Steve’s Magic Formula – a Lot of Hard Work and Patience: Stephen Orenberg in the Spotlight

I am really excited about interviewing my guest today – Stephen Orenberg. This is a special man I both very much respect and admire for his business talent, besides being the perfect gentleman, of course. Steve performed nothing less than a miracle for the company’s U.S. operations, transforming the business from a lesser-known start up into one of the major players in a mature and crowded market.

Stephen OrenbergActually, this is the third company in the security industry he has worked for. Steve started U.S. operations for Dr Solomon’s Software in 1995 (later the company was acquired by McAfee), and just prior to joining Kaspersky Lab he held a similar role at Sophos.

When he came to the company in 2004 it was to start the business in the U.S. and get it up and running. Now, more than six years later, as Chief Sales Officer Steve is responsible for all sales and business development activities in North America and Western Europe. He has also been a member of the Kaspersky Lab board of directors since 2007.

As Chief Sales Officer, he now has the ambitious goals of, first, launching corporate solutions in the company’s two key markets, and second, contributing substantially to strengthening our global market positions so we can become the world’s #1 anti-virus vendor. And I have honestly no doubt we can do this. Just wait and see!

Steve, it’s been quite a long time we’ve been working together. Please remind me of how we first met and what your first impression of the company was.

See more > How we made our way to No.1 in U.S. retail?

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

A Sudden Career Change that Started a New Generation of KL Products: Nikolay Grebennikov in the Spotlight.

My special guest today is Nikolay Grebennikov, the company’s Chief Technology Officer.

He is probably the most illustrative example of how a hard-working, results-driven professional can wind up in a fast-growing business environment. Indeed, his career path resembles somewhat the classic search for and reaching of the American Dream, since he’s achieved a breathtaking career rise. A significant step in this rise at KL came in the form of an unexpected job change – to go and run the company’s software development department – which resulted in the rolling out of a new generation of security products that became the foundation of our tremendous success on the global market.

Judge for yourself: a typical 33-year old yuppie who barely made his way through KL HR in the first round, but who quickly proved himself and gained weight in the company, proving his ability to lead the most sophisticated of projects, and ultimately going on to lead the R&D department – our largest unit – comprised of more than 830 employees.

He’s certainly a workaholic – but only in the positive sense of this word. At first I was rather pleasantly surprised to come across him working in the office at weekends. After a while I realized he was working seven days a week all the time! Not long ago he changed this overdoing-it habit and now works the standard five working days – but still late into the nights.

Nikolay doesn’t really do banter, so when circumstances force him to engage in small talk in the back of his mind I’m sure he thinks about how he could be making better, more productive use of his time. He’s a man of action and efficiency (can’t complain there!). When speaking he is very concise, specific and to-the-point. This is something you’ll surely notice in this interview.

Short Bio

Nikolay GrebennikovNikolay joined the company in 2003 as a systems analyst for the Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Workstation 5.0 project team, and within six months was heading the Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0 team.

He was then appointed Deputy Director of Innovative Technologies in charge of all new research, including proactive defense, heuristic detection, and defense against data leaks, keyloggers and rootkits.

From 2009 Nikolay has been Chief Technology Officer, managing the company’s research and development.

Before joining Kaspersky Lab, Nikolay worked as a device driver developer, database programmer, general software programmer, and project manager for several IT companies based in Moscow.

He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Bauman Moscow State Technical University based on his work on information security. He was recently shortlisted as one of the world’s top 100 most influential voices in IT security. Nikolay is a passionate chess player and was the only person in KL who drew with Anatoly Karpov in a multiplayer game during the recent Security Analyst Summit.

You can learn more about him here.

So Nikolay, how did you get to start working at the company?

I responded to an ad in the paper and came for an interview. At first they didn’t want to employ me!

See more > Career, family and chess

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

Googlamatics. For Those Who Like Conspiracy Theories, or Just Special Big Numbers!

As everyone knows, Google is not your average company. It fairly amazes and amuses with its short history of fantastic success (or instills fear and loathing – if Google happens to gobble up your market share). Its totally unexpected projects and even the design of its offices appear mad-hat, slightly odd, or uniquely original, depending on your particular view, but never just average.

Then there are the totally bizarre Googlized numbers.

Let’s start with some amusing arithmetic available from different sources.

At Google they don’t joke with the size of their figures, but do joke – big-time – with which particular figures they use: For its IPO in 2004, the price of the stake sold on the stock market should have come to 2.718281828 billion dollars, which figure is the mathematical constant e. A year later the company sold on the stock market another stake, made up of 14 159 265 shares – a fraction of pi accurate to eight decimal places.

Read more > More numbers madness and spooky comments!

A Blast from the Past. Part IV – The Very First International Partner Conference.

Here we are with the fourth installment of sentimental stories covering the history of our company.

Each time I write a post of this series what never ceases to amaze me is the journey we’ve made from a small niche player to one of the largest security vendors in the world. And I’ve nothing but admiration for all our users and partners and also the journalists and analysts who’ve supported us all along, giving us the impetus to keep going and do the job we do well.

One thing I’m pretty sure about is that we would never have succeeded without our partners. We started the business with a clear idea of building a truly dedicated and efficient partner network. We never tried to play the game in the different regional markets ourselves without knowing the rules.

Instead, from the very beginning, we relied on our partners: companies and individuals that know the rules inside out and understand all the little things that a software business – no matter how good its product – must get firmly on top of to get its product into the market effectively.

Read more > The first international partner conference in details

Home Sweet Home!

Just wanted to share some good news with you.

At the end of 2012 we’ll be moving to new office premises in the “Оlympia Park” business center located in the North-West part of Moscow. It’s not far from the Vodny Stadion metro station, sits on the bank of the Khimky reservoir, and is 15 minutes drive from Sheremetevo airport (that is of course with no traffic jams). Neighboring are a yacht club, hotel and other good stuff to help an international business along. Almost 30,000 square meters (~326,000 sq.ft.). Straight away a fantasy kicked in on where we’d install everything!

Olympia is still under construction, but already I just know that we’re going to like it there – a lot!

Here are a few photos from the building site:

Kaspersky Labs new building site

More sweet home photos >

Great GReAT Guys: Costin G. Raiu in the Spotlight.

During my career I’ve given thousands of interviews. Really! There’ve been times when I’ve even had like a dozen or so interviews in a single day (and this still happens when I’m at CeBIT or taking part in our press tours) – enough chattering in a day to make one hoarse.

Not that I’m complaining. I love talking to journalists. I find they always give me the opportunity to think more and in slightly different ways about the things I considered to be all thought out already.

From the business perspective interviews are something that raises public awareness. But I always pursue the plain and simple goal of educating users about cyber threats and trying to spread the word on best practices of how to protect their computers.

The journalists don’t let me trick you: I avoid pushing products and instead talk exclusively about trends and countermeasures. Remember our motto, “We’re here to save the world”. Money is not an end in itself. We strive to do a great job protecting customers. Money is something that comes to you when you succeed in doing a great job.

Anyway, I’ve decided to indulge myself by being on the other side of the interview. I’ll start a series of posts interviewing key people at KL.

Today I have the pleasure of asking Costin Raiu all about the many interesting things in his life, his professional experience, and about his hobbies and other stuff, presenting him to the public in a very informal way.

Costin Raiu

Short bio

Costin joined Kaspersky Lab in the year 2000 as a leading antivirus researcher.

Since 2010 he has been leading the Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) – one of the company’s most important technological assets comprised of top-notch security researchers around the globe constantly analyzing new cyber threats and developing protection.

Prior to becoming Director of GReAT, Costin held the position of Chief Security Expert, overseeing research efforts in the EEMEA region. Costin specializes in malicious websites, browser security and exploits, e-banking malware, enterprise-level security and Web 2.0 threats.

Costin has extensive experience in antivirus technologies and security research. He is a member of the Virus Bulletin Technical Advisory Board, a member of the Computer AntiVirus Researchers’ Organization (CARO), and a reporter for Wildlist Organization International. Prior to joining Kaspersky Lab, Costin worked for GeCAD as one of their chief researchers and as a data security expert with the RAV antivirus developers group.

His hobbies include playing chess, high precision arithmetic, cryptography, chemistry, photography and science fiction literature.

You can follow Costin on Twitter (@craiu) and read his personal blog at Securelist.

Read more > How Costin became a security analyst

A Blast from the Past. Part III – Back to the Future – a Virus Remake.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Er, no. It wasn’t all that long ago, not all that far away, and was in no way connected with Star Wars. As Tony Montana once said, shall we “walk in and start over?”

Ok: Once – ten years ago – in the not-so-far-away city of Prague, the British antivirus magazine Virus Bulletin held its annual conference. In early 2001 the event was going through all the usual planning stages a conference of its sort needs to, and all was going to plan when, suddenly…

… suddenly Helen Martin, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, writes to me and unexpectedly suggests I speak at the conference, and not just to say a few words about this or that, but to give a full-blown keynote presentation. That is, to open the conference in front of an audience of 300+ delegates, made up of some of the brightest minds in the antivirus industry. Well, the renown of Virus Bulletin was quite something even back then. A mention on one of its pages was considered either good luck or good work, but a presentation at one of their gigs – that was simply an honor!

Photo by Iulian Ursu via Flickr

Read more > What the

Italy Is Known for Its Supercars, Russia – Its Chess Players.

Italy is famous for (among other things, hmm, let’s see… pasta, scooters, diving footballers, fiery women…!) its supercars, while Russia is famous (besides vodka and bears in the street, of course) for its chess players. Therefore, in Italy we sponsor Scuderia Ferrari, while in Russia we have taken under our guardianship the young (born 1997) and extremely promising chess player Mikhail Antipov. He travels all around the world to take part in tournaments, and this of course entails visas, flights, hotels, etc., which his parents’ resources can’t fully stretch to. So we decided to step in and help out.

Mikhail Antipov

Read more > Chess and rugby