5 min read

Employee Spotlight: The Star Wars Start-Up Principles

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At the end of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (aka, the OG Star Wars) a small, ragtag crew of rebels stand together, medals around their neck, while throngs of onlookers’ cheers echo through the temple. Those were the heroes that I—and everyone else in the theater—aspired to be.

It was easy to forget that Luke, Han, and Chewie arrived at that elegant temple by way of the infamous Millennium Falcon—a ship that is, as one of our heroes delicately puts it, “a hunk of junk.” And before they enter that temple, even our heroes don’t seem like much: a rookie, a Wookie, and a smuggler. But when thrown together with C3PO, Leia, R2D2, and Obi-Wan you get a complementary team with the scrappiness, smarts, skills, and mission-focus to beat out even the mightiest technological terror in the universe. 

The original Star Wars helped define my generation—and now, as a 25-year veteran of start-ups, that scrappy crew of rebels flying precariously through asteroid fields in a galaxy far, far away can feel very familiar to my day-to-day work in the start-up space. 

“She'll make point five past light-speed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.” - Han Solo

Everyone who has seen Star Wars dreams of riding shotgun with Han and Chewie. Even with their satellite flying off and the subdeck breaking on a million-parsec-fast-flight that feels totally out of control, we’d all rather be on that ship than the Death Star, or the Naboo royal starship, or any of the other fancy starships that zoom around the galaxy. Despite its looks and limitations, the Millennium Falcon and her crew inspire because they’re focused on the mission and they deliver, despite all odds. 

That’s how start-ups can feel, too. I boarded the scrappy Neuro-ID start-up ship as CRO in 2020 because I believe in our mission: we’re a diverse team of ragtag crimefighters saving the galaxy from evil-doers. There’s an “empire” full of the status quo that imposes its will on this industry . . . and then there’s us, a 75ish-employee-strong start-up working together to stop the most ingenious criminals the galaxy (well, what we know of the galaxy, anyway) has ever seen. And that’s not an exaggeration, either—we’ve stopped coordinated cyber-criminality that belongs in a sci-fi movie.

Though we may sometimes feel like a “bucket of bolts,” powering our Millennium Falcon-style ship through a galaxy of moon-sized companies, Neuro-ID behavioral analytics are cutting-edge and industry redefining. We too, “have it where it counts (kid).”

“You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought.” - Princess Leia

Just like the crew of the Millennium Falcon, at Neuro-ID we don’t sweat the small stuff—we dig deep, escape the pull of the tractor beam and we move on, sometimes at warp speed (even if it takes hammering the warp drive with a wrench). The mission and the people (including our customers) are what matters: the rest is just noise. Because at the end of the day, we’re fighting cybercriminals of the dark side, and they don’t care about spelling mistakees in blog posts, so neither do we (as my own personal Obi-Wan (my dad) used to tell me: “don’t major in the minors, son”). The cybercriminals’ main focus is on defrauding our customers—and that’s why our main focus is on out-foxing them.

If we accomplish our mission, then we’re at peace with being the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy,” carrying a powerful team hurtling through space.

“I've outrun Imperial starships . . . She's fast enough for you old man.”- Han Solo

Chewbacca is the dream colleague. He's loyal, makes a big impact in every project he undertakes, and isn’t afraid to speak up when there’s a problem to fix. Meanwhile, Han has his extreme confidence and swagger—but it’s backed-up with true experience and the ability to stay cool under fire, like all the best leaders. Leia balances the team’s cavalier style with her worldliness and wisdom, while Luke is passionate and leads with his heart. C3PO is deeply analytical and diplomatic, providing the needed details and context. And then there’s Old Ben Kenobi: wise and thoughtful, seeing the big picture with intuition rooted in experience that anticipates outcomes and sees through the chaos of the moment.

Swap the names, and those are all the core members of Neuro-ID’s start-up spaceship, too. Leia lives in our passionate go-getters who drive everyone to accomplish more than they thought they could. I love working with our teams full of Lukes: the enthusiastic rookies whose passion drives them even against the odds. Our leadership team is balanced by experience that can see through the chaos to keep our rag-tag heroes  focused on the mission at hand. And R2D2 himself would fit right in with the scrappy smarts of our solutions teams, whose creative technology development gives us an edge while we’re all riding together in our Millennium Falcon. 

And maybe our Corellian light freighter could use a spit-polish, but the Neuro-ID crew gets the job done because we’re focused on making the best solution—not the best looking ship. After all, putting money where it matters is key to both saving the galaxy and succeeding as a start-up: if you burn too much cash you burn out fast. At Neuro-ID we have chosen by design to be better and faster (and smarter, not cheaper). It’s why we’re able to achieve big things from modest resources and push warp drive into the darkness with supreme confidence. 

We’ll never get medals around our necks, but there’s no crew this side of the solar system that I’d rather navigate asteroid-fields with and I’m proud to work with everyone here. May the Fourth be with you today, and everyday, as the spirit of Star Wars lives on across the Neuro-ID-universe and within us all!

Want to Save the Galaxy at Neuro-ID?

We’re looking for scrappy rebels who can jump into their roles with light-saber sharp energy. Sound like you? Check out our openings here

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