In every sports movie, there is that one character who could have been a contender; they would have pursued their sport professionally had an injury not befell them.
They then spend the rest of the film either coaching or heckling the sporty protagonist.
When injury knocked SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten's dreams of basketball glory on the head, he took the hit like a champ, instead funnelling his teenage energies into his interest in computers and the internet, which led him to the path he is on today.
"It's kind of hard for me to imagine myself doing something else [than what I'm doing now], but basketball is one career I would love to pursue in another life," he said.
"But I got injured and just figured I can't really do this for a living. But it's something that I really liked."
Weingarten described SentinelOne as having a "Hacker DNA" in its founding team. He admits to being somewhat of a hacker in his youth, jumping at any opportunity to see just how deep he could go.
"My interest in all this came when I was around 15 or 16 and the internet was forming and everything getting much more connected," he explained.
"We were just kids playing around and we were always asking the questions ‘how does this stuff work? If it works? Can we get in? Can we see it? Can we figure out a way to circumvent and understand what's going on beneath the surface?'
"Back in the day, a lot of it was very wide open. I wouldn't say that the situation is incredibly different today, but it would be somewhat different."
Weingarten used this curiosity to found and run a number of start-ups in his native Israel before getting together with Almog Cohen to found endpoint security specialist SentinelOne in 2013, of which he would lead and Cohen would be CTO.
Shoot from the hip
These experiences have led the CEO to develop a work ethos that involves working with a purpose in mind that isn't just about making money.
"One of the most important parts of what I do is that I need to feel like there's a true meaning to what I do, and what we build at SentinelOne, we feel like we're impacting the earth in a positive way," he declared.
"If you have a vision that you believe in and you feel like there's a big market and demand for it, and it can make a difference, that's what is important.
"If you're starting a company today, do it to improve something significant, do it to better something. Don't just do it to a figure out how you do the next exit or whatever. I feel like that's something that everyone should strive for, in every position."
This shoot-from-the-hip attitude is characteristic of his leadership, he said, and "brutal honesty" is a trait that he both values in his colleagues and tries to imbue in SentinelOne's messaging.
"I think I'm brutally honest, brutally straightforward, and I tried to have everyone around me be the same way," he elaborated.
"It just saves a lot of time, you really get stuff done much quicker and you get to work with incredible speed.
"I really like surrounding myself with people that have different perspectives and hearing their perspective. Maybe not always embracing their perspective, but always listening. I think that's incredibly important and really helps you to validate your thinking, in a way."
Customers are also appreciative of this candour, he said, adding that SentinelOne's honesty is a big differentiator against their competitors who claim to offer complete protection from attacks.
"In the past 20 years, some of the big antivirus companies have been advertising things like 100 per cent protection, bulletproof solutions, all kinds of things that are just not real and cannot exist," he explained.
"And we said ‘Look, we want to be a different company, and we are never going to say these things if we don't believe them, we're never going to put marketing messages out there that don't really conform to what we truly think and feel about what our product can do.
"It's probably the best product that you can buy today, but by no means is it bulletproof.
"I don't think there's any bulletproof solution out there, nor will there be. We carry that honesty and integrity in everything we do."
Financial slam dunks
That honesty is the backbone of SentinelOne's offering of a million-dollar cyber warranty - which was an industry first at the time it was launched in 2016. The warranty covered ransomware attacks on customers' networks.
Weingarten isn't surprised that more of his competitors aren't courting customers with similar offerings, stating that to do so means they have to have utter confidence in their product.
"I'm not incredibly surprised, because to offer that type of warranty, you have to have a degree of belief that your software can live up to that," he said.
"Maybe they don't feel that way, maybe it's more economical to them. I can tell you that thus far, we've had zero claims.
"We welcome CrowdStrike, and we welcome everybody else who opt to give these warranties because we feel like vendors need to be more liable for their protection software - it is a very positive trend," he added.
"When we brought that offering to market, we sincerely hoped that more vendors would follow."
More is to come from security vendor, after landing $120m in a Series D funding round recently, Weingarten promised, adding that the money will be used to expand and "displace those incumbent antivirus vendors".
With the amount of consolidation in the cybersecurity space in the past 18 months, are there plans to use some of the money to indulge in M&A? Yes and no, according to the boss. There's more of a chance of them acquiring than being acquired, he elaborated.
"Everything is open for us," he declared. "We definitely look to the future and there's a definite chance that we will acquire companies."
"We have definitely had interest in the past [to be acquired], but we never thought it something that we felt comfortable doing.
"We're very confident in our ability to execute right now with the growth trajectory and momentum we have. We're not entertaining anything.
"With all that said, we're always open to listen, but, at this point in time, it would be almost counterintuitive to pursue that."
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