Fun with Physical Addresses

In preparing my recently issued 2017 TAG Cyber Security Annual, one of the more fascinating tasks involved researching the headquarters locations of 1337 cyber security vendors around the world. What I discovered was that the physical addresses listed for cyber security vendors provides for some humorous comparison. Whether such comparison is useful in source selection . . . well, I’ll let you decide that one.

To begin with, there are absolutely no physical addresses in the entire world that can compete with the warm, cozy elegance associated with headquarters in the United Kingdom. As if created by poets, the locations in that region suggest bowls of strawberries and whipped cream ready and waiting for anyone lucky enough to stop in for an afternoon visit. Here’s a typically wonderful example:

Day Zero Security Limited, 36 Grassy Green Lane, Audley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, ST7 9AB, United Kingdom

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m taking a job any day of the week at a company located on Grassy Green Lane in a place called Stoke-on-Trent. The lobby image in my mind shows someone in a comfy wool sweater and fuzzy slippers listening to soft clarinet music while reading a Nicholas Sparks paperback. Here’s a shout out to Day Zero Security Limited for a super cool address. Don’t ever move.

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum, there are no physical company addresses more seemingly depressing than for the vendors I researched in China. As I was typing in their street addresses, my head was filled with the image of concrete industrial jungles, chilly winds blowing, and no ping pong tables to be found anywhere. Here’s a typical example:

China Telecom HQ, Block A, No. 1, South Chongming RD , (North Sichuan RD), Post Code 200085, Shanghai, PRC

Now, I know that China Telecom is a wonderful technology company, but if they ever asked for my advice, I’d suggest maybe softening the edges on that home address a bit. The Block A stuff, for example, sounds like they’re located on the second floor of Sing Sing. Perhaps they should send a delegation to visit Audley in the UK to ask those Zero Day Security tea sippers for suggestions on an improved address.

Security vendors in the U.S. have boring addresses. Unlike the playfulness of 1 Infinite Loop and 1 Hacker Way, I could find nobody at 0101 Malware Drive or 1337 Audit Trail Way. Three companies – Data Devices, Metric Stream, and Quintessence Labs – included 2600 in their address. You might note that the P.O. Box for my own TAG Cyber LLC is 260, because my local post office was too small to accept my request for an additional zero. Here’s a typical, no-frills, American address, one of fourteen located on somebody’s Main Street:

Bitium, 2448 Main Street, Santa Monica, California 90405

Five companies sit on Sand Hill Road, perhaps hoping a gust of wind will blow VC money out onto the street. Palo Alto is the official postal address to seventeen cyber security companies, with Palo Alto Networks abstaining and collecting its mail in Santa Clara. Surprisingly few vendors (forty) claim New York City as their HQ, but many had sales offices there. I guess we think stuff up on the left coast and then unload it all on the right.

Many security vendors list no street address, which conjures the image of young founders coding in their bedrooms in advance of their Seed round. There were so many companies in Israel that my fingers quit typing at forty-one. Some additional companies keep R&D Headquarters in Israel (nine), but you get the impression that the big-wigs live there. Here’s a typical Israeli address with cool-sounding places that look easy to mispronounce:

Safe-T, 8 Aba Even Street, Herzliya Pituach, Herzliya 4672526, Israel

My advice to the cyber security industry is this: Your street address is just as important as your logo. Where you establish your headquarters reveals much about your company culture. Located in Urbandale, Iowa? I’ll bet your staff is well-adjusted mentally. (Nice job, Fastpath.) Located in Menlo Park (nine), then I’ll bet you peek at your mobile during lunch. Located in the Bronx? Well, sadly, there are no cyber security companies headquartered there. But if someone is interested, the address below is probably available:

Babe Ruth Cyber Security, One Grand Concourse, Home Run Protection Court, Bronx, New York 10453 Tel: (212) 010 – 2600

You’d better go grab that street address now before someone from Block 1, Unit 3, Sector A vacates China and beats you to the punch.