Chad Bennett | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Chad Bennett

Background:, a cybersecurity firm based in Provo, is using artificial intelligence and the blockchain to build what it calls "an open cybersecurity ecosystem" that will protect individuals and their data. Bennett, a 15-year veteran of cybersecurity, founded what became HEROIC in 2011.

The Mistake:

When I started this business, we lost our focus in who we were wanting to protect.

We wanted to protect everybody – consumers and enterprises – instead of concentrating on a specific target.

It's a lot easier to fulfill your mission when you have a very narrow focus. 

The Lesson:

The benefit of finding that renewed focus – on protecting the data of individuals and families – is our ability as a team to come together and produce the technology needed to fulfill our ultimate mission. That mission is to intelligently protect the world's information – and that's not something that we can do in a year, five years or even 10 years. 

This is a long-term mission, but it's allowed us to spend our limited resources. It's allowed us to focus our resources on that and in fact, it's also allowed us to change the financing model and the way that we want to fund the company.

It's opened up new opportunities that really had we kept going down the path of a dual focus of enterprise and consumer. This has freed us to new opportunities that better enable us to achieve our mission.

It's a lot easier to fulfill your mission when you have a very narrow focus. It allows you to get so much more done in business. People want to throw this humongous net and try to catch as many fish, no matter what type of fish it is, they want to cast this huge net and catch all the fish.

And what ended up happening is you actually end up catching less fish and it's not very targeted and you catch all these things that you don't want to catch that takes you away. And so, as a bigger lesson, it teaches us to need to choose not only in your industry, but also choose very narrow a target and go after those very narrow targets.

Our lives rely on technology. When we look into the future in the next five to 10 years, [even] 15 years, this technology is going to become more and more a part of our lives. We're going to use this technology to put our kids in self-driving cars.

We just saw within the last month, two accidents because of self-driving cars, [and] almost a year ago, half a million heart pumps were recalled because they were remotely hackable, and so the future of data breaches, the future of the cyber threats will affect us physically. Not just our data, but our physical lives, even our kids or grandkids, all that stuff, and so it's becoming more imperative that we figure out how to protect against these type of threats.

Follow on Twitter at @heroiccyber.

Pictured is Chad Bennett. | Photo courtesy of

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email

And be sure to sign up for your local newsletter from Crain's Utah.