Flavors of Security: Conversation with muji

Muji and I had a brief conversation about his Flavors of Security posts, and he suggested we post it on the board for others:

I wrote:

Hi muji,

I just finished working my way through your seven-post Flavors of Security masterpiece of a write-up, which for a non-techie like me was an eye opener, but a long slog. After reading through your four company summaries I got the impression that:

Okta was your favorite, with few negatives and a very sticky platform.

Zscaler had very disorganized S&M and was moving away from land and expand. (Hopes though with the new CRO)

Crowdstrike, while endpoints was a very large market, you couldn’t see where they go from there.

Elastic was an island for each customer instead of a universe like the other companies, and it seems to me you are in Elastic for all the other things it does, with Security being just an incidental.

Did I get those impressions wrong?



Muji responded:

Saul, nice to hear from you.

Yep, yep, yep and yep. Your takeaways were all on target.

I am surprised at how dissatisfied I was with Zscaler’s web marketing. Combined with their excuses about longer sales cycle made me want to demote them a bit… but they did own it and hired someone to solve it. Given that I consider them the stickiest of the 4, any improvement on S&M side will reap huge benefits, so I remain heavily invested for now as we see new CRO get involved. I do hope they find a strategy for both angles… land and expand to get SMB folks hooked, as well as “all-in” from large enterprises.

Okta I think will move like PAYC, WDAY, COUP, VEEV from here. Below 50% growth but making $ hand over fist. Like ZS, they seem to be having the “problem” of larger upfront deals. But unlike ZS it is a simpler service to integrate so “self signup” growth from SMB will continue. ZS has a challenge here.

Crowdstrike… I plan on buying more now that it is down so much off high. Yes, I don’t know what is their angle after EPP peters out, but they have time to find it as EPP alone carries their hypergrowth a few years.

Elastic, yes it does keep companies as their own island. However, if companies are not willing to pay huge sums for SaaS solutions (Splunk, Datadog, NewRelic really), Elastic is the next best solution… and a much cheaper one at that. With all that “island” talk, I consider this more a huge plus for SECaaS services having the complete view (global picture across all companies, and exploiting ML/AI over all of it) than a knock on Elastic. There will always be a market for D-I-Y (where Elastic shines).

Just starting to look at DataDog. Interesting that they are powered by Elasticsearch under the hood. Shows you where Elastic could go with this.


(Saul here) As you all know, I had the same sense of dissatisfaction with Zscaler’s marketing but instead of staying as heavily invested as I had been, I reduced my position by over half, and put a lot of the money in Datadog and others.

We hope you find this brief discussion interesting.



The company I work for started using Okta just a couple weeks ago and the transition was super easy for me as a user to set up my new single sign on account for everything. I can see why this is a very sticky service after experiencing it.