Spotlight: Bob Heard, Credant Technologies
As told to Max Chafkin
Industry Leader: Security
Three-Year Growth: 1,907.3%
Most security companies focus on keeping the bad guys out. Bob Heard worries about what happens when your BlackBerry falls into the wrong hands. A lost gadget containing customer data or employees' Social Security numbers can result in millions of dollars in legal fees and untold damage to a brand. Credant Technologies offers encryption software for smartphones, PDAs, thumb drives, laptops, and iPods.
Parents' occupations: Fifth-generation owners of a hardware store, Heard's Hardware, in Bowie, Texas
Previous jobs: I worked for IBM (NYSE:IBM) in the mid-1970s, selling mainframes and minicomputers. My first start-up was called Information Resources, which made accounting software for oil and gas companies. I worked for two software start-ups in the 1990s.
Its origins: I saw that the next thing in security would have to do with protecting data in the mobile world. Individual employees are now able to bring smartphones in to work, synchronize them, and walk out with $30 million worth of data on a $300 device. I saw an opportunity and thought that the timing was right.
Why it's growing: Two watershed events: In 2003, the state of California passed a law that said any public company doing business in the state that had a data breach had to notify each person affected. Then, in 2006, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that a laptop containing information about millions of veterans had been stolen. Other businesses saw the headline and said, "Wow, we really don't want that to happen to us."
How I Work
Where I get my inspiration: I'm a devout Christian, so I get a lot of inspiration from my faith.
What I lose sleep over: Things I don't control, such as macroeconomic trends, and things I do control, such as our product
The best part of my job: Interactions with people, especially when I see a look on someone else's face -- a customer, a partner, or an employee -- that shows the person has learned something
The worst part of my job: Decisions about firing or changing people's roles in the organization