and our own Dwellers. We will not squander them.
Dwellers for and with others.
Dwellers are who we are. It’s how we identify ourselves. We’re constantly watching and looking for opportunities to improve our products and ourselves. We do so from a mindset of service. There will be challenges and successes; we will carry each other through the former and celebrate the latter. We see the Internet as the greatest force for commerce, education, and human connection the world has ever known. We want to make it safer for everyone.
There is a saying among The Shakers, “Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.” It’s kind of a personal motto, and we’ve captured it with our final core value of being Practically Excellent. We will pursue excellence in all we do, but be pragmatic in what we choose.
These values are the bedrock of our mindset, of our approach, and of our strategies. Our values influence our discussions and thinking. We begin each company meeting by reminding ourselves that we are dedicated to them, for the most rewarding journey is one full of purpose. That’s who we are, it’s why we are here; for us: “This is Stairwell.”
Mike is passionate about security and building out a team culture that is collaborative, honest, and dedicated to helping our customers outsmart attackers. Earlier he was a co-founder and CSO of Alphabet's Chronicle and the founder of Google's Threat Analysis Group.