I’ve been in my fair share of interviews. More than any other question, this challenge to define myself leaves me tongue-tied and mystified – even though I know it’s coming. Even though I have prepared for it.
In that moment, I feel my mind racing as I second-guess the perfect words to express myself so succinctly. I should know this! I think, and reflect on one of my favorite quotes, from Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
If I thought the exercise was difficult for portraying myself, I had no idea how much more Herculean the task would be for a multibillion-dollar company. That’s the challenge – or should I say opportunity – McAfee faced when attempting to articulate who we are in as few words as possible.
On its face, the task seemed a fool’s errand. After all, McAfee’s portfolio ranges from protecting the most advanced enterprise cybersecurity environments to the most digitally connected consumers. It spans an ecosystem of more than 130 partners developing integrated solutions. It’s evolved through the decades beyond device protection to so much more.
How do you capture the essence of a multi-faceted company in less than five words?
It starts in the same way you would answer that quintessential question for yourself – by searching your core to find what makes you different. McAfee strives to protect data and stop threats. We do so by defending where that data increasingly resides. And we practice an inclusive, open approach by teaming with others – partners and competitors alike – to give our customers cohesive solutions. (This last credo was particularly key in developing McAfee’s tagline, Together is power.)
We researched, scrutinized, and debated. How do customers perceive us today? Where do they give us permission to grow? How do we take the best of our past to chart a new future? What gives us the right to claim a position? Why should the market believe our intentions based on our actions?
At last, we landed on a few simple words to capture the essence of the new McAfee: The device-to-cloud cybersecurity company.
The phrase takes the best of our legacy, device protection, and combines it with where data increasingly resides, the cloud. And, it covers the expanse of our portfolio by means of development and acquisition through the years.
We are not just doing this for us. Interviewers ask you to sum yourself up in a few words because they need to know where you fit, what you have to offer, who you are, and why they should hire you. With this, we are doing the same thing. We also want to help cybersecurity define itself. At a key moment, the search industry defined its perimeters as a “long tail” of information. The mobile industry announced, “there’s an app for that.” This is our new byline because we believe security is essential from beginning to end of your personal and business life. Cybersecurity today must extend from device to cloud. We owe you that ambitious, complete view.
Check out our television commercial which, in addition to introducing the company’s new byline, is also a nod to one of McAfee’s company values – innovating without fear to help the world fully realize the transformative power our digital age promises. Amazing how a company can be summed up in so few words and in as little as 30 seconds.
So, how would you describe yourself in five words or less? It’s still a hard question. At McAfee, in this moment in cybersecurity, we believe we owe the world the right answer.