Twenty-twenty-one: despite the odds – busy, successful and fun!

Happy New Year folks!

Sure, we’re already half-way through January 2022, but, as I think now most of you already know, the first week of the first month of every year is a week-off for everyone in Russia (apart from the unlucky few who keep the country, its roads, its supermarkets, etc., etc. running). Brief excuse regarding explanation of my seeming tardiness out the way, let me swiftly move on to another annual year-end/beginning tradition of mine: my review of the previous year!

Briefly, 2021 was… a busy and dynamic year (and in many different ways) for us as a Kompany, and no less busy and dynamic for me personally (no change there, then). And all things covid didn’t hold us back in any way – hurray! Wow – that was brief. More brevity – of a visual kind: simply three super pics taken in 2021 to lift your mood this winter’s day ) ->

Pole of Cold, Siberia:

Volcanism, Kamchatka:

And a tropical Christmas tree, Maldives:

Read on…

Red + green: shaken – not stirred!

As promised, herewith, my big announcement!…

But first, some background…

Nearly 12 years ago – in 2010, a youngish, green-colored company became a partner of a legendary global red-colored brand with more than 80 years of history to its name (incidentally, by doing so paving the way to other companies in the cybersecurity sphere).

In the intervening 11 years, both the worlds of cyberthreats and Formula-1 have changed tremendously. In the cyberworld, alas, things have changed for the worse. For example, cyberthreats to physical equipment ceased being the stuff of sci-fi and Hollywood blockbuster movies, to become real – daily – risks for organizations and businesses. That’s one reason why, since 2013, we’ve been protecting all of Ferrari’s digital kit – some 5000+ devices: from the industrial equipment at its plant in Maranello, to the computers of the engineers and mechanics at the racetracks around the world!

For fans, Formula One is all about speed, adrenaline and emotions, and for the folks providing the speed, adrenaline and emotions F1 is mostly all about massive volumes of data transferred in real time between the racing cars, the team of engineers in the garage at the track, and company HQ. On average, from just one car for a single race up to 200 gigabytes of data is sent from 150 sensors all over the car – and on the driver: for example, his biometric data is transmitted from sensors in his gloves!

Protecting such vast amounts of data and intellectual property while maintaining the continuity of a multi-billion-dollar business demands – you guessed right! – the best cyber-protection in the world. Thus, I’m very happy to announce that this year we’ve signed an agreement on extending our partnership with the Scuderia Ferrari team, and one ‘feature’ of this agreement is that our logo on the nose of the red race cars will continue to cross the finish lines of the world’s best tracks! Hurray!

Read on: ‘Just like absinthe + Campari’ (mind-blowing:)

Flickr photostream

  • Italy
  • Italy
  • Italy
  • Italy

Instagram photostream

1, 2, 3, 4… 56!

Aha – it’s that special day that comes just once a year. Actually, no – that’s not 100% accurate. It can come twice a year – over two consecutive repeated days! For example, you celebrate the first day somewhere like Fiji, and then you head over to Tahiti – still in yesterday – for a repeat day of fun and frolics. Well, why not? And I tried it once: a group of fellow travelers and I had a full March 29, 2018 twice! Does it mean we’re a day older – or is it younger? – I’m still not sure ).

However, this year I’m a little closer to home than the tropical islands in the middle of the Pacific, and it’s a little cooler too: for my 56th birthday I’m in full-on work mode on a brief northern-European business trip taking the route Moscow-London-Copenhagen-Moscow.

So what can be said about being 56? I guess it depends on who is saying it. For those who are already long past it, they may be… condescending! For those who were born around or even on October 4, 1965 – they’ll probably be full of familiar, nostalgic understanding ). For those for whom 56 is still a long way off, I guess they may not be able to even start to imagine what it could possibly be like to be… four years short of 60! So, what I will say about being 56 is directed at this latter group. All righty, here we go…:

Being 56 – it’s all just the same! No new feelings or sensations are added on this ‘special’ day, and all existing feelings and sensations don’t suddenly disappear off somewhere. No change; no worries!

Ok, at least – that’s what I can say about this particular day – compared with, say, yesterday, when I was still 55 years old. But there is one thing that’s been building up gradually over recent years that is a bit of a downer, albeit of a first-world-problems sort. See, I’ve been lucky enough, over the last few decades, to have been constantly traveling/flying/expeditioning around the globe – so much so that, well, the senses have become a little dulled. So many countries visited, so many places checked out (and keenly photographed), so many seas and oceans bathed in, so many hotels, so many… impressions overall. It’s come to the point where it’s hard to surprise me, much less amaze me. Of course, there are exceptions – for example, on the Kolyma Highway in January. Now that was surprisingly amazing! So much so I’m planning a repeat road trip next year.

Bah – enough complaining. Back to the good stuff: I am still experiencing some new things for the first time…

For example, I’d long (very long) dreamed of running a half-marathon. And thanks to the vile crowned virus of 2020 vintage, last year I managed to run a full two of them after being able to train so much due to my practically being grounded and having much more free time on my hands legs. And this year I’ve done another two. Just running on my own, mind – just ‘for me’, not in an official half-marathon with all the crowds. Oh, and last summer, after putting in so many hours at the gym pumping iron, I finally managed to bench 111kg, which for me of course is the ideal weight as it’s so much like 11-11 (inside-joke; apologies newbies; ok – here you go:).

So, in summary, as I enter my 57th year… life’s pretty good! So I raise a glass to new endeavors, new challenges, more travels (despite my gripes), and more, new, everything else!

Thank you, thank you! You’re all too kind! Hugs and kisses. From me xx.

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Red Karpet, naturally, for Grandmaster Karpov.

Greetings folks!

It’s been a while, I know. My last dispatch was the one on our B-day bash mid-July! How time flies when you’re having summer fun…

The main reason I’ve been quiet of late was my month-long summer expedition to my favorite part of Russia – Kamchatka. As per tradition, I’ve plenty to tell – and show (in hi-res photos) – from that adventure, which is coming up soon in a series of travelogue-blogposts.

But, before I could even begin editing my pics and putting fingers to keyboard for the Kamchatka-2021 write-up – in fact, while still in ‘deep decompression’ mode after the month of euphoric exhilaration on the expedition – as soon as I was back home (as if to help with my decompression attempts) we were honored to be visited by a very special guest to HQ. And I mean really special. Yes, none other than former world champion chess player Anatoly Evgenyevich Karpov dropped by!

Yes – really! That Anatoly Karpov – the legendary Soviet-Russian three-times world champion, three-times FIDE champion, international grandmaster with scores of honors and awards to his name!

As already stated in the title – the red carpet was (just in case: literally:) rolled out, which we reserve for visiting ministers and other dignitaries, and, now, world-champ grandmeisters! ->

Read on…

Modern techno-kunst of the most boggling kind.

My customary busy schedule of business globetrotting sees me visit places equipped with some really interesting art expositions. And if said busy schedule grants me two-or-so hours of free time, you can guess where I normally head to fill those two-or-so hours. This ritual has seen me squeeze in visits, among many others, to:

Art, arte, iskustvo, kunst. I love it. Mostly. But sometimes, especially when it’s of the modern/moderna/sovremennoe genre, things become… less straightforward, more ambiguous, somewhat contradictory. No matter, for it still always generates unusual thought processes related to the perception of aesthetic experience. And that’s just great!

Well just the other day, I had another arty outing – this time without even stepping onto a plane. It was another Moscow-based visit, and what a visit it was…

Now, do you want to boggle a little? (And, I do believe, the only thing one can boggle is a mind.) Or, rather, would you like to boggle your mind a lot? Or, rather, would you like to overboggle your mind? In that case, you need to get to the new ‘May the Other Live in Me‘ modern techno-art exhibition at the New Tretyakov Gallery, a science-art project of the Laboratoria Art & Science Foundation, which we support. Why? Well, my mind was truly boggled, and my mind does take some boggling. So I highly recommend it to you too. Here’s my brief report and pics on the exhibition – you preview…

Read on…

Our rebranding story, and how Midori Kuma nearly became our logo.

Early June of 2019 was a quiet, nothing-special kind of early June. The world was rotating around the Sun as per, 19 days remained until the astronomical summer, ‘Corona’ meant a Mexican beer, and ‘covid’ meant absolutely nothing to anyone. In short, it was life as we knew it pre-pandemic: what we all could do with a lot more of today…

Meanwhile for the Kompany, we had our own schedules and timeframes, also as per. And early June, 25 months ago on our schedule was significant: it was when our big rebranding was taking place. The time had come for us to say goodbye to the old Korporate style (in terms of the logo, besides a whole lot of other stuff, including the fonts and other stylings and colorings and imagery, and what-have-you), which, given a few tweaks down the years, had been with us a full 22 years! It was out with the old and in with the new – a reboot, an upgrade, a Porsche, a rejuvenation, an image change; time for something different, more in line with the times, and also more polished; at least that’s what I was told (joke). No, really – it was to give us a new corporate style to more accurately reflect the company’s next stage of development – an ambitious yet confident stage, and certainly a futuristic one given our industry (cyber [the security thereof]).

But where others change their logo (slightly!) and have done with it, we had lots more in store. In fact, a full rebranding is a lengthy, complex process of tweaking perfecting all aspects of the identity and life of the company, including not only how we look on the outside, but also the way we interact with audiences, communication style, and scores of other things.

So yes; today’s post is all about rebranding. Now for some detail…

Work on our big rebranding began back in 2018. We’d known for a while how our good old logo/brand and messaging were more late-90s/early-2000s-oriented than 2019. For years we’d been sensing a certain dissonance between our technologies/products – which were always truly cutting-edge – and the image of the company to our users. For several years already we’d not been ‘just an antivirus company’ but a developer of broad-spectrum cybersecurity solutions. Yet still our logo was fairly antique with its pseudo-Greek letters. It was as if it was anchoring the company to the past – to the long-forgotten floppy-disk times.

For nearly a year we brainstormed, thought, compared, imagined, weighed up, discussed, argued, consulted, agreed then disagreed, considered, debated, deliberated… all so as to find the very best perfect fit for our rebranding. A conservative estimate at the number of logo variants our design team put forward gives at least… 300! Then, the final couple of candidate-versions were vetoed be moi. Not because I was being obstinate, but because I was being super obstinate simply didn’t see even in those final few prototypes one that resonated 100% with the company’s aims and values.

Oh, and here are the rejected variants! ->

Some curious near-misses (hits?!) occurred during the year of debate…

Read on…

How to quit smoking – my proven method!

Hi folks!

May 31. Mean much to you? It didn’t to me – as I never ‘needed’ outside help with… quitting smoking! But I’ll get to that in a bit… However, I did look up a ‘no smoking day’ or some such just recently – to see if it coincided with my sudden urge to tell you about my own method for how to quit smoking (which works by the way – at least, it did for me). And it does coincide – almost: World No Tobacco Day is coming up in a couple of weeks – on May 31. So, in the timely spirit of a general anti-smoking drive this sunny month of May, herewith, I give you, ladies and gents, boys and girls,How to Quit Smoking – the Kaspersky Red-Button Method’!

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit this, but I was a heavy smoker for something like 35 years! I knew early on it wasn’t a healthy habit, and that I really should quit, but somehow I never got round to it: there was always something more urgent to be stressing about! I just wasn’t ready for the serious preparation needed – both psychological and moral.

Yep, the whole ‘getting psyched’ for the big event kept putting me off the idea of quitting. Even a book entitled something like ‘The Easy Way to Quit Smoking’ didn’t work: flicking through it one day I came to a page by chance, which gave calculations of how much money I’d save if I quit. Nope, not for me: book quickly closed, and it’s been on the bookshelf since.

I did it differently. And here’s how…

Read on…

The year that was 2020 – and the money side of things.

Hi folks!

It’s been a little over a year since this darn biological contagion swept the world and hit businesses hard – especially small and medium-sized businesses. Almost immediately it was clear some companies weren’t going to fare well. But I also wondered how the cybercriminals would behave. And what would happen to our company during this potentially long period of quarantine?

On the whole of course it was obvious that cybercrime wouldn’t suffer that much. The bad guys carried on ‘working from home’ as usual. Nothing much changed for them, apart from potential victims spending more time online due to quarantine measures and lockdowns. And, of course, the internet didn’t lose any bandwidth because of this biological virus.

But what about our business, which takes the fight to those very same cybercriminals?

A year ago, I expressed my belief that our company would be affected by two vectors: one negative and one positive. On the one hand, some of our customers would face difficulties, and some, alas, would go bankrupt. We’ll obviously lose those revenues. But on the other hand, there would be companies that started investing more resources in cybersecurity because their employees were working remotely and the cybercriminal world would most likely become more active. How we’d manage these two vectors would directly determine our own results.

So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve just announced our financial results for the past year. ‘Why in April?’ you may ask. Because we wanted to do a financial audit first.

And so…*drum roll*…

It’s time to tally the numbers and sum up the results of the past year. We even held a press conference to mark the occasion, informing journalists of our financial achievements.

Despite the now notorious bio-virus pandemic, the global economic crisis, and all kinds of geopolitical instability and uncertainties, our results weren’t only not bad, but were actually very good! After a year of covid, we not only survived but also grew! And that was despite an almost complete relocation of our K-folks from the office to remote working with all the associated costs and restructuring, mass provision of our products to the needy, and all sorts of other various unforeseen things.

All righty. I’ll start off with the biggie: the company’s global revenue for 2020 reached $704 million – an increase of 2.8% on 2019.

Read on…

One Billboard Outside Wellington, New Zealand.

Where does the clock strike midnight first on the planet?…

…Or in fact any minute, or hour, or day, or a New Year, or whatever other unit of time: where, in time, on this orb of ours, does it comes first?

Well, not a lot of people know this but it is… on Kiritimati, aka Christmas Island (the eastern-most of the atolls that make up Kiribati, the island nation) bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – half-way between Australia and North America. So, how come? Well, Kiribati happens to have the earliest time zone on the planet – UTC+14:00. So its inhabitants (and anyone visiting the islands) are the ones who first hear a clock strike 12, or the year change from one to the next, and so on; 14 hours earlier than in London, for example (UTC+0)

Why am I telling you this? Well, we needed to get to a spot in the world with the ‘best view of the future’. Why? I’ll get to that in a bit…

So, we needed to get ourselves, ideally, to Christmas Island, with its unquestioned best viewing location for looking to the future – where if you look to the east from its easternmost beach you literally see tomorrow out over the ocean (right?!)! However, Christmas Island isn’t the easiest of places to get to at the best of times, but during a pandemic-lockdown – ouch. So we had to look for the next-best thing…

And we didn’t need to look too far, relatively – just a little to the west and down a bit: to New Zealand, a country close to my heart. Once there, we needed to get ourselves to somewhere on the eastern coastline, and we opted for a place called Castlepoint – precisely here.

So, what is all this looking-to-the-future business? Actually – very much our business. For here at K, we’re pretty darn future-oriented. We have to be – to combat the cyberthreats of tomorrow: always needing to be one step ahead of the cyber-baddies, who are (alas) the embodiment of ‘future-oriented’. I mean look: we have our Safer Tomorrow platform; there’s our Earth 2050 project; there’s our Tomorrow Unlocked; there’s our latest company slogan – Bring on the Future. Heck, we’d trademark the word ‘future’ if we could! So, yes – you get it. ‘Future’ is our business. Accordingly, we needed the best spot in the world for literally looking into the future, which we figured would also be the best spot for future-oriented musing-reflection-meditation. Bring on New Zealand!…

But contemplating the technological progress of tomorrow, and even the future of humankind from the breathtakingly beautiful eastern seaboard of NZ might not come easy to everyone. Plus, of course, there’s getting there in person – hardly practical, right? Well, if you can’t take Castlepoint to Muhammad and everyone else in the world concerned about the future, we’ll just have to take Muhammad and everyone else to Castlepoint! Which is just what we did…

For the whole of February at Castlepoint there’ll be our unique billboard of the future, plus a livestream thereof accessible through your browser anywhere on the planet. As you can see, the right-hand side of the billboard is an empty frame – through which you can get a good look at the future, a rather picturesque one at that. And the left-hand side is a large digital screen with constantly changing predictions about the future of humankind and technology. So keep viewing, keep reading, and be ready for the future!…

Ok. You get that we’re all about the future. But why is it so important?

Read on…

Global warming: finally – the results of the lockdown experiment!

Hi folks!

If you’re a regular reader of this here blog, you’ll have noticed how I occasionally touch upon ecological topics in my posts here: protecting the environment, global warming, and assorted other things like CO2 emissions. Oh, and by the way, before you shout ‘climate change denier!’… for example, those CO2 emissions, they’re most certainly on the rise – fast. No one in their right mind can deny that, from the man in the street through to the states that signed Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. But when folks become perfectly hysterical paranoid about man’s role in that rise – that’s where I beg to… not quite differ, but at least state that we need to see the larger picture: it may just be possible that industrial and anthropological emissions aren’t the most important factor…

I’ve written somewhere before that:

  • CO2emissions are rising and the climate is warming up. Facts;
  • But putting that down mostly to the activity of human beings is… bothersome. And it does whiff rather of megalomania: is man really that significant and influential to be able to have much effect on what are surely extraordinarily greater, stronger forces of nature?
  • I don’t know the answer to the question just put, but, because I don’t know, I say we need to measure not only emissions of carbon dioxide, but also nature’s intake/usage/absorption thereof. Could CO2 levels be growing not just in and of themselves, but as part of a growing imbalance between emissions and consumption?

Now, those musings, hypotheses, question marks… they’d have stayed musings, hypotheses and question marks, probably, if the corona virus hadn’t become a global pandemic in 2020: quarantine, lockdowns, restricted travel > less emissions from humans and their filthy cars and planes. But, as I wrote in April 2020, how will those lower emissions affect the overall total levels of CO₂ in the atmosphere? 

Here’s my quote from the mentioned post from April:

“Curiously, we’re currently living in… interesting times, and it just so happens that we may be able to get an answer to the second of my two questions here today (‘how will nearly the whole world’s industry coming to a halt affect the growth of CO₂ in the world’s atmosphere?’). 

Indeed, soon we’ll get the results of a unique (if unexpected) global experiment: how the lockdown and the partial halt to world production affects increases in CO₂ in the Earth’s atmosphere. It will also present a good opportunity to check the soundness of several theories about the how much climate is affected by man.

I have to say, it will be somewhat odd if the lockdown makes no difference whatsoever. I mean, among many other things, it would completely cancel out the need for the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, while making a mockery of every country that ever signed either; or am I being too harsh there? ‘Mistakes happen’, they’ll say!” 

So what do you think folks? What is the result of this unique global experiment? I ask as, that answer is ready! And here it is!…

Read on…