The Secret CIO: Stephan Brack, CEO, protected-network.com GmbH

What makes CIOs tick? In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Discover the 'Secret CIO'...

What makes CIOs tick? In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are.. and what keeps them awake at night. Discover the 'Secret CIO'...


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  Name: Stephan Brack

  Job title: Cofounder and CEO 

  Organisation: protected-networks.com

  Location: Berlin, Germany


(1) Where were you born and raised?
In a quiet south-western part of Germany.

(2) What was your first job? 
Scuffling through papers and pretending to be a product manager for GSM networks. But perhaps I learned the most from it.  

(3) What was your first computer?  
The first real personal computer on earth: C64.

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My father; also being an engineer he had a great deal of discipline and dedication towards his profession – something I truly admire and continue to learn from.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?
Founding and fostering protected-networks. It is both rewarding and humbling to know that our solution helps clients get closer to their data security goals.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?
The few times that I invested in the stock market at the wrong time.

(7) What is your greatest strength?
Listening.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?
Utter impatience for incompetence.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?  
Growth can be much more sustainable if it is achieved through the right modest steps.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
My Mantra: Anything is possible. What makes me squirm? Those who try to tell me otherwise.

(11) What makes you stressed?
Wasting time.

(12) What do you do to relax?
Reading and exploring new destinations. And also wasting time.

(13) What is your favourite song?
‘The Quest’ by Christopher Bryn.

(14) Which book taught you most?
All kinds of science fiction novels. More often than not they depict parts of the future very accurately.

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
I thoroughly enjoy running, swimming, and all sorts of endurance sports. A day without sports is a day wasted according to me.

(16) Which country do you think is likely to be the next hotspot for technology?
China continues to baffle us with their unparalleled diligence and grit. What we’ve seen so far could well be just the tip of the iceberg.

(17) Which ICT supplier do you rate most highly?
I have huge respect for SAP as one of the pioneers of our times. I am however always open to believing in a new technology leader.

(18) What is your favourite electronic device?
Remote-controls or all sorts. Saying this, I consider a smart phone also being a remote control.

(19) What is your favourite book?
‘Business Class’ by Martin Suter.
“We cannot promote him, he is already working overtime!”

(20) What keeps you awake at night?
Ideas.