I was catching up with a friend/colleague of mine recently, perhaps the best start-up marketing pro I know. He was relating an anecdote from a recent board meeting at which members of his BoD were asking him how he intended to differentiate their offering from the dozens of products in the same or near-adjacent space. We shared a laugh knowing that, just as the best coach on the planet can’t create a championship team with lousy players, the best marketing team in the world can’t write enough magic marketing words to differentiate a fundamentally undifferentiated product. He then walked me through some product enhancement ideas he was working on that would give their product the uniqueness critical to market success, but he also joked that he was a bit jealous of my new gig at trackd (we’ll get to why shortly).
trackd is my 3rd start-up in about 6 years, and after each exit, I’m fortunate (or cursed, depending on your perspective) to be able to speak with multiple early stage companies looking for marketing help, and I’ve learned to quickly filter out the ones looking for marketing fairy dust to differentiate their product, whether they know it or not. It’s always my first question in the first interview: how do you differentiate in a crowded market (and every market is crowded these days). If I hear “we’re better, faster, easier to use, less expensive, or we provide better support and we’re customer-centric,” I know it’s time to swipe left.
Which brings us back to why my friend is jealous of my gig at trackd. Rarely does one quote a book written during the Reagan Administration, but here goes. In 1986, William Davidow, a former Intel executive, published Marketing High Technology, a timeless discussion of high technology marketing principles that I refer to to this day. My favorite? In high technology, it’s better to be a lot different than a little better. In a nutshell, if your competitor’s product has 100 features, and you’re banking on the fact that you have 105 to win, it’s a jump ball, at best. And we have a word for a tie in marketing: loss.
So, I’m very happy to report that, at trackd…not my problem. Mike, our founder and CEO, took care of that differentiation thing on day one, pitch-deck slide one, prototype one. Nobody’s doing what we’re doing, and to quote an enthusiastic visitor to our booth at last week’s FutureCon show outside DC, “I can’t believe no one’s thought of this…”
So today we, officially (with an actual press release!), start to tell the cybersecurity world how we’re leveraging crowd-sourcing to address the top reason vulnerability remediation teams don’t patch more aggressively: fear of breaking shit. We’ve been told it will be difficult. We’ve been told it’s too complex. We’ve even been told it can’t be done.
But one thing we haven’t been told is that someone else is doing it.
So if you’re a vulnerability remediation professional or cyber security practitioner that understands the single most effective way to decrease enterprise cyber risk is to patch vulnerabilities quickly, and if you’re frustrated at the lack of innovation in the remediation space over the past decade, believe me when I say we really ARE different (oh, and our platform is better, too😉…but we’ll leave that discussion for another day).