CrowdStrike CEO Says He Regrets Not Firing People Quicker
Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior reporter, covering venture capital. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter.
George Kurtz, co-founder and CEO of the cloud-native endpoint security platform CrowdStrike, says executives should be obsessed with culture. Everyone below him must be fanatical about customer success and outcome and if they aren't fitting in, they need to go quickly. It's one of the biggest lessons he's learned as CEO.
"Not one time have I regretted firing someone too fast," Kurtz told a lunchtime crowd at the first day of the Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica. "It's that I waited too long."
Kurtz founded the company in Sunnyvale, CA, in 2011 and it went public last year. He was joined on a panel by John Chambers, the former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, who said he bought 180 companies during his tenure. But he did not acquire a company that was not a very close cultural fit.
"I walked on one of the bigger acquisitions we were going to do," Chambers said. "Culture is as important as strategy and vision and I did not understand that when I was a young CEO."
Chambers said he was proud of Cisco's 95% employee retention rate when he was CEO, which is well above the industry average. He oversaw a rigorous hiring process to make sure candidates were right.
"If you're not interviewing through 10 people, you're not doing the screening process properly," Chambers said.
If an executive wanted to jump to a competitor, he would try to find out what was at the root of someone's unhappiness. The number one factor: Dissatisfaction with their immediate supervisor.
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When the newest Mars rover departs Earth this summer, it will carry a relatively small piece of new technology that could potentially transform the way humans explore space. On Monday, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge will present details on its exploration goals, including a new technology that could help humans breathe on the red planet.
Roughly the size of a fancy toaster oven, MOXIE, which stands for the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Equipment, essentially produces oxygen from the thin Martian atmosphere, which is primarily made up of carbon dioxide, at a rate of about 10 grams of oxygen per hour. That's roughly enough oxygen to keep a small cat or dog alive.
Asad Aboobaker, 40, who served as the thermal engineer for MOXIE and helped build the system at JPL, shows the version of MOXIE that will remain on Earth while a flight-ready version is scheduled to travel to the Mars 2020 rover this summer.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
Musicians are facing a tough road and the pandemic hasn't made life any easier. But changes are afoot that could help.
A flurry of deals between music copyright owners and a grab bag of online video purveyors may be just the first step in a process that could see "the most important copyright reform since the U.S. passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 22 years ago," according to one industry observer.
With it, artists and rights holders should be better positioned to benefit from the growing relevance of music across social media platforms, gaming consoles, virtual gyms and much more.