Cryptologist Eugene Kaspersky is chief executive of Kaspersky Lab, the Russian antivirus and security software company that he co-founded with his then wife Natalya in 1997. The company, which competes with US rivals such as Symantec and McAfee, has offices in 29 countries. Mr Kaspersky is based in Moscow.
● My favourite question at work is: “What’s the bad news?” I’ve been working in the IT security industry for about 20 years, so I’m paranoid. I expect the worst-case scenario.
I’m very interested in feedback from customers. I want to be like the nervous system as it reports pain in the body. I’m always collecting data.
● I’m currently in the middle of a business trip that included Mobile World Congress, the telecoms trade show, in Barcelona.
After that, my view of the industry is that the mobile malware landscape is going to go from bad to worse.
● Half my life is spent in Moscow but the other half I’m travelling. Most of our sales by far are outside Russia.
In the office, I normally wear classic shirts and jeans but I have a suit for presidents and prime ministers – two years back [Russian] President Dmitry Medvedev visited.
For this business trip, I don’t even have one suit with me.
● When I’m in the office, I go around talking to people all the time – at their desk, over green tea in our canteen. I don’t drink coffee. If I want to meet someone, I don’t just call them, I go to see them. It means I leave the office two or three times a day.
At the end of a Moscow office day, I go the gym with my personal trainer, who is also part of our legal team – so I save time and money. What I like to say about the office is “keep it like a family”. Many people are friends and some go on vacation together.
● In January, we took our first private equity investment when General Atlantic, the US private equity firm, bought a stake in the company via secondary shares.
At the moment we think it’s beneficial for Kaspersky to stay private and focus on organic growth and research and development. But eventually the company will go public.
In the meantime, John Bernstein, head of Europe at General Atlantic, is joining Kaspersky’s board to help us develop our strategic growth plan.
● I’m on a short trip of three weeks at the moment but sometimes I’m away for two months. I usually travel with my PR managers and other guys from Kaspersky. Sometimes, the team has a changeover during the trip as they can’t survive a whole one. I care about them, so I renew them.
● After Barcelona, I went to Madrid for a conference, then Lisbon to meet partners and media, and then to Paris. Next on the itinerary were Stockholm and Copenhagen, and Hanover for CeBit, the big IT trade show.
At the end of that, I am going skiing in Sölden, Austria, for three or four days and then go home to Moscow.
● Bahrain was going to be my next trip because Kaspersky is a sponsor of Formula One’s Ferrari team. I’m normally there for the first race but, of course, it has been cancelled.
● I try to have a holiday every summer. The last one was for 25 days. I go to wild places in the mountains where you can’t use the internet or mobile phones. But there is a satellite connection.
● In Moscow, I’m usually not an early bird, especially after a trip, because I need time to relax. On some trips I get only three to four hours of sleep a night. However, I don’t really get jet lag as I’m jumping time zones all the time.
When I’m on a flight, I have my Sony Vaio computer and my Bose headphones for noise cancelling. I like to download e-mails on the ground and then go through them and reply in the air.
I delete for ever the e-mails that I won’t need and archive e-mails I have replied to and may need again. My goal is to have no more than one Outlook page of incoming e-mails.
And then I just sleep. I can sleep for six, eight, nine hours on an aeroplane if it’s a 13-hour flight.
The flight to me is like a lullaby. I dream of sleep.
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