Typical 24: Simon Crosby, PhD

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…

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Simon Crosby, PhD

 Job title: CTO

 Company: Bromium

 Location: Cupertino, CA, USA

 Years’ experience: 20


1.       What time do you reach the office each day?
I don’t have one.   I’m either at home, on the road, or in one of our offices – Cupertino CA or Cambridge, UK.  I stumble into my home office at 6am to clear the decks before dealing with kids and school.  On the road, I’m up at 6am local time typically, with enough time to delete email before my day starts.  In our corp offices I’m at work by 7:30, and I work from a conference room or spare desk.

2.       Is your job varied?
Every day is different.  It’s fabulous

3.       Is your job creative?
Absolutely.  The CTO is the chief motivator: To engineers and architects, I relate the customer’s problem and needs, and help them to architect a solution of value.  To the market and investors the story is one of potential, of value delivery and creation, and of transformation and empowerment.  To customers the story is one of a better world that our product and technology can deliver.

4.       What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
The CTO is the chief “pitch it” person.  I am responsible for motivating everyone – customers, employees, sales, investors to adopt our solution and philosophy, to believe that we uniquely can solve the customer’s problem

5.       Do you personalise your desk?
My home office desk is mostly covered with kids’ electronic maker projects and other tech projects that grow whenever I’m not about.  I clear off the desk when I get home, and then let it clutter up again when I’m away.  So no – I work wherever I am, and none of it is personalized.

6.       Would you describe yourself as creative?

7.       Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
No.  But I’m ruthlessly focussed on getting my work done, and then getting back to the world: Family is #1, followed by fitness and friends.

8.       Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
Both.  Creative work on my own – I tend to work with stories and pictures.  Then communication, which is obviously with others

9.       How many hours on average do you work a day?
Probably 10-12.  But I rarely work on weekends because it is absolutely critical to keep family time sacrosanct.

10.   Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
I try to delete it all before I start work – say an hour.  But collaboration tools other than email take up a large chunk of my day.  Our dev team uses Jira, Confluence and HipChat.  We use Skype, Lync, GoToMeeting and WebEx a lot.  I’m on the phone a fair bit.

11.   Do you use social media much for work?
It’s a vital part of my ability to communicate with the security community, stay abreast of the security landscape, new tech and customer needs, and communicate what we are doing at Bromium

12.   What do you enjoy most about your work?
I am fortunate to work with the most talented and passionate engineers in the world, to solve the most pressing customer problem – security.  We transform our customers’ from being vulnerable to breaches to being massively more secure, through design and technology.  It’s the most remarkably fulfilling opportunity I’ve ever had.

13.   What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I don’t.

14.   What do you do for lunch?
Don’t eat lunch really.

15.   Do you socialise with work colleagues?
If I’m on the road, I do.  At home, I try to keep my time for family and family friends

16.   Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
I’m fortunate not to have to deal with the travel industry in any way.  I decide what to do and luckily the team around me takes care of complex details.  My admin assistant is a saint.

17.   What is your last task of your day?
I save links to important security related news stories throughout the day, in readability.  I read every piece before I sleep

18.   How do you like to relax after work?
In a startup environment time is in short supply.  I work with the world’s best, and the remainder of my time is dedicated to my family – including fun things with kids.   One day I’ll get back to ocean sailing, which is my passion

19.   Do you keep checking email through the evening?
When I’m not with family, I can take interrupts from work – social, calls, emails etc.  When I am with family I turn it all off.

20.   Do you take work projects home with you?
Yes, of course.  I wake up sometimes at 4am and carry on.  The most important thing is ring-fencing family time because that is all-important

21.   What would you say to your 20-year old self?
Take time now to do lots of crazy things, because there may not be time later

22.   If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
I love what I do, and have no desire to try anything else

23.   What device did you use to answer these questions?
Dell XPS 13 / Windows 7 protected by Bromium vSentry

24.   Do you use your own personal device for work?
No.  But I have lots of work devices and always play with new toys