Tales of CrowdStrike

In 1970 George Kurtz is born in New Jersey and by 4th grade little George is taking apart his old IBM computer and writing video games for it.

He graduates from Seton Hall with a degree in accounting and takes a job at Price Water House Cooper then Ernst & Young. His bosses realize he’s got a knack for computers and he moves into computer security.

In 1999, Kurtz co-authors a book, “Hacking Exposed” which a Forbes article calls, “a Web Security Bible” with others, including Stuart McClure. (Remember this name he’ll be important later.)

The books become a series and sell over 600,000 copies. They generate controversy in that some feel they’re sharing secrets that will aid negative actors. In the computer security industry the bad guys are – hacktivists, state players, terrorists, kooks and thieves of every kind – are called, in aggregate, “The Adversary.”

That same year Kurtz, McClure and four other guys found a computer security company called Foundstone. Kurtz takes the role of CEO, McClure takes the role of President. FWIW, the two are young, handsome, smartly dressed guys who wear goatees and sport a look kind of like slicker versions of Netflix’s Reed Hastings. This a hyper male tough guy industry.

According to the Foundstone Wikipedia Page …

The company’s services are divided into four categories:

Incident Response and Forensics: The investigation, assessment, and containment of computer attacks and malware outbreaks.

Infrastructure Assessments: The security evaluation of networks and systems to identify software and configuration vulnerabilities.

Software Security Assessments: The identification of hardware and software vulnerabilities through black box, white box, and gray box testing.

Program Development and Risk: The development of information security programs, policies, and procedure. Also included within these services are information security risk assessments.

Training: Public and private classes on ethical hacking, incident response and forensics, and software security.

In 2003, Fast Company Magazine, names Kurtz to its Fast 50 (aka “Champions of Innovation”) and describes the company this way:

Foundstone helps organizations stop reacting to IT security breaches and start proactively managing and preventing attacks from happening in the first place. With the greatest single collection of security experts in the industry housed under one roof, Foundstone trains the NSA, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Secret Service, FBI, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among others.

The company grows revenues up to $20m quickly – charging up to $4,000 per person for their “Ultimate Hacking” courses. Large corporations (Motorola, Bank of America) and government agencies as vital as the Federal Aviation Authority are shelling out $300,000 for Foundstone’s software and consulting services.

Now, keep in mind, this is the height of the dot.com craze with wild west valuations and epic battles for supremacy breaking out in all industries at the dawn of the digital world.

And things take a dark turn…

Though Foundstone is recognized as an industry leader, a software trade group accuses them of stealing software licenses from other vendors on a grand scale. Execs flee the company and back the claims against Kurtz et al.

When Kurtz launches a lawsuit to block a former exec from starting his own company, this enrages people in the security community, including execs still at Foundstone, who feel it’s against the open source nature of innovation and some feel Kurtz has no IP to even defend.

All of this unsavoriness is detailed in a scathing Fortune Magazine article,

“The Two Faces of Foundstone – a leading computer-security company is accused of piracy.”

The article accuses Kurtz of believing his own hype and tarnishing his own reputation due to dot.com era greed and stupidity. Kurtz vehemently denies the accusations but apparently, after this, mired in lawsuits, he and McClure knock off the bad behavior.

In 2004, Kurtz pulls the trigger on a deal to sell Foundstone to one of the top dogs in the computer security industry, McAfee. (On a side note, if you’re not familiar with the name McAfee, John McAfee is literally one of the most colorful characters in business history.)

McAfee is an acquisitive company and stitching together all their offerings is apparently a complex and challenging effort.


Kurtz spends seven years at McAfee, rising up through the ranks to become Chief Technology Officer. During his tenure he works on acquisitions, marketing, strategy and helps build the McAfee Corporate Security Business Unit up to revenues of $1.5B annually.

According to his LinkedIn Page, Kurtz was…

Responsible for the creation of the Office of the CTO and driving the integrated security architectures and platforms of this ~$3B product business that had propelled McAfee into a leadership position in digital security. His entrepreneurial background and ability to commercialize nascent technologies enabled him to drive innovation throughout McAfee by identifying market trends and correlating them with customer feedback to optimize product direction and development.

An entrepreneur at heart, he almost leaves to start another venture, but stays when he was given the chance to become CTO. He now feels this was a very wise move because it gave him a chance to study the industry as a whole from a lofty perch.

In 2010, McAfee was bought by Intel for $7.68B and rebranded Intel Security. The move was heavily criticized as an odd play for Intel. In a New York Times article, the author covering the acquisition said investors were “flummoxed” by the deal and one analyst noted “There are no immediate synergies which I can see.”

In 2017, Intel spun off the business and took a 49% ownership stake in it. To the surprise of many, the unit reclaimed the name McAfee despite the antics of its namesake, who had run off to Belize, gotten involved in drugs, alcohol, a murder and is known to pose shirtless with gun-toting Latin American militia looking dudes. McAfee is a bitcoin advocate and radical Libertarian among other colorful things.

In his years at McAfee Kurtz flies around the world to visit and work with clients and prospects. On one flight he sees a guy turn on his computer and it runs McAfee. It takes forever to load. The guy stares out the window, chats with the flight attendant, twiddles his thumbs. And Kurtz is mortified by representing such a weak product. He feels certain there is a better way to a) protect computers and b) do so without crushing their performance.

But he knows Intel/McAfee is not going to harm their own offering and do what it takes to reinvent digital security from the ground up. So, he decides to leave the company. And he’s replaced by his longtime best friend and coworker, Scott McClure.

And this brings us to another key player in our story, Dmitri Alperovitch.

At McAfee Kurtz worked closely for years with Alperovitch. Here’s a piece of Alperovitch’s bio I pulled from a YouTube clip where he was speaking at a conference …

Dmitri … was a Vice President of Threat Research at McAfee, where he led the company’s global Internet threat intelligence analysis. With more than a decade of experience in the field of information security, Alperovitch is an inventor of ten patented and sixteen in patent-pending technologies and has conducted extensive research on reputation systems, spam detection, web security, public—key and identity—based cryptography, malware and intrusion detection and prevention. As a recognized authority on cyberespionage, cyber warfare, online organized criminal activity, and cybersecurity, Alperovitch has significant experience working as a subject matter expert with all levels of U.S. and international policy makers, intelligence and law enforcement agencies on analysis, investigations, and profiling of transnational organized criminal activities and cyber threats from terrorist and nation-state adversaries.


A renowned computer security researcher and relentless innovator, Alperovitch has previously been honored as Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, named as MIT Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators Under 35 and recognized twice as Washingtonian’s Tech Titan. A globally recognized thought leader on cyber policy and state tradecraft, he has been the driving force behind many of the groundbreaking investigations in cybersecurity industry. These investigations have uncovered numerous nation-state intrusions that have served as critical milestones in public’s understanding of the evolution of the cyber threat landscape.

Put simply, the dude is a digital security titan.

Kurtz and Alperovitch share a vision:

  1. They must build a new cloud-based security product from the ground up.
  2. Corporations must strike back at adversaries, sit back and pitifully endure waves of relentless attacks.

The two decide to work together to build the “Salesforce of computer security.”

In 2011 Kurtz accepts a role as “Executive in Residence” with the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus. He writes the business plan for CrowdStrike and together with Alperovitch they launch the company raising big money from heavyweights, including Google Ventures.

I think it’s fair to say the two have a relationship somewhat like Steve Jobs and Woz. They are a fearsome duo. Kurtz is an expert in security and a brilliant marketer. Alperovitch is a next-level genius but also has a flare for marketing. They give operations names like “Night Dragon” and assign sleek logos to various adversaries along with codenames.

Several product reviews I read note the company expertise with User Interface and graphic design. Again, this is a sleek high-tech, high-testosterone industry and it’s clear that Kurtz speaks the language and knows what appeals to prospects and clients alike. In his spare time, he is a very serious and legit race car driver. I like this is as speed is an essential ingredient to the CrowdStrike story. It’s in Kurtz’s blood. Love to see tight alignment between storyteller and story they’re telling.

Both men are passionately committed to making hackers and the businesses and nations behind them pay a price for their behavior. In fact, Alperovitch decided to leave Intel when the company refused to allow him to name China in a report for fear of losing business in China. Alperovitch was infuriated and felt that this was immoral, weak and flat out unpatriotic.

Here’s an article about Alperovitch’s take on fighting back…

The Russian Expat Leading the Fight to Protect America
In a war against hackers, Dmitri Alperovitch and CrowdStrike are our special forces (and Putin’s worst nightmare)

It’s not enough, he says, to play defense with technology: “Otherwise the adversary will scale up and it becomes a game of numbers, which they will win.” Instead, attribution is crucial: First you need to identify the perpetrator, then you need to discover what motivates the crime, and finally—most important—you need to figure out how to fight back.

Alperovitch and George Kurtz, a former colleague, founded CrowdStrike as a direct response. The cybersecurity industry at the time, Alperovitch says, was “terrified of losing their ability to market products in China.” Their new company would push the idea that hacking was a means, not an end. “We saw that no one’s really focused on the adversary,” Alperovitch told me. “No one’s focusing exclusively on how can we actually identify them, attribute them, deter them from taking this action again.”

CrowdStrike’s tagline encapsulated its philosophy: “You don’t have a malware problem, you have an adversary problem.”

2013 - Offense is the Best Defense – Alperovitch at Australian Security Conference

In this video, among many other things, he discusses how important it is to make The Adversary miserable through deception (for example, tricking them into taking fake docs), sharing misinformation, calling them out by naming them individually and by nation, and taking legal action. He addresses the concern that this is vigilantism by saying there needs to be legal oversight, certification and laws to guide behavior.

Some are concerned that hackers could trick corporations into thinking an innocent person did the dirty deeds and if corporations strike back, innocent bystanders could be harmed.

CrowdStrike’s logo and core offering is called Falcon. Here’s a few lines from Wikipedia on Falcons…

Falcons have exceptional powers of vision; the visual acuity of one species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human.[5] Peregrine falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making them the fastest-moving creatures on Earth. The fastest recorded dive for one is 390 km/h

They understand how critical it is to adapt quickly and innovate to meet the ever-changing and dynamic threats organizations face.

The name CrowdStrike is based on the idea of building a network that strengthens with new information (crowdsourcing data/info) and, of course, striking back at the adversary.

Now back to Scott McClure

While serving in Kurtz’s former role as CTO at Intel/McAfee, McClure too realizes that the industry is ripe for disruption. He flees the company, raises money and creates a computer security company called Cylance. By apparent coincidence Cylance and Crowdstrike set up their HQs 10 minutes apart in Irvine, CA. Crowdstrike will eventually move to Silicon Valley.

Both companies, Cylance and CrowdStrike grow quickly making each one extremely wealthy as they eat legacy vendors’ lunch. But the bitterness between them grows.

McClure claims he needed to form his own company because he became determined to live his life with integrity – something he says Kurtz lacks. He insists that HE is the true brains behind their original company, Foundstone and that Kurtz didn’t write anything meaningful in their book, “Hacking Exposed.” He says Kurtz is an egregious self-promoter who grossly exaggerates his own narrative and steals credit for the accomplishments of others. (

Kurtz claims McClure is just bitter because he tried to join CrowdStrike but asked for too much equity and was rejected. Their feud was detailed in a 2016 Forbes article,

Dueling Unicorns: CrowdStrike vs. Cylance In Brutal Battle to Knock Hackers Out

Both companies grow like wildfire and go to war for new clients undoubtedly going up against each other on pitch after pitch for new business.

But get a load of this…

McClure wants to take his company public but is thwarted by his own board who vote to sell the company to BlackBerry. Yes, that BlackBerry, which now claims that its mission is to “become the world’s largest and most trusted AI Cybersecurity company.” The deal is for $1.4B.

But just months after the deal closes McClure leaves the company last September along with seven other key executives from Cylance, which suggests the acquisition was mishandled. Surely the acquirer wants the top execs to stay longer to help w the transition. BlackBerry’s CEO admits so on the CC after the sale.

One can only imagine the rage in McClure’s heart at seeing Kurtz leading CrowdStrike to a 10B valuation, being featured in media left and right, including Cramer all but tickling little darling Georgie under the chin on Mad Money. And I have to think when Kurtz claims on the recent call that he’s never seen a better competitive environment, he must, at least in part, be talking about the fact that his arch enemy has been swallowed up by a company without the same DNA and raw sense of purpose that McClure/Cylance had.

Now back to Dmitri Alperovitch …

Last month, Alperovitch left CrowdStrike to focus his efforts on “cybersecurity in a geopolitical context.” This is almost certainly so that he can do the work he feels must be done to re-set the laws and put in place procedures for business to strike back without causing undue harm and without creating a true Wild West.

Alperovitch is replaced by Michael Sentonas.

Here’s what we learn about Sentonas according to a CrowdStrike Press Release…


With over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, Sentonas is a seasoned leader who in his previous role at CrowdStrike was responsible for developing and executing CrowdStrike’s overall technology strategy. In this global role, he directly contributed to formulating key priorities, the technology roadmap, and delivery objectives that have positioned CrowdStrike Falcon® as the world’s leading endpoint protection platform for customers worldwide. Prior to joining CrowdStrike, Sentonas served as chief technology and strategy officer, Security Connected at Intel Security. Previously, he was vice president and chief technology officer at Intel Security for Asia Pacific.
“At CrowdStrike, we have a deep bench of technology talent and we are pleased to appoint Mike to his new role as chief technology officer. During his tenure at CrowdStrike, he has demonstrated leadership and a vision for building out CrowdStrike’s technology that uniquely meets the needs of organizations worldwide looking for reliable cybersecurity solutions that stop breaches,” said George Kurtz, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief executive officer. "Mike’s deep industry knowledge and strong performance as a leader across multiple strategic functions within CrowdStrike position him well for success in his new role, which will include close collaboration with our engineering and products organization that is led by Amol Kulkarni, chief product officer.”

So, that’s a decent overview of some of the main characters in the CrowdStrike story.

Summing Up and Wild Card Observations, Links and Additional Info

This post was designed to help humanize the key players - it’s the people who drive the numbers. And to help shape the overall story.

For all the reasons noted above combined with the massive size of the market, the urgency and critical nature of security, this seems like a company that may yet become one of, if not the, leaders in a large field. I don’t have the technical chops to analyze their offering, but according to Gartner, Google, industry events and publications combined with obvious adoration from the financial media, it looks like the future is bright.

Yes, there’s a lot of competition (at least 50 other companies). Yes, there’s a lot of money pouring into the industry (5B poured into new ventures in 2018). But it’s highly likely the industry will see massive consolidation over the years as the winners are determined.

It sure looks like CrowdStrike will be one of them – the company is well known, rising quickly has backing from Google, partnership with AWS, its experts regular appear as guest speakers in media and industry events and its gotten a massive head start in cloud-based security. Kurtz is now so well respected he joined the Board of Directors of Hewlett-Packard.

About the supercool nature of the work they do, here’s a fascinating excerpt from an article…

In Good Company: CrowdStrike’s George Kurtz is in a race against hackers.

I asked him to describe a typical hacking encounter and he talks about tackling a Chinese attempt to infiltrate a client’s intellectual property. CrowdStrike was protecting the client’s corporate network but not the customer network. The latter came under continuous attack, and the hackers sought to penetrate the corporate using the customer network route.

“We could track their every move. Initially, they didn’t realise we were there but they figured it out. It was like a bank robbery, with a very small window of opportunity,” says Mr Kurtz.
“Once they got in, it was like a shift change, and they quickly called the boss in. Suddenly, it was like Liberace playing the piano. You can tell when someone knows his way around a computer.”
Hackers typically work to a pattern - “same getaway car, same gun, just a little change of approach here and there. But sometimes you sit back and say ‘Wow, that was really innovative’”.
Mr Kurtz calculates that some 30 nations today have “offensive capabilities” in cyber warfare. China leads the field, and many of its “sleeper” cells lie dormant for years, and become company insiders before they are activated.

Additional Key Players

The leadership team is geographically diverse with members from Asia, Europe, North America and beyond. They possess a wealth of industry experience and hail from top firms, universities and government agencies. On the most recent CC Kurtz says 70% of the company is remote and connects on Zoom.


Here’s two articles about the culture at CrowdStrike

About the CrowdStrike Culture

This company figured out how to make working from home happy and productive for everyone

Great Place to Work gives them a rating of 96% which towers over the avg of 59%

About the CrowdStrike, the Company

On the home page there is a little video with animations explaining how the company’s Falcon platform works.


Tagline has been shortened to the simple, laser-focused: “Breaches stop here.”

CrowdStrike’s Story

The CrowdStrike Vision

Note the quality of the video, editing, animations, graphics, and the setting behind Kurtz when he’s speaking.

But above all, note how cleanly he tells the story of what they do, why they founded the company, why their offering is superior. This is some elite-level communication. Kurtz is a very polished media personality. He’s even got the mannerism of raising and lowering his voice to punctuate key thoughts. And he lays out his points in grand, dramatic and simple-to-grasp-quickly analogies…

“We are the fourth pillar of this cloud revolution, defining what we call the ‘Security Cloud.” He compares CRWD to Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workday. But for security.

Interviews with George Kurtz

On Fox Business (2015)
Google Capital Partner discusses why they invested in CRWD after an extensive review of the security industry. Google exec lists three specific aspects of CRWD that convinced him to invest in the company, his words – 1) focus on being able to pool learnings from all different customers and get better as it scales. 2) Strategic and differentiated capability in threat remediation. 3) Management team is unique, differentiated.

On CNBC day of the IPO (8:27)

On Mad Money talking about competition/growth (Sep 2019)

On Mad Money (Mar 2020)

Notice how consistently he tells the story and how well he articulates the value proposition, articulates the company’s strength, vision and plans.

Also, of note, in the Fox Business interviewer, Liz Claman says “You wrote the bestelling security book ever.” Not to nitpick, but he co-wrote it. I kind of like how he smiles and accepts the narrative-enhancing description without correcting her. My first take on Kurtz was that he created Foundstone (he had four partners), he wrote the bible of hacking (he had two co-authors) and that he founded CrowdStrike. Alperovitch was instrumental – to put it mildly.

A quote that stood out was when asked by Cramer about ZScaler seeing installations taking longer and they’re having a hard time getting new business, Kurtz said CRWD not seeing that - just the opposite, closing one big deal in a single day. Obviously, a company hit by a breach must be putting major urgency on getting Falcon set up ASAP.

In George we Trust? Probably.

I was concerned by the allegations against Kurtz’s integrity. It seems to me that as a race car driver and Internet security leader, Kurtz realizes how essential speed is – but it feels fair to say the man cuts corners and is unafraid to make enemies or break eggs to make the omelet to mix metaphors.

Any concerns I have had about Kurtz are alleviated by the fact that the company is very highly rated in terms of being a great place to work. It is highly likely that he has learned from past mistakes and built a rock-solid culture this time around. The performance is just too good to think otherwise.

A life lesson. It seems to me that his former best friend, McClure is both a nicer guy and a sore loser. He was best friends with Kurtz then after 14 years suddenly decides he will live his life with integrity - when it suits his needs as CEO of rival company? He claims he let Kurtz take title of CEO of Foundstone because he’s just a nice guy and Kurtz wanted that title badly. This is purely my opinion, but I believe that the best people are willing to do some evil, maybe 10%, to get the job done. Here’s why: When you are a leader, in a true position of power, you simply have to make awful choices between the lesser of two evils. And holier-than-thou judgmental types don’t get this. For example, I have a buddy who is a big tough I-talian guy from the South Side of Chicago. He is a very successful CEO. One time he was negotiating a sale of his company. BY LAW he could not talk about the deal until it was complete. But one day two execs came in and demanded he tell the truth – was he trying to sell the company? His choice? Lie or wreck a deal and risk legal action? Terrible choice. Without hesitation he LIED. Even though lying is a biblical sin! Bottom line? Kurtz IPO’d his company and is a rising star in business. McClure is a fantastic success but lost his company. I suspect - again PURE speculation. But I suspect that McClure really may be a nicer guy. And that’s why he lost this war. Can’t imagine this chance of a lifetime coming for him again at this point. You only get to build one Cylance, which like CrowdStrike, is the right company for the right leader at the perfect time.

The $64,000 Question: How did Dmitri go out?

If anyone has hard info on this please share. I could find none.

By far my biggest concern is the departure of Dmitri Alperovitch – he seems irreplaceable but hopefully he has left a team in place, led by his former “right hand man” as one article called Sentonas. My gut was tweaked a bit by the fact that Alperovitch refers to the company as “the company I created" without mentioning Kurtz. I could find no hard evidence the departure means bad blood – and it’s possible that what Alperovitch is advocating with his new “geopolitical policy accelerator” gig for things that will be essential to CrowdStrike. But both Alperovitch and Kurtz expressed very little bro-hood in the departure. And very little reassurance was given considering how important and respected Alperovitch is to the company. Will he be an advisor? Trusted Confidante and friend?

Or is he totally gone? I could find no info on this. And I think it’s borderline malfeasance for Cramer to have had Kurtz on Mad Money and not make this a major focus of the interview. Alperovitch worked closely with Kurtz for years. Does he feel Kurtz takes too much credit? In a Linked In post about leaving the company, Alperovitch doesn’t mention Kurtz. This feels odd to me. In fact, he wrote on Linked In…

“I have left CrowdStrike to launch a non-partisan, non-profit policy accelerator. Since founding CrowdStrike and during my tenure, I helped transform the cybersecurity industry and want to apply the same ingenuity and a venture approach to galvanize solutions to pressing cybersecurity national security and foreign policy challenges. Congrats to Michael Sentonas on his new role at CrowdStrike, I am confident he’ll do great things.”

Really? If Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid started a company and Butch left it would seem odd to me to use “I” and not “we” and to entirely leave out Kurtz from the message. Could be the most innocent oversight in the world. Could be that this space is full of tough guys who don’t get all mushy. But it raises an eyebrow, considering Alperovitch’s status and critical importance in the development of Falcon, which is the entire life force of CrowdStrike.

A site called Allied Market Research puts the 2025 market size for cybersecurity at around 260B. And they note…


Growing demand for cloud-based cyber security solutions is also one of the major factors fueling the market growth. However, constant need to conform to cyber security industry standards, regulations, and complexities of device security are some of the major factors hampering the market growth. Furthermore, cyber security activities are now being prioritized and aligned to strategic business activities to minimize the damage of IT resources, which provides the major opportunity for the market growth. Also, increase in need for strong authentication techniques is also expected to provide lucrative opportunities for the market.

This datanyze page has CrowdStrike market share at 0.80% - I may be getting tired and bungling but I don’t see the date on this. That said, it seems fair to say that this explains the hyper growth. You have CrowdStrike Pac-Man gobbling up clients from legacy vendors.


In 2018 there was roughly 5B invested in cyber security

In October of 2018 rumors were running wild Facebook would acquire a major security company after Cambridge Analytica debacle.

CrowdStrike must be a very, very, very attractive acquisition target for countless big names in consulting, security and e-commerce. This would, of course, be horrible for LTBH investors hoping for a 10-25-bagger.

Here’s Alperovitch talking about working with AWS

So CrowdStrike is good enough to win investment from Google and to partner with Amazon. Not possible to get better endorsements.

“We collect over 100,000,000,000 events every single day.” He says they process a year’s worth of Twitter in two days. Massive data analysis. And says how easily companies can scale their Cloud security with CrowdStrike. Talks about how the perception early on was that the cloud is less secure, but here Alperovitch makes clear this is totally wrong. It’s much more secure.

The political brouhaha with CrowdStrike was a major net positive because while it provoked many conspiracy theories it massively raised awareness of the company. I find Alperovitch’s insistence that he caught Russian state actors attacking the DNC entirely credible. Do not respond to this on the board as I’m dancing on the fault line of talking politics here. I bring it up solely in relation to the integrity of CrowdStrike. I find Alperovitch to be utterly convincing as a man of honor fighting the good fight. He takes heavy, and I mean heavy, fire online for working with the DNC and calling out Russia.

Of note, CrowdStrike does NOT expect to do any business in China. Kurtz makes clear he considers China and Russia to be the most egregious adversaries, particularly when it comes to stealing trade secrets from corporations and militaries around the world. So he does not expect any business from companies or government agencies within these countries.

Since the incidents that generate big news in this space are so emotionally intense, and since Kurtz is so clearly a respected commentator they now trot out with each incident, the company is bound to generate massive name recognition and good will. In marketing/influence, the reason companies/news is always trying to frighten us is that when we are in a heightened state our ability to recall skyrockets. For example, a close friend once was robbed at gunpoint while sitting in her car. She recalls every single minute detail about the moment which seemed to take place in slow motion. It was 40 years ago. Longwinded way of saying, when CEOs panicking and fearing they could be next victim, and see old white knight, or well, red knight, George appear to offer help, there’s some extra emotion in their response to him, which is likely to help.

The stock definitely carries higher risk factor in that one big breach could profoundly shtup their reputation. But maybe after it they can claim to have learned from it? And breach doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone else could have stopped it either. I believe they offer a one-million-dollar payment to corporations if they are severely breached as part of their marketing. I do not know if they can carry debacle insurance. I think it’s in the 10-K but I’m running out of gas…

Anyway, if you made this far, thanks a lot for taking the time to read this.

And I sincerely hope that you enjoyed getting some old school storytelling in your stock analysis.

Thank you yet again Motley Fool for building this community and Saul for taking it to the next level. And thank you to all the great contributors - Bear, Muji, Gaucho, Tinker, Phoolio, and so many others I have shamefully failed to mention.

On a personal note, I quit the best job I’ll ever have to write a book - which I’m proud to say is getting rave reviews so far by Publisher’s Weekly and on GoodReads. Forgive shameless self promotion but I figure I earned a little with this post. And I feel the value of well-crafted stories is becoming much clearer to economists, investors and businesspeople alike. So this may have real value for us all here as well. It arrives in stores July 24, 2020. This board was invaluable in helping me manage the stress of writing because the Cloud/SaaS titans helped fill the hole caused by my lost income.

27 Essential Principles of Story.

Anyway, stay safe and healthy all, and be extra kind, generous and heroic if you can. Essentially, all stories are basically this: big stuff happened then we found out who everyone truly is. Or as Buffett puts it, when the tide goes out we find out who’s been swimming naked.

Much Love!

Your Loyal and Devout Fool,

Broadway Dan


Excellent stuff Dan! This should be read over and over for anyone invested in Crowdstrike.
Thanks. Will definitely check out the book.


Wow… just wow… excellent writeup… can’t thank you enough.

Dan, while this board is a great media in itself, you should (if you don’t already plan to)… share this write up on other medium as well… you have put in a lot of work to not leverage.

Your write boosts my already high confidence in CRWD…
and also validates and keeps alive one little suspicion of it being too good to be true (with all his friends fall out with him eventually!)… ofcourse its non-uncommon among highly successful people to see their inner circle changing and evolving all the times.

Thanks again.


Bravo, Dan. Thanks for this in-depth look at the company founders, esp important after CTO left, seemingly to tread the political landscape more directly in the ongoing battle against our nation’s incredibly active adversaries (in particular China and Russia). He has proven himself over his career, and it looks like he wants to start getting the legal and political arenas of the USofA aligned in this fight.

I normally keep thanks in the private email, but this deserves a public shoutout as it is must read for any CRWD owners. It’s going in the permanent notes.

CRWD is not one to miss free publicity, and I think it is making good moves in this ‘work remote’ situation foisted upon workers. It’s a very real concern - security is more important in times of change, as adversaries don’t take vacations and are ready to exploit the high level of concern (phishing attempts) and change in networking layout (a lot of workers quickly shifting to remotely accessing company services right now).

If you haven’t seen it, see their COVID-19 Resource Hub: https://www.crowdstrike.com/covid19-cybersecurity/

In particular, the message from the CEO is a good read: https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/george-kurtz-addresses-coro…

“The widespread health and economic impact of the coronavirus has not deterred cyber adversaries. In fact, quite the opposite is occurring. In times of crisis, adversaries often try to exploit the situation, prey on the public’s fear and escalate attacks. I know it is difficult to imagine, but we have already seen nation-state adversaries and e-criminals launch phishing campaigns using the coronavirus as bait. We expect this to escalate and we are actually tracking the spread of these malicious campaigns as they follow the same patterns as the infection itself.”

They are offering 2 free services during this pandemic given the huge ramp up of remote workers. https://go.crowdstrike.com/WF-Request-Info-Remote-Workers.ht… This includes allowing customers to surge the numbers of protected endpoints for a limited time, as well as allowing Falcon to be installed of home systems and personal devices.

So this seems very akin to what Zoom is allowing – free usage in critical areas as enterprises are straining. This allows them to leverage their platform to help solve these very pressing needs. It WILL cost Crowdstrike in capacity/infrastructure costs, but sets a great precedent and generates a lot of good will for the brand and platform.

CRWD is up +49% in 5d. Quite a rebound after the stellar(!!!) earnings. (I guess my ! is still working after all. Good, I’ll likely need it on the next earnings report.)

long CRWD



Wow! Unbelievable write-up! I had lots of confidence in CRWD before, but you’ve definitely solidified that confidence! I’ve always leaned more towards the personality side of investing vs. raw numbers and data. I like to know who is running the business, hence my focus on companies like NFLX, AMZN, AAPL, ATVI, AYX, ZM, and several others with very strong colorful leaders.

Your write-up is exactly the kind of detailed research I love!

I honestly can’t thank you enough! I’d gladly give you a 1000 recs if I could. But instead, I’ll give you just the one, and then go buy your book :slight_smile:

Thanks again!