In the early years of building a business, a key trait of a leader is passion. Later, the leader must become more and more of an enabler, driving people to give their best. This is one of the first lessons that Florin Talpes, the CEO of Bitdefender, imparted to the young crowd gathered in Bucharest, for an AIESEC meeting.
Referring to his 25-year career path as an entrepreneur and founding of several business, Talpes compared a young entrepreneur to a mountain rock while going forward. After the early years in business, the leader more closely resembles a river rock.
“Mountain rocks are edgy -- you could hurt yourself in them, much like a young leader trying to build and succeed,” Talpes explains. “River stones are round, shaped one by the other. This is the same leader and his team five or 10 years later. At the beginning, the leader seems crazy, willing to take great risks, believing in his ideas and goals with all his heart. Later, he becomes an enabler, empowering his team and stakeholders to give the best they can.”
Florin Talpes, one of the first business leaders to arise from Romania in the modern era, started his entrepreneurial career in 1990, right after the Romanian revolution and the fall of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. He is best known for building Bitdefender, a security solutions provider whose technology is used by more than 500 million people worldwide.
The Romanian entrepreneur foresees significant change in the global high tech market that will shake the traditional foundation of skills and knowledge system and trigger the need to rewrite the educational ecosystem.
’’In the high tech domain, the educational system is not adapted to this new economy. This year and last year, the penetration of smart machines, machine intelligence - and I’m not necessary talking about devices – grew a lot. This requires a completely new set of knowledge and skills and you need to rewrite the educational ecosystem, especially in the universities. We are working to support that,” Florin Talpes added.
Bitdefender employs over 900 people globally. The entire technical team that develops Bitdefender’s renowned technologies is based in Romania. Eastern Europe is well known for its highly talented tech resources, and this is reflected in the large high tech investments it attracted in the last 20 years from big global corporations. With more than 64,000 IT specialists, Romania is a leader in the European Union in terms of employee density in the IT domain according to Gartner.
Even if the technical educational system is one of the most solid, shaping some of the best IT specialists in the world, the need for private involvement in adapting the curricula is significant and will grow in coming years.
Bitdefender is developing, together with the local universities, programs such as master classes and courses specialized in cyber-security.
The company is also organizing C++ and tech support classes for students and young graduates who want to perfect their skills in the domain.
Bitdefender plans to increase its workforce by 30% next year. Most recruits will work in the technical teams, but international sales and marketing teams, especially in USA, UK and Germany, will grow significantly.
Bitdefender has offices in the US in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Santa Clara, California and Washington, DC. Other offices include the UK, Germany, UES, Dubai and Spain. The company generates more than 35% of its business in the US market and is addressing enterprise clients, SMEs and governmental accounts with innovative security solutions.