Lessons from a CEO

Posted by Adam Richardson - 22/11/2023

Recently, on our Scale with Strive Podcast, we spoke with Philippe Humeau, Co-Founder and CEO at Series A Cyber Security company, CrowdSec.

During the podcast, we gained so many useful tips for anyone looking to expand and grow their Company – including:

💡 Lessons learned from global expansion.

💡 Educating the market.

💡 The when, how and who of C-Suite hiring. 

We explore these, and more, below – but of course encourage you to listen to the Podcast in full to get the most value!

Let’s Dive In!


Lessons Learned from Global Expansion: The EMEA Market

  • France can be bureaucratic / full of red tape when compared to other EMEA countries, especially Germany and the UK.
  • The UK is a good ground for starting to commercialise your product. UK are more as risk takers – more willing to try, check and test compared to other countries. Also, the regulation framework around contracts is looser than in most European countries.
  • This can therefore allow a company to be faster at iterating and improving on what is working based on this feedback from early adopters.


Lessons Learned from Global Expansion: The US Market

  • ‘Mother of all markets’ for most industries, but especially the Cyber Security industry. If you land a big contract in the US, it can open up worldwide, giving you chance to develop the company brand, logo etc.
  • Working in the US will help ‘teach you business”.

“The US is efficient like no other country in the world regarding business, we all know that.

But the truth is you have a 20-minute rendezvous with a high-profile account…. in 20 minutes you should deliver your value, your core value, what you really are bringing to the company. And they will instantly assess whether they need you or not.

Its efficiency pushed at its maximum. So, this is a testing ground for you like no other.”

  • Before you even tackle the US market, be prepared - with your pitch, your deck, your messaging.
  • Don't go heavy on slides - typically they will want to understand the value rather than how you do it. What do you bring to the table?
  • In the Cyber Security market, any large Fortune 500 company gets roughly 3,000 meeting request per year and of these will only book in around 200 POCs. So how are you going to stand out to be the 1 in 10 – 15 that gets through?
  • However, the US is a very rewarding market, people are fast paced and know how to take risk and find an opportunity. Trying a new product in the market is not scary for them.

“The US is a key maker because if you make it there, you can make it anywhere like the song says….”


States in the US to target, by Sector:

You really need to study the US before taking a decision about where to physically land and hire staff.  

Some Key States:

  • Silicon Valley – still the place to be. IT and general SaaS.
  • Maryland and Boston – Cyber Security.
  • New York – Financial Sector
  • Boston – R&D


Educating the Market:

“The game is a Simon Says game.

You have Gartner, Forrester and all the other communication agencies are saying, “OK Simon, say you have to buy this today.” And everyone buys this.

And Simon didn't say what you don't have to buy or what else is on the market…..

And the problem for us is, if you have a blue ocean strategy, so you bring something here at the market with a new go to market, a new product, a new angle, the biggest problem you would have on the short term is to educate the landscape that you do exit and you solve the problem right.”


  • You need to make people understand something obvious – educate to show that this is an angle that needs to be explored.
  • Evangelize the market as well as obviously selling.


“My point of view about this is marketing, marketing, marketing, communication and marketing.


Because if you do advertisements… you will spend a lot of money and you have to fuel the machine constantly.

If you do communication, say content marketing, it takes more time before it's really efficient and pays off. But this is a long-lasting effect. It will last for years.”


  • This approach will cause a hockey style motion, where at first you invest in this at loss until you start building momentum - as opposed to advertisements, which can be paying off right away, but will constantly need fuelling.


The when, how and who of C-Suite hiring:

“We co-founded with a CTO and COO and I would say like it's a good way of co-founding.

You have a CEO, COO, CMO or CSO, but at least try to fit two of the 5 C-Suites as soon as you can with the Founders and be sure about them.

And then you need to complete the line up with two more profiles here.”


  • As a Founder / CEO, the aim should be to look to replace yourself.
  • It's extremely important that you delegate, and you accept that your role as a CEO is to take the strategic vision and strategic overview to take forward the right decision - because you will be the only one that would be held accountable for that.
  • As soon as you can, expand your line up so that people that are better than you at every field in the game are actually handling the teams, leaving you freer on the strategy. This is how you scale.



Want to know more? 💡

🎥 Watch the episode on YouTube

🎧 Listen on Spotify

🎧  Listen on Apple Podcasts

🚀 Connect with Philippe

🚀 Connect with Adam

❔ Learn more about Strive

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