Vikram's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Cybersecurity

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Austin, TX

VIKRAM PHATAK

CEO
NSS Labs

“Honor your own rhythm...everybody got started somewhere.”

INTERESTS:

Engineering Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Exploration Hard Work Passion Perseverance Self-Reflection Focus Money & Financial Security Planning

FOUNDATION:

Learning and Being Challenged

TAGS:

advice, belief, can't give up, computers, curiosity, economics, experience, hacking, hard work, learning, life, luck, opportunity, passion, perseverance, preparation, security, struggles, success, training

BIOGRAPHY:

  • His dad was a professor, and one night, while Vikram was playing with his computer, he overloaded the memory and broke the machine.
  • He stayed up all night teaching himself how to fix the computer from scratch so his dad wouldn’t find out, and that was the beginning of his interest in information technology.
  • When he went to college, he wanted to go into IT, but his dad told him that he didn’t want to become the stereotype of the IT guy who sat in the back of the office and didn’t have friends.
  • Instead, he studied economics, but he spent all of his free time in the computer lab participating in hacking communities.
  • While he was trying to break into the world of tech, he had to take some odd jobs to support his family, including washing dishes in the communicable diseases wing of the hospital.
  • He says that having terrible jobs like that in his rearview mirror motivated him to work as hard as he could at his IT jobs because he never wanted to go back to that life.
  • Says that his career in cybersecurity was by no means planned—he just followed something that he liked to do, he kept at it, and eventually he found a way to make money doing it.
  • Now works as CEO of NSS Labs, which, among other things, conducts third-party assessments of network security products to help consumers buy the best software.

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