George Kurtz was born in Parsippany-Hills, New Jersey, in 1975. He has a son Alex with his wife, Anna. Crowdstrike is his second successful company, going public in 2019. His career has defied expectations because anytime someone said no, he heard it as a challenge. Perhaps this is why he is a self-made billionaire. His life outside of the boardroom is as complete as his daily schedule. Much like his career, he defies expectations and limitations. His journey began early, and it hasn't stopped evolving. It's clear that with his leadership and propensity for forward-thinking, he never needs to worry about his next move, he should continue to follow his path and let them organically find him. These are ten things you may not know about the CEO of Crowdstrike.
1. Need for Speed
Besides rising to the top in cybersecurity, he is an avid car collector who participated in racing events like the Pirelli World Challenges, Radical Cup, and Sports Club of America. According to Crowdstrike Racing, "Both on the track and off, George is a leader who drives for the top of the podium by delivering a first-class product, performance, and deliverables."
2. George began his career as a CPA at Price Waterhouse
Kurtz began work on Sunnyvale-based CrowdStrike in 2012 after beginning his career as a CPA at Price Waterhouse, writing a book on internet security titled “Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets & Solutions,” then launching FoundStone, which sold to McAfee in 2004 in a deal worth $86 million.
3. Technology is a way of life
A love of cybersecurity happened during the fourth grade. Kurtz started programming video games on a Commodore. Then while he was building the high school bulletin board systems, he had his first experience with hackers. Much like seeing someone on a plane struggling with a product he helped create, he saw a need for a solution. These foundations helped him create two successful cybersecurity companies.
4. Never too young
After graduating college, his career began at Price Waterhouse. While there, they selected him as one of the employees in their new security group. At 27, he was a senior manager at Ernst & Young. Because of his age, they didn't consider him as a partner. He didn't let it get to him and instead created his first business in 1999 called Foundstone, a cybersecurity company.
5. Add it to the resume
The same year he started Foundstone, he wrote a book Hacking Exposed. Mena hosted a Cyber Security conference in 2021, where he was the speaker. Additionally, he has spoken on several Podcasts. When asked about writing, Kurtz said, "Writing a book doesn't hurt either. It will be your best 500-page business card!" George Kurtz is a true entreprenuer. He doesn't keep his success behind closed doors. Each speaking engagement or blog post is a way for him to encourage upcoming entrepreneurs and help them succeed in a highly competitive market.
6. Values His Employees
IBM, Yahoo, Bank of America, and Aetna ended working from home. As with all his other ventures, George Kurtz found a way to make it work. During COVID, he saw a need for people to work from home. The number for work from home employees doubled under his direction. Even though he can't witness the progress and pitfalls they make, he opts for a hands-off approach. Instead, he encourages them to find creative solutions. In an Inc article, they wrote, "CrowdStrike has been recognized as a Great Place to Work in Technology among Small and Midsized Businesses."
7. Microsoft Critic
Kurtz is vocal about his distrust and dislikes for the company. When looking at the company, he sees numerous vulnerabilities, including recent zero-day vulnerabilities. He feels that Microsoft isn't meeting consumer needs. According to CRN, "Kurtz told investors Tuesday. "Customers are looking to de-risk their security architecture by choosing an alternative vendor to Microsoft." He is so passionate about improving he may take this project on too.
8. Sell it and work for them
He sold his first company to McAfee. Instead of moving onto other things, he took a job as their CTO. Taking that job gave him the tools to succeed in the cyber-security world; additionally, he saw where the industry needed improvement. On the Crowdstrike blog, he wrote, "Although I turned down the role two times before accepting the position of CTO, it turned out to be one of the best career moves. It gave me a much better appreciation for how antiquated the industry was." After seven years with McAfee, he took everything he learned and started CrowdStrike.
9. Be a master
He values stress and constant change because they are the best things someone can embrace to grow. One of the things that separate him from many other CEOs is that he is always looking at the people around him, not only for inspiration but what not to do. He has seen examples of failures when people are great at running a company but don't understand how fast the technology is growing.
10. Seeing the bigger picture
George Kurtz wasn't ready to start a new business when he saw a need for a better mousetrap. Once, while on a plane, he watched someone waiting for a virus scan to finish; it was McAfee. Being the CTO of the company was embarrassing. He knew he had to find a better solution. One of the critical reasons George Kurtz is a self-made billionaire is his willingness to exceed expectations and look for improvement. He uses this mindset in all personal and professional pursuits. Interviews and his astronomical show a true Renaissance Man. He says, "My journey into entrepreneurship wasn't exactly planned, and it hasn't always been easy, but my advice is simple: Education and evolution are critical, always hire the best, and remain steadfast in believing in the change you and your team can deliver." Whether it's racing at full throttle or driving top speed towards a solution, George Kurtz never gives any project less than 200%.
Written by Allen Lee
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