Fear of the unknown is a universal human trait according to anthropologist Donald Brown. In behavioral science, it's called status quo bias- the emotional bias or preference humans have to the current state of affairs and their built in resistance to change.
"Humans are allergic to change", declared Admiral Grace Hopper, computing pioneer and 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, who had a clock that ran counterclockwise in her office just to make the point that she will fight anyone whose predisposition is to do things a certain way just because that's how it's always been done.
We are pre-wired as human beings to embrace the safe option.
That's what I love about entrepreneurship and innovation: it requires breaking rules, challenging the status quo, embracing the unknown, and disregarding the odds. It runs counter to our very nature and it is essential to human progress.
It's also what I love about the RSAC Innovation Sandbox: a celebration of the best startup companies, the best entrepreneurs, all of them challenging the cybersecurity industry to change. After attending RSAC Innovation Sandbox for years, I am incredibly excited to be a judge this year joining Asheem Chandna from Greylock Ventures, Gerhard Eschelbeck from Google, Patrick Heim from Dropbox and Paul Rambus.
As judges we spent much of our winter holidays on the phone discussing all of the incredible submissions in order to narrow the field to the top ten. The competition was fierce with an impressive array of startups covering everything from encryption to IoT to Cloud and ICS to mobile, network and threat intelligence and analytics. It wasn't easy getting here and while all the entrepreneurs who submitted should be celebrated, ten stood out.
10 companies. 10 killer concepts. 10 teams who have chosen to innovate, rather than rest on their laurels, change rather than stand still, challenge the existing 1,500+ companies in the cybersecurity space rather than be daunted by the overwhelming landscape of competitors.
2017 RSAC Innovation Sandbox Top 10 Finalist:
- Cato Networks
- Contrast Security
- Uplevel Security
More information on each of the companies can be found here.
The world is overwhelmed by the drumbeat of cybersecurity breaches and their increasingly damaging implications on our lives, our businesses, and even fundamental trust in our political systems. The problems these entrepreneurs are solving matter to all of us. I applaud them for embracing the challenge.
I can't wait to listen to the finalists making their pitch at the RSAC Innovation Sandbox on February 13, 2017 at RSA Conference 2017. I hope you will join us.