Employee Spotlight: Chris Kirsch


Meet Chris Kirsch, Co-Founder & Board Member of runZero #

Chris Kirsch and HD Moore met at Rapid7 when they worked on Metasploit together. So, when HD Moore started runZero, he asked Chris to join the company as Chief Revenue Officer. "I’ve always wanted to be part of a startup again. I knew HD makes great products, is an unconventional thinker, and we get along. When HD asked me to come on board, it was a no-brainer." At the beginning of 2021, Chris officially joined runZero as Chief Revenue Officer, and eventually transitioned into the role of Chief Executive Officer six months later.

HD built the product by himself, as a side-gig. I occasionally helped him from time with go-to-market questions but wasn’t part of the operational business. At some point, I mentioned to him that I wanted to take time off from my career and take a sabbatical. Instead, he asked me to join runZero.

Since joining runZero, Chris has showcased his ability to take on any task at hand. Whether it's setting up the CRM or running product demo calls for customers, Chris sees them as opportunities to learn and empower others. "We’re growing fast, so I constantly have to learn new skills, which I love. The key is to focus on the biggest problem, learn as fast as I can, and help implement the right solution. The solution can be the right hire, system, or process. Once things are up and running, I can help transition ownership to the right person or team. Otherwise, it can be really hard to scale."

When asked what he loves about working at runZero, Chris says, "I love that we are doing things the way we think they should be done–not the way everyone else is doing them. Sometimes they are the same things, sometimes they are different. The world is always changing, so you have to carefully observe and decide if the same rules still apply."

For example, "Last year, we knew we wanted to put the company values down on paper, so we could align on them. Instead of the leadership team creating and dictating them to the company, I invited five people with varying backgrounds to join me for two sessions. I asked several open questions around culture and was truly impressed by how thoughtful the answers were. I ended up with 18 pages of great notes, distilled our cultural values from them, and took them back to the same team for review. We still use the same values today."

Q&A #

June is Pride Month! Pride Month commemorates and celebrates the activism and progress within the LGBTQIA+ community since the Stonewall Uprising. In celebration of Pride Month, we ask our team what this month means to them.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

There’s always someone out there who’s still in the closet and having a really hard time. To me, Pride Month is about demonstrating to that shy trans kid in a rural area that they are not alone. Suicide rates among queer teens are among the highest, and Pride Month can be a lifeline. It also provides an impetus for blog posts like these.

What is something you are looking forward to doing to celebrate Pride Month?

Dinner with my husband. We are quite boring (but I still love him a lot).

What are some of the LGBTQ+ issues that you feel are important for us to make progress on?

Gays and lesbians are a lot more accepted in mainstream culture than when I was in highschool. The next frontier is for the world to learn a lot more about trans people to normalize their lives. We’re already seeing trans men and women being featured a lot more in mainstream media, which is a positive development to bring acceptance to everyone’s living room (or iPad).

What are things you think people can do to educate themselves on the issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community?

People learn through stories. Check out LGBTQ+ movies on your streaming services. It’s a great way to dive into another person’s life to experience and learn other stories you may not know about.

How can we become better allies for the LGBTQ+ community?

Don’t assume that what’s best for you is best for others. Ask them how they want to be treated.

Written by Thao Doan

More about Thao Doan
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