Are you made for this?

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
Are you made for this?

Welcome to the new 88 cyber warriors who joined us last week. Each week, we'll be sharing insights from the Black Hat MEA community. Read exclusive interviews with industry experts and key findings from the #BHMEA stages.

Keep up with our weekly newsletters on LinkedIn — subscribe here.

Discover weekly insights, inspiration and interviews from the global Black Hat MEA community. 

This week we’re focused on…

Whether you’re cut out to be a cybersecurity entrepreneur. 

There’s no single characteristic that makes someone an entrepreneur 

We asked Emre Kulali (Strategic Partnerships at AccuKnox) if, over the course of his career so far, he’s identified any key characteristics that set an entrepreneur apart from the crowd – and indicate that they’re probably going to be successful. 

He said yes. And those characteristics include: 

  • “Unwavering conviction in their vision.”
  • “Boundless energy to drive their ideas forward.”
  • “A remarkable adaptability to navigate challenges and pivot when necessary.” 

There’s no single personality trait that destines someone for success as an entrepreneur. Instead, there are many different ways to conceive ideas and build businesses – and the best entrepreneurs aren’t always the ones who make the most noise.

💡 We’d love to know…

Have you spotted any characteristics that all cybersecurity entrepreneurs have in common?

1. Nope – they’re all different. vote

2. Yes – there are some common personality traits. vote

3. Yes – but it’s less about personality and more about certain skills that entrepreneurs share. vote

But even the quietly confident ones have a knack for storytelling

Some entrepreneurs could talk all day about their big ideas. And some are more reserved; preferring to do the work in a quieter way. But whether they do it through their words or their actions, they share an ability for telling stories – and that ability is a telltale sign of a talented entrepreneur. 

“Effective entrepreneurs possess exceptional storytelling skills,” Kulali added,  “enabling them to articulate and sell their vision compellingly and garner support from stakeholders, investors, customers, etc.”

And their storytelling is backed by solid knowledge of the market they’re telling stories in. 

“Deep subject matter expertise, or at least keen knowledge of the space, allows them to identify market needs that are underserved or address unmet customer pain points.” 

Every entrepreneur needs to know how to build a team

Kulali noted that “team-building is an important skill as well – successful entrepreneurs excel at team building, fostering a collaborative environment where individuals are able to contribute their unique skills and perspectives.”

This is a really important point, and one that’s easy to overlook at the early stage of entrepreneurship when the focus is on individuals and their ideas. No business can scale in the cybersecurity sector without a talented team; and successful entrepreneurs must know how to build a team that can do the job. 

They’ve also got to know when to let people go. Often, in the early days, the team consists of whoever the entrepreneur can get on board at the time – with minimal budget and little proof that the business is viable. That early team tends to consist of generalists; you need people who can do lots of things (from product development to marketing), because you can’t afford to hire top talent for every role. 

Then as the business grows, it outgrows those generalists. They’re brilliant people – they can keep a business afloat by turning their hand to anything; but that means they’re unlikely to be the very best at something. 

Over time, you might need to replace them with specialists who do one thing – and do it extremely well. That’s how you take your startup to compete in world-class markets. 

And it means that the people skills of an entrepreneur-turned-founder have to be coupled with the ability to disappoint individuals for the benefit of the overall business. It’s one of the many reasons that growing a business is difficult.

We’d love to hear about your experience

Open this newsletter on LinkedIn and join the conversation. Have you had to reorganise your team as your business grows? Do entrepreneurs have to be willing to let people go – or can a founding team also be the one that scales the company? 

Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts. Our next newsletter is scheduled for 15 May 2024.

Catch you next week,
Steve Durning
Exhibition Director

Join us at Black Hat MEA 2024 to grow your network, expand your knowledge, and build your business.

Share on

Join newsletter

Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.

Follow us


Sign up for more like this.

Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.

Related articles