Cyber Mindfulness

Mike Davis

IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN HACKED, you know how critical cybersecurity is.

Over $60 billion is spent every year by U.S. companies looking to protect sensitive data. They look to companies like Mike Davis’ Merek.

After all, if you were looking for an expert, who could be better than someone who has worked to ensure that the US Navy, Boeing and Los Alamos National Laboratory were secure? What could be better than Mike Davis?

The answer is not that simple. In fact, the story is not really about technology at all. It’s about a woman, a teacher, that changed Mike’s life when he was 13.

Her name? Mrs. Merek.

How did you get into tech?

The navy. Twenty-two years ago. I learned a lot about security in the Navy, so much so, that when I got out I was immediately recruited by Boeing. There I worked in security management, keeping their flight simulators running and tuned, optimizing the coding in the back, keeping things secure.

Then, eventually, LANL recruited me. Poached me, actually. I wanted to live near the ocean, and there’s certainly no ocean near Los Alamos. But the security officer job was too good to turn down. The lab really taught me a lot about security in the critical research space. It was an amazing experience.

Ultimately, then I got tired of the meetings. The meetings, the meetings, the meetings. I began to think about being an entrepreneur, going out on my own. But leaving that twice-a-month check was terrifying.

As I was planning to leave, I actually ended up emailing my eighth grade math teacher and said, Hey, I’m thinking about doing this scary thing. Why her? Because the courage it took me to create this company was the courage she showed me as my 13-year old self.

When I was 13, I was just all types of crazy – distracted – no way was I gonna pass eighth grade. And I remember one day she sat me down, looked me right in the eye, and said, I don’t want you in my class again next year. I believe you can do better than this, Mike. She gave me a confidence I’d never had, and when I was looking for courage to start the business, she’s the one who popped into my brain. So I named my company after her.



Photo SFM