Today I was named one of this year’s most influential people in business under 40, a recognition I’m honored — and humbled — to receive. To be honest, it feels a bit odd to receive this kind of attention. Firstly, I am simply the product of incredibly fortunate circumstances, role models and opportunities. And any noteworthiness I have in the business world is fueled less by my age, and more by the experiences I’ve had alongside mentors and colleagues whose combined centuries of experience have grown Tanium into the company it is today. But because there isn’t a 40 under 500, I am here representing each and every one of them.
My father David is my first and most important role model. He sparked my love of technology from an extremely young age. His company wrote some of the first software that managed modems — not many people know what those even are any more. At age 3, I was allowed to play with brand new computers, which at the time should have been kept far away from my destructive little hands. Rumor has it I loved destroying technology before I loved using it.
I was also extremely lucky to be able to attend schools that valued science and technology education. In elementary school, our science teachers were well ahead of their time, showing us how computers could help simplify problems (back in the ‘80s!). I developed my love for the magical things computers can do while trying to learn physics using the math libraries when most kids had no access to a computer at all. Those experiences shaped the way I see the world today, which is why I am so passionate about offering all young students the kinds of opportunities and teachers that I got to experience. So many amazing organizations exist today for this very purpose, like KIPP, Summit Public Schools and NPower, and it’s our responsibility as a tech community to open our wallets and doors to them as much as possible.
My dad continues to be my guide when it comes to business. For that, I am forever grateful. It is because of his leadership and example that, together, we have created this amazing company where employees truly enjoy building something transformational. He continuously shows us how to run our business in a way that we can both be ethically proud of it, and still be ultra competitive. Very few people succeed at both and nobody embodies this clean model of winning more than he does. Simple advice that he’s given me over the years has completely shaped how I lead:
- Right and wrong is more important than what you want. Tanium works tirelessly to develop great products because it’s the right thing to do for our customers given our unique set of skills and experience. With the best products, sales come easier. That’s the driving factor behind our success.
- Never give up. We have run into thousands of roadblocks building Tanium over the last eight years, and so many growing pains, but we have continued to push and grow. If this were easy, everyone would succeed, and in fact very few will succeed, and the big difference is tenacity.
- People are the true assets of great companies, not contracts or incumbency or physical assets or even products, so always take care of your people. In our industry, many people have tried to do this the easy way, which is throwing massages, nap pods and ping pong tables at them, but truly happy people have a mission they care about, and feel important, fulfilled and treated with respect. Those should always be management’s primary goals.
Our people are the heart and soul of Tanium, and the key to our every success. Many of our senior engineers have been with us for more than 18 years, through our last company, BigFix, and are driving hard with us to this day. They truly believe in our mission and goals because they helped shape them.
Tanium is all of our chance to get it right — David and me, our customers, our engineers, our sales people, everyone who touches this company. I’m fortunate enough to work with people who believe the same thing. While it’s my picture in Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list, all of our experiences have led us here and have allowed us to come to this worldview. This award is not for me, but everyone that got us here.
Orion Hindawi, Co-founder & CTO