"Keep Your Team Motivated For Success Of Your Startup" - Aditya Gupta,Attify
Attify, a Mobile Security Services and Training company, was founded by Aditya Gupta and Hrishikesh Kumar in the year 2013. Attify is based in Bangalore, India.
Aditya Gupta is an Electronics and Telecommunication engineer from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneshwar. Aditya has spoken at security conferences about his research findings including BlackHat, ToorCon, Clubhack, Defcon Chennai, Defcon Bangalore, Nullcon and THC. At Attify, Aditya gives corporate trainings on Mobile Security for Android, iOS and ARM Platform. The Co-Founder, Hrishikesh is an Electrical and Electronics engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. Hrishikesh is the App Security Architect at Attify.
In an exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers.com, we got Aditya to talk about his experiences at Attify, his co-founder Hrishikesh Kumar, the team's educational and professional background, importance of a motivated team and 'Contacts', and a lot more. Check out the following interview to find out what has influenced Aditya the most and his favorite books that he thinks are a must read for every engineer out there.
CE: Hi Aditya. Could you tell our readers more about Attify?
Aditya: Attify is a mobile security firm providing security solutions, services and trainings to enterprises and help them secure their mobile applications. We ensure that their mobile application remains secure and the sensitive data never gets compromised.
CE: How did you meet Hrishikesh Kumar, co-founder at Attify?
Aditya: Me and Hrishi met way back in 2006 when we were preparing for the JEE in Kota, Rajasthan. Since then we have been working on a lot of projects together. Mostly building small tools and applications for our college projects and personal use. Those numerous small term collaborations made us to start Attify, to focus completely on mobile security, and build something new, innovative and valuable to huge growing mobile world.
CE: Could you tell us a bit more about the team's educational and professional background?
Aditya: I graduated last year from KIIT University, Bhubaneswar finishing B.Tech in Electronics and Telecommunication. From the 2nd year of college, I was involved in lots of security projects and was actively learning new things on Web Security. Later on, I moved into mobile security, considering it to be one of the most interesting things to look into at that time, also because not many people were working on mobile security back in 2010. Additionally, I gave a lot of talks presenting my research in various security conferences all over the world. Later on, I started teaching security teams from some of the biggest companies in the world about Mobile Security. These days, I focus more on trainings as it allows me to share my knowledge and also keep on learning something new all the time.
Before Attify, I worked in rediff.com as a Security Engineer handling most of the web application security for the company.
Hrishi graduated this year (2014) from IIT Guwahati. He is also a mobile enthusiast and loves to build new stuffs. He is avid blogger at collegewires.comin which he generally shares his learning on mobile application development. Even though he isn’t from a security background for long, he is a quick learner and currently focuses on the product development at Attify. (His astute ability has helped him to gain new heights in security front even though he entered late in the business. Currently, he focuses on the product development at Attify.)
Apart from me and Hrishi, we have another vital member in our group Shivang (the third Musketeer), who is with us from the very start, and is currently a full time employee at Attify.
He previously worked in a bunch of other security companies like NetSquare and Wegilant. Currently, he handles the security research for AppWatch (our cloud based mobile security scanner) and integration of new scanning modules for vulnerabilities in Android and iOS.
CE: If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what is the first thing you would do?
Aditya: One of the things I’ve learnt while running a startup is, the key component to have the entire team dedicated to do quality work and enjoy the work at the same time, is to have them motivated. And it could only be achieved if the founders share the vision of the company with the entire team. Unless the entire team knows what they are trying to achieve, and what are the milestones and goals, they won’t be able to be attached at an emotional level to the work that they are doing. Success can’t be achieved by a single man’s work, it’s the entire team who has to focus dedicatedly on it.
CE: Who has influenced you the most?
Aditya: One of the people who has inspired me the most is without a doubt, Steve Jobs – the founder of Apple computers. Other inspirations would include Larry Ellison, Sean Parker, Jeff Bezos and so on. I keep on taking inspirations and lessons from different people’s experiences, and you never know, when you’re in a situation where any of the things which you have read about or heard earlier could be applied to it. One have to keep the mind and ears open all the time, and try to learn as much as possible.
CE: When is breaking the rules okay? Tell us about an instance when you did something against the guidelines? How did that help Attify?
Aditya: In the startup journey, rules don’t matter much. It’s different for each and every company. Different people will tell you different things, but the thing is to have the goal decided in your mind. And, no matter what other people say, you’ve to just go for your dream.
During the starting days of Attify, we started with building a BYOD solution but soon realized the cloud based mobile application security to be a more interesting possibility to work on. Eventually we pivoted to build a next-generation cloud based mobile application security scanner, AppWatch. So far, the feedback of the early beta has been outstanding and people simply love it. We even gave the beta access to some of the biggest companies in the world, and they have been using it since then.
During the time we started building AppWatch, there were a lot of people advising us not to take risk by trying out something new, and focus on the BYOD front. But the decision of trusting our own instincts has turned out to be quite great now. Also, there now exist a lot of competitors copying what we are doing, and trying to build the same thing. Well, we enjoy being competed against, and the thing that people miss is it’s not in the features of what you build. For example, your competitor could put in 1000 features copying ideas from different places, but the only thing that matter is what value you provide to your user. There has to be an emotional attachment to the product and it should be really simple to use when people use it. I think that’s why we are ahead of most of our competitors now. We aim to be the market leader for mobile security in the coming 5 years.
CE: How can one approach the unknown? How can "Contacts" help any startup?
Aditya: I don’t think there’s anything such as unknown. It’s all about knowing the right persons and having the connections. We are self-sustained and successfully bootstrapped so far, and we are doing quite good. And most of the projects and clients that we get are through the word of mouth, or some of the earlier connections we have made. We get a lot of connections through introductions by friends, networking in various conferences and meetups, earlier colleagues, people who have earlier used our product and loved it and so on. We were also one of the Top 10 finalists in Nasscom 10,000 startups which also gave us a lot of exposure and help us made a lot of connections. I believe contacts play a vital role in the success of a startup. Often time, you’ll need to approach an unknown person, but you just have to figure out the dots in order to reach him. It’s a small world, and people will know people who will in turn know other people useful for your business.
CE: What are the three key books you feel any engineer should read, and why?
Aditya: According to me, the three must read books for engineers and entrepreneurs would be :
1.Steve Jobs : Biography by Walter Isaacson : Gives a complete picture of the life of Steve Jobs, from the early days of Apple to how it became a billion dollar giant
2.The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: Useful in understanding how a startup should function for the best outcomes.
3.Learning Pentesting for Android Devices by myself : Will help the developers give a clear picture of the mobile security landscape, and the different kind of security threats existing for mobile applications. A must read for all the engineers and entrepreneurs building mobile based products.
CE: Thank you for the time you have spent with us. Any message for our readers?
Aditya: It was great sharing my experience with your readers. CrazyEngineers is one of the websites which we follow since the very start, and it’s really nice to have Attify in it.
The message I would like to give the readers is running and working in a startup is one of the hardest thing in the world. You’ve to face a lot of hardships and incur a lot of tough situations.
The key to success is perseverance. You’ve to keep working hard, and giving your best all the time. Sooner or later, things will start working out. You’ve to stay focused on what you’re doing and be a great team player at the same time.
Also, if you need any tips or advice or just want to say a hi, feel free to get in touch with me personally at @adi1391 or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org .