Name: Itay Weiss
Title: Deputy VP R&D
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
GETTING TO AXONIUS
Where did you work before Axonius?
I worked at a company named Iguazio with fellow Axonian Michael Gartsbein. It was my first civilian job in the field after seven years in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
When did you join Axonius?
How did you hear about Axonius?
After two years at Iguazio, I was ready for a new challenge. A mutual friend of Avidor and mine insisted I meet with Avidor and hear him out. At the time, there was only Dean, Ofri, Avidor, and a single developer working from a tiny office that couldn’t fit more than two people. Other than an idea, four people, and a little bit in the bank – there was no Axonius yet.
Why did you join Axonius?
I thought it was exciting to build something from the ground up. We had a lot of freedom to make decisions on how things would work. Some of those decisions are still with us – for better or worse. I had (and still have) faith in the people and the idea, and I knew I wanted to be a part of something great.
What’s your favorite part about working at Axonius?
The highly professional working environment. We get none other than the best people for the job across all functions. Whether I’m working with someone in Sales, Customer Success, Marketing, or R&D (which I am a part of), I know that they’re the best of the best and at the top of their game. Axonians are not just great professionally, but also great people. They’re always ready to help, thinking and doing what’s best for the entire company.
What has been your highlight working at Axonius?
Bringing value quickly to our first proofs of concept (POCs). I distinctly remember Ofri returning from calls or on-site visits to Israeli companies we began working with when we only had a minimum viable product (MVP) at the time. We would all have lunch together and listen to Ofri sharing with us what worked, didn’t work, and what the user suggested we add or change with the product. I remember the excitement on everyone’s face when he pointed at him or her and said that the user loved the new feature they developed. I also remember the group kind of competing to figure out what caused the bugs he’d described from the descriptions while eating lunch.
What does a typical day at Axonius look like for you?
Every morning I make cold coffee with the ice from the freezer, and every morning I fill the ice cube trays with water because nobody else does. Every time Avidor sees me doing this, he jokes that when we were five people, I would fill the ice trays every morning. Now that we’re 80 people I still do that, and that when Axonius is 400 people, I’ll probably still be doing it myself every morning.
Then I usually go around the office with my coffee cup saying good morning to everyone. During this time, I gather a queue of people in R&D that need help with anything. I start running through that queue, and after that I get to my other responsibilities.
What do you eat for lunch?
Sadly, I have to admit I’m very problematic with food. I do cook a lot especially now that I’m social distancing. I love to make very spicy chili, soups of all kinds and basically anything with meat.
JUST FOR FUN
What’s your best stress buster?
Sailing, windsurfing, swimming, and scuba diving—basically anything to do with water and the sea. I grew up in Tel Aviv, and a love for the sea is something that all of my family members share (except for my mom, who despises sand).
What do you like to do fun outside of work?
I love learning new things and trying new hobbies. I’m almost always taking classes on different subjects to better myself and my skills, whether it’s learning a new language (currently, it’s Hungarian) or woodworking. I also love listening to music, reading, and playing video games.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I currently have my eyes set on getting into technical diving and upgrading my sailing certification from coastal to offshore.
Any special talents or skills?
I’m really good at recognizing movies from short quotes and, similarly, music by just the first few notes or snippets.
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
I love traveling and would use the winnings to travel the world in one way or another, perhaps on a yacht.
What is something you learned in the last week?
I’m currently working on handstands. It’s something I can work on while at home, and for some reason I decided I want to end this social distancing period knowing how to do one. Everyone is welcome to join me:
Do you have any pets?
I grew up with lots of pets around me: six cats, two dogs, two chinchillas, and two ferrets. As much as I love animals, I know how much work they require, so currently I’m taking a break from pet ownership.
SHOW US YOUR WORKSPACE
What advice would you give to someone who wants to transition into the cybersecurity industry?
Be extra thorough. Instead of just knowing that a function sorts an array, know which sorting algorithm the function uses. Cybersecurity is all about the little things, like that single port which is open on that server or the version of that Linux server that has vulnerability on it.