It might seem like it is the dawn of digital transformation, but there have been certain players – good and bad – who have thrived in the digital environment for quite some time. Digital security has always been top of mind for many companies, most especially as Internet access has gone wireless. How can PMs be at the forefront of secure digital transformation? Fmr Illumio SVP of Product Management Matthew Glenn shares the dynamics of cybersecurity and explains the zero trust model.

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On Assembling Product Teams at Big Company vs Startup

Matthew first explains for product leaders build teams at different-sized companies, no matter the sector, including cybersecurity. Ultimately you want to find people that are naturally drawn to different aspects of product management. But sometimes might need to be a person of all trades.

“When when you’re a leader of a large product management organization, you’re really assembling a team of people and helping them do their job on a daily basis. I like to do this exercise where I draw up all the different things we do as product managers. You could be doing pricing, or you could be sitting in a room with engineers doing product trade-offs, etc. There are just a million different things that we can do on a day-to-day basis. 

I’m actually building demo systems for the product. I’m sort of a one-man band. That’s sort of the difference. When you’re at a big company, there’s a huge support infrastructure. The process sets your daily regimen. When you’re at a start-up, there is no process. You’re building the process as you go. One minute you are cleaning out the garbage cans, the next minute, you could be talking to the Board of Directors. You have to be sort of prepared for a lot of chaos.”

On Zero Trust in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity, and zero trust, in particular, are an ever-evolving sector of the marketplace. With zero trust a popular topic but relatively new, Matthew shares his knowledge of this area and gives us great examples for understanding the model.

“I love going to New York City. When I was young, I actually interned at Oppenheimer Capital and I spent a summer there. I was a poor college kid. Inevitably you’re walking around New York City and you see these parties with these big dudes wearing tuxedos and clipboards outside. Basically, it’s a party where only people on the guest list can actually get into it. That’s effectively what zero trust is. Unless you’re absolutely known, to be able to communicate, you’re not allowed in. 

What zero trust does, it says you should only be able to connect to those things that you’re supposed to be able to connect to, and everything else is by default, not allowed. So just like that bouncer not letting me into that club when I was 21 years old because I wasn’t on that guest list, what zero trust says is unless you’re on the guest list that allows you to connect to those things, then you will not be able to connect.”

On Product Marketing and Product Management in Cybersecurity

With big-name companies in the cybersecurity sector, it’s easy to be recognized, but new startups need brand recognition in addition to great products. Matthew explains how a startup can educate about its product while also becoming well-known in the marketplace. 

“Early on in the company, product management and product marketing were really tied at the hip, and still continue to be tied at the hip. I always had product marketing in my staff meeting. I wanted them to know what was coming down the pipe and I thought it was super important for them to understand what was happening in the organization.

‘Early on, we did a lot of that ourselves. In fact, at one point I was asked to rebuild the product marketing organization and the technical marketing organization.”

About the speaker
Matthew Glenn Illumio, Vice President of Product Management Member
About the host
Dimitry Shvartsman PayPal, Director, Head of Security Product Management
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