"If you do not pay for the service - you are the service"
He grew up in Air Force bases, experienced relocation as a teenager, served as a pilot - but did not like flying.
He tells "Executive Summary" why he thinks NSO is an immoral company, why he should not be tempted to questionable links online and also - when will he ring the bell that will open the business in New York
Wednesday, 26 January 2022, 14:09 Updated: Thursday, 27 January 2022, 12:13
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: Nimrod Wax, 50, founder and CEO of BIG ID.
Who I am
: Analytical in my way of thinking, loves frameworks in which I have freedom of movement, decision and creativity and options I can choose from and I love to create.
: Grandma from the side of Dad, came to Israel from Poland in the 1920s and was a pioneer in the kibbutz of Hashomer Hatzair. At some point she moved to Tel Aviv, married her grandfather, who was a musician and played the clarinet and saxophone and was a member of the Balfour Orchestra.
He died when Dad was a child and he and his sister grew up with a single mother.
Mother's parents came to Israel in their teens after the First Immigrant War, Sever from Russia and grandmother from Ukraine.
Great-grandfather was one of the builders of the Dead Sea Works and Grandpa studied engineering at the Technion building, and Grandma was an interpreter.
They lived in Tel Aviv.
The parents met at a new high school and got married.
Dad was a pilot in the Air Force and we followed him from base to base in Israel and throughout the United States and when he was released he was a pilot in El Al.
Mother started her career as a social worker and today she is a psychotherapist, caring for children.
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"Dad was a pilot and we moved from base to base" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: Early childhood was in Air Force bases.
I always built things, Lego creations, houses on trees and even a skateboard with a sail.
Every year we were in a different place: first-second grades in B'Sh. The frequent transitions and it seems natural to me then to go through school every year.
When we flew to Maryland, Dad was in training pilot pilots.
I always wanted to be a pilot, there was no other option.
: I completed a pilot course and served as a transport pilot.
I did not enjoy it too much, I did not excel and it also did not really suit my culture and character.
It's hard for me to put my finger on and say why.
My parents officially did not push me to pilot, mostly mom.
I was discharged at age 27 and did reserve duty until age 40 as a pilot.
I loved the squadron and my best friends are from that period, but for me to fly is a punishment, because flying is to perform a task from one to ten, there is no room for creativity or imagination.
: I started studying computer science at Bar Ilan, because I was always good at math and physics, I had "Spectrum 48" and wrote software in Basic.
Because I had to work, I flew on the "Elron" line to Ein Yahav, together with another friend from a pilot's course.
I would fly 4-5 times a week before school and I would do the lessons while waiting at the station in Ein Yahav, and occasionally I would take my wife there with me.
"I served as a transport pilot and did not enjoy it too much" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: My wife, a designer and art curator.
She had a company of textile products for children for many years.
We met in high school and started dating after a break I was in the military.
We got married a little after I graduated and lived in the center of Tel Aviv, the best period of our lives. We stayed in the city and have three children.
: While studying I started working for a high-tech computer game company, as a flight content consultant and I insisted on moving to technology as a software developer. I switched to a network security startup, which did not survive the 2001 crisis, and joined Business Laires, which dealt with identity management. Yizhar Shai, the former Minister of Science, was my CEO and I remember him well.
Then CA, an American company acquired it.
When I realized I had no technological ambition, I did not want to be a development manager, I started studying for a master's degree in business administration and moved to product management in the company, first in the country and then we expanded it to new markets in the world of identity management. I managed all of CA's identity management products, and Meirav was a full-time mom.
"Yizhar Shai, the former Minister of Science, was my CEO and I remember him well" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: After four years in the US I decided to leave and wanted to build something for myself. It was after years of hard work and civil wars within the organization and I asked myself why I work so hard for others, instead of for myself. I set up a consulting company and tried to run my startup , That did not work so well.A
year before I left I met Dimitri Sirota, who sold his company to CA, and joined my unit in the US and we kept in touch.
After he too left the company we decided to set up something together. We recognized that the problem for companies is the difficulty of recognizing and understanding their information. When the scourge of information theft and dissemination began, states adopted regulations to protect privacy, and they required companies to protect the privacy of consumers and citizens.
There were no tools then that helped protect privacy and that was our direction from the beginning, both managing the information and separating the data related to privacy.
We have added the ability of the right to be forgotten, the right to ask the service provider for the information he collects about you and the right to ask him to delete it.
Companies did not have the ability to do this, except manually, within an ocean of information collected, which is almost impossible.
That's how we set up BIG ID.
: An information management and disclosure platform, used for privacy protection, information protection, management and analysis.
In 2016, when the company began to prepare for regulation, we already had a finished product and a year later we already sold it to Nike, Intel and other giant companies. We have ten employees and today we have over 350, 150 of them in Israel.
"There were no tools then that helped protect privacy and that was our direction from the beginning" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: People get confused about NSO and think it is a weapons company at all and then the weapon is not to blame for being traded.
There is something immoral in society.
Their product is based on software weaknesses, and they sell for as much as possible.
It's like a journalist had information about where a disaster would occur and when and instead of preventing it he would have sold that information.
As citizens we must understand the meaning of the NSO, which is not an iron dome and press for it to be tightly controlled.
What anyone can do is not click on unfamiliar links, do not buy on unfamiliar sites, and check in the browser that the company license is approved.
A lot of attacks impersonate a shopping site.
Do a phishing, send a link to a shopping site that you know, you pay and do not receive a product.
Do not install unfamiliar applications, and update the software every time a new update comes out of the company and even then, it will not give complete protection.
I do not think such an affair tarnishes Israeli high-tech, because as in any field, there are a variety of companies and most of them are defensive and a negligible minority are offensively.
"Women are confused about NSO and think it is a weapons company at all and then the weapon is not the fault of those who trade in it" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: When entering a shopping site, never agree to "cookies", because they are the ones who monitor the information and activities on the site.
Remember - that if you do not pay for the service - you are the service.
This is part of the terms of the game.
Your information is worth money.
It will be passed on to companies you did not want to reach, profiled and then bombarded with messages and emails from websites and businesses at best, or criminals may use it for sting operations.
When they threatened to change the rules of the game on WhatsApp, everyone wanted to switch to signal or telegram, and it held for a week.
One of the things we check is where the company is and where it keeps the information and Telegram, for example, is in some 'false lie', and it is not clear where it keeps the information.
Even at shopping sites it is important to know where the company works and operates, if it is in a tidy country that has privacy protection - because then it is safer.
Catalog of information
: We started with privacy, but very quickly realized that the customer was buying us for the sake of privacy and we turned the platform into the discovery and catalog of information in the organization.
We understand what kind of information there is, separate its different types and check where the sensitive information is that needs to be protected.
And so we got into security.
We wanted the information to be accessible to analysts and data people, to give them tools to manage it.
So on our platform you can add apps that help use the information.
"Runs regularly and also loves to cook and eat" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
Unicorn: A definition that is a milestone in the growth of a company, we came to it after a very hard work.
The goal is to increase the product's portfolio and sell as much of it as possible, to be an independent and large company that trades.
The Corona has proven to us that it is possible to close sales over the phone and not just at a steak dinner or golf game, that one does not have to be sold to Cisco to sell for hundreds of millions of dollars.
: No need to get excited about the valuation, whether it's a billion or two company, because that does not mean going home with the money.
The companies are fueled with a lot of cash and there is a lot of money that has come to the companies that are able to sell and they will grow.
Valuations may be high and impossible to realize right now.
I'm not objective, but the situation seems to be different from that of the bubble burst, because behind most companies there is self-justifying technology.
: Runs regularly and likes to cook and also eat.
Looking to the future
: another two or three years to ring the Nasdaq bell.
The "Executive Summary" section with Nimrod Wax will also be published in Maariv's "Business" magazine, Friday, January 28.