On April 4th, 2018, Blancco Technology Group announced that veteran technology CEO Matt Jones had been named the company’s Chief Executive Officer, taking over from interim CEO Simon Herrick as planned. In this role, Matt will help the company expand its global growth and reach new markets. I sat down with Matt recently to ask him a little bit more about himself, from both a business and personal perspective.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be, and why?
A: If I had to pick one word, it would probably be “reliable.” It’s not very exciting, but you will find I have a history of doing what I say I am going to do, and the word reliable incorporates trust and honesty. If you want to build a strong company, you have to rely on each other, and that starts at the top.
Q: What is your background, and how will it help you navigate your new role at Blancco?
A: I have worked in the technology space for over 30 years. The first 12 years of my career, I worked for AT&T and Sprint in the mobile space, and I have been selling to enterprises all my life. For the past 20 years, I have run software companies based in the Silicon Valley—most of which are in the cybersecurity space. That background has helped me understand how to build strong businesses and hire talented teams.
Q: What age were you when you realized you wanted to run a business?
A: Maybe around 20. I had a summer job where I ran my own painting company. I really enjoyed building and running a business and working with people. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a CEO at that time, but the itch started in my hometown of Mansfield, Ohio.
Q: Who are your business icons and inspirations?
A: Warren Buffett is one. He’s so smart and stays true to his principles, and he has an unparalleled track record as an investor. I also recently read a great book on Thomas Edison. He was a prolific inventor—but also a good businessman. Both are true pioneers in their respective fields.
Q: Why did you choose Blancco?
A: First, it’s a really interesting market. There are lots of opportunities to grow and a true customer need for our product. Second, we have a strong product and dedicated set of customers who have been using the product for years. Third, it was a good match for me because it’s in the B2B technology space that I understand.
Q: What do you think Blancco’s strengths are in the data erasure market/ How do you see this market evolving?
A: We have a great set of people, including a lot of long-term employees with a huge knowledge base. We have an impressive list of customers, from Fortune 10 sized businesses to Fortune 1000 businesses. We have a global footprint that is unmatched in the industry, allowing us to service our customers in Europe, Asia and North America. In terms of the market, customers are beginning to realize that they need to proactively manage their data through its lifecycle because of compliance and security concerns. Data sanitization will become the new normal.
Q: What is Blancco’s greatest challenge? How do you plan to overcome it?
A: Our biggest challenge is customer awareness. Many organizations don’t fully understand the importance of data sanitization or just aren’t aware of the methods that actually achieve it. Industry trends are clearly boosting customer awareness, whether that is ever-growing security threats or regulations like GDPR. But this isn’t unlike other markets I have worked in where we are early in the customer adoption curve.
Q: Many of our ITAD partners have been with us since the beginning. What are your priorities for addressing the needs of these organizations?
A: The ITAD market is very important market for us because it is where Blancco started. It is within this market that we have our longest customer relationships, and we need to make sure we are listening to their needs and understand how they are evolving their businesses. Our solutions need to match what they are looking for as the industry evolves.
Q: What are your goals for Blancco over the next 6 months, 1 year, 3 years?
A: Short-term is easier to answer for me. Right now, I am getting to know partners, customers, employees and working to develop a long-term plan for the business based on all this information. On my 3-year goals, you will need to ask me that question again in six months to get a complete answer!
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: Family is very important to me. I have three grown adult boys I love to spend time with. I also enjoy traveling with my wife and exercising when I get the chance.
Q: What’s the last thing you Googled?
A: I guess it would be 1960s British sports cars. I am in the market for a restored sports car, and I am looking for more information to make my choice!
Thanks to Matt for answering all my questions. Stay tuned to the Blancco blog for future updates, interviews and insights.