A Shark’s Take

In October I had the privilege of meeting Robert Herjavec, best known for his role on ABC's Shark Tank. On the show, Robert is introduced as "the immigrant son of a factory worker" who comes from very humble beginnings. He now owns The Herjavec Group, one of the largest IT security firms in North America. Of course, he is also part-owner in many more businesses as a result of his involvement with Shark Tank. Now, before I go on, I need to get one thing clear: if you don't watch Shark Tank, you and I can no longer be friends. Please stop reading this article.

OK, you're still here. Good. I feel I need to start by explaining that I've never had much interest in celebrities. I hear people talk of catching a glimpse of this famous actor or that famous singer and my eyes glass over as I head off to my happy place. They're just people after all. Why are they any more important than me or you or anyone else?

I still feel that way. Mostly. I decided a while back that it was time for me to up my game in the world of technology, and more specifically the world of business. As part of this quest to better myself, I joined an organization that specializes in training IT companies. I head to Nashville (occasionally other locations) at least once per quarter to further my education. Most of these conferences feature at least one "celebrity". I put that in quotes because many of them are only famous in their own circles. Still, it feels great to rub elbows with some of the movers and shakers in the business world.

Of all such celebrities that I've met so far, Robert Herjavec was easily the highlight (see the last two sentences of paragraph one). In full disclosure, the meeting consisted of about a three second photo-shoot. With such a rare opportunity, the only thing I could think to say was, "I don't know how you smile for this long!" (He probably took 300 pictures that day.) It was a dorky question, true to my socially awkward nature. But it was on my mind. Because he was smiling. And I generally don't. His reply was simple, "I'm always smiling." Simple, but it was the message that had the most impact of anything I heard over the course of our 3-day training event. I guess that's because I am not always smiling.

Before the photo shoot, during Robert's presentation, he talked a bit about the importance of being happy. He suggested that our employees expect it of us. It is our job to motivate and inspire, and not to discourage.

I'm sure we all acknowledge the importance of attitude, but I know that at least in this one area, I had lost sight of it. It was a very timely reminder for me.

Robert didn't just talk about being happy. I know I need more than a smile to feel fulfilled in my business ventures. I need growth. I aspire to lofty things. One of my fellow IT colleagues asked Robert during the Q&A session how he took his business from under $500,000 to over $250 million in such a short time. His response was again very simple, but still very profound. "I just got tired of being small." Could it really be that simple? Perhaps. It's amazing what someone can do with the right attitude. Remember, Robert is the son of an immigrant factory worker. No silver spoon here.

The last point that I'll mention is Robert's take on sales. Badly paraphrasing, he emphasized that a CEO's most important job is sales. And every manager is responsible for sales. He said that some will say, "My job is not to do sales, but to manage." According to Robert, that is nonsense. He emphasized the point over and over. My notes: "Sales! Sales! Sales!" I don't remember all the specifics, and I don't write fast enough to take good notes, but he certainly drove the point home.

So in a nutshell, Robert's take on business (and life) as I understood it is simple: be happy, think big, and sell.

Hackers Are Now Targeting Macs

Until recently, MacIntosh computer users have long enjoyed relative freedom from hacker attacks; however, researchers at Symantec Corporation say online criminals are now setting their sites on Mac users.

Online porn hunters are the latest target. Visitors to certain web sites are led to believe they can download a free video player when in fact they are installing malicious code onto their Macs.

Once the users authorize the transaction, the hackers can redirect the users future browsing to fraudulent web sites and possibly steal the user's information or passwords. Sometimes they simply send ads for other pornographic web sites. This results in thousands of dollars in income for the criminals.

While you may think that Macs are essentially more secure than PCs because they are built better, security experts would argue differently. They believe that the Mac is actually no more secure than a PC. In fact, they note that the relatively low number of viruses, exploits and other cyber attacks directed at Mac users is due to Apple's relatively small share of the computer market.

"I don't think that the Mac OS is more secure than Windows -- I think it is safer than Windows because there are less people trying to attack it. There is a big difference," Natalie Lambert, a senior analyst at Forrester Research recently shared with MacNewsWorld.

With that said, the fact remains that for every single attack on a Mac, there are at least 100 attacks on Windows-based systems.

So what should you do if you own a Mac? Use the same safe online surfing practices as PC users, keep your anti-virus software up-to-date, never open strange e-mails from unknown sources, and only verify user names and passwords by phone with your bank or other financial institutions.