Episode 120 - Bishops, Black Belts, and Business with Jeff Cook
In this featured episode of Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Jeff Cook, Co-Founder, and CFO of ByteChek. Jeff has over 10 years of experience in both accounting and auditing and has set out a mission to “make compliance suck less”
Jeff began his career at accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. In 2002, the firm surrendered it’s license to practice as a CPA which forced Jeff to consider working at other firms. This surprise turned out to be a blessing as it made him transition from New York to Washington DC. After his transition, Jeff worked in public accounting and auditing for 12 years and began starting IT auditing practices and SOC practices at large accounting firms.
While working at a cybersecurity firm, Jeff met his co-founder AJ Yawn. The two worked on numerous SOC engagements together - which gave them the confidence to scale their ideas and efforts to make compliance suck less. Despite 2020 being the beginning of a global pandemic, the two decided to persevere and form their company ByteChek.
As the episode progresses, Jeff describes his partnership with AJ as dynamic and fluid. Jeff brings to the table a deep understanding of accounting and auditing challenges and solutions. Jeff admires AJ’s ability to be a leader and rally the troops to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction. Besides complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, Jeff and AJ are also great friends and check-in together to help each other grow personally outside of work.
Jeff describes his superpower as his ability to work under pressure. When there’s deadlines and a surplus of work, Jeff leans on his experience as an accountant. While working as an accountant, each year in January through April (tax season) Jeff had to practice his discipline of working under pressure with clear deadlines from his clients and the government. Additionally, Jeff has spent years practicing martial arts, and describes it as a great technique to use to clear his mind in all situations.
0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio
1:41 - This episode features Jeff Cook, Co-Founder, and CFO of ByteChek
2:26 - Jeff’s background and start in accounting and auditing
5:08 - Thriving in business as a founder during a global pandemic
8:31 - Jeff’s superpower and where it began
11:16 - How to overcome your kryptonite and core emotional challenge
13:58 - How martial arts has helped Jeff as a practitioner
17:48 - Parallels between cybersecurity, chess, and martial arts
21:21 - Getting comfortable with discomfort
28:14 - Wisdom from Jeff for leveling up as a entrepreneur and practitioner
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