“Well, I wear a lot more orange now,” he said. I’d just asked Ray Potter how life was different since he founded SafeLogic. He wasn’t wrong, that’s for sure. It was getting to be rare for him to be seen in anything other than an orange shirt, with the exception being one of the black or gray variations that had the orange logo silk-screened on it, of course. I’ve been here, working with Ray in various capacities, since 2012. That was before the orange, before SafeLogic was named, back when startups had a knack for appending “-ify” or “-ly” or just throwing a “Zen” in there somewhere. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that “Encryptify” didn’t make the list at some point, but “SafeLogic” ultimately felt right, a portmanteau that reflected a simple goal. We were going to protect company data with a pragmatic certified encryption strategy.

Ray was the classic tech entrepreneur. Optimistic to a fault and willing to take risks. He set aside a thriving consulting business to focus on building CryptoComply, a product to solve his clients’ pain points once instead of making the same recommendations repeatedly.

It’s still our flagship product line to this day. CryptoComply is an encryption module that has been purpose-built as a drop-in replacement for various popular open source crypto libraries. CryptoComply has received a validation certificate for FIPS 140, the requirement for deployment in the U.S. Federal government and other regulated industries, and our bundled RapidCert service accelerates the process by delivering the same validation for customers in approximately 8 weeks, rather than the traditional 12- 18 months. SafeLogic customers enjoy zero effort, simplified FIPS 140 validations, helping them beat rivals to lucrative Public Sector contracts and as a strong competitive differentiator in all verticals. It’s a tandem solution that is unrivaled in our niche industry. It wasn’t an easy road to becoming the go-to provider in our area of expertise, though. Acquiring the right personnel was key. Ray said it succinctly. “A leader needs to be able to assemble a team and then let the team do what they are best at, meaning that hiring the right people is much more crucial than managing those people.”

SafeLogic embraced many philosophies that now grace a myriad of start-up books and MBA curriculums, like hiring a small team of particularly high achievers, ensuring significant collaboration across functions, and reinforcing high levels of independence and responsibility. Possibly most importantly, especially this year during the COVID-19 crisis, SafeLogic is a distributed team. We work from anywhere and everywhere. We get our work done with a seamless and singular focus on productivity. Work is what we do, not where we go. Some companies have incorporated remote work during COVID-19, others are still kicking and screaming, but we had no interruption to operations. We didn’t hire from a pool of candidates in a certain geographic radius and we’re reaping the benefits now more than ever. You really have to wonder about the companies that limit themselves to employees that all happen to live within commuting distance of a single arbitrary location. Does that really cast a wide enough net? Does it create a better lifestyle? Does it inspire diversity in perspective? Maybe. Maybe not.

Selecting those teammates carefully was crucial. Ray pointed out that “most people spend more time with co-workers than with their social circle, so surround yourself with people that are fun and imaginative and able to adapt and innovate. That culture will ensure that you never get left behind or burnt out.” Not every startup has the luxury to scale as they would prefer. That’s one of the funny things about the tech industry. The widely accepted formula is to get a good idea, build a minimum viable product, get funded, and pour lighter fluid on it in the hopes that it explodes (in the good way). It made SafeLogic a real renegade to turn down venture capital, and an even bigger maverick to hire slowly.

 “SafeLogic has a fantastic team and A-list customers,” Ray added, pointing to logos from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lexmark, Broadcom, VMware, and others. “We’re growing, we’re profitable, and we’re not beholden to VC governance. I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which we had to double or triple our headcount just because we had to achieve top line growth at any cost. Big funding comes with a lot of strings, and I can’t justify the runway acrobatics and misaligned goals.”

“In an industry where it has become commonplace for a company to achieve ‘unicorn’ status and get publicly traded without ever turning a profit, it is incredibly satisfying to be in the black from Day 1, see an increase every year in the top line as well as the bottom, and watch the growth of my teammates,” said the proud CEO. “And if that’s not a priority... if you don’t think of your company as family and you’re not rooting for their success on a personal level... it might be time to reexamine your career.”