Everyone knows the tech world is ultra-competitive.
Funny thing is, some execs can’t get enough of the thrill of metaphorically kicking rear.
We’ve found 14 tech execs who, in addition to helping their companies beat rivals in the marketplace, also enjoy beating their opponents physically.
They are skilled martial artists.
They wouldn’t say it. but we will: If you challenge them, you’ll probably get a smackdown.
Merks-Benjaminsen works with Google's large advertisers to help them understand the ins and outs of online marketing and how they can use it strategically, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His research in Europe is used in the marketing of Chrome, Android, Google+ and YouTube.
He's a black belt in judo and aikido and has practiced martial arts for the past 20 years, and he's a European Champion and Open German Champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Probably not the kind of guy you want to tell Android fragmentation jokes to.
Brunette is senior director and cybersecurity lead for Oracle's North American Public Sector business, and a well-known figure in IT security circles.
He's in charge of making sure Oracle's hardware and software products don't have security flaws.
Brunette also has some serious martial arts skills. Here's what he lists on his LinkedIn profile:
- USA Taekwondo National Championships (Black Belt Forms) - Gold Medal (2010)
- 3rd Degree Black Belt - Kukki Taekwondo (2013)
- 2nd Degree Black Belt - Ryukyu Kempo (2013)
- 2nd Degree Black Belt - Kukki Taekwondo (2010)
- 1st Degree Black Belt - American Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan (1989)
- Green Belt - Small Circle Jujitsu (2012)
Go ahead, make a joke about Java being full of security holes.
Dewolf has a dual role at Piston Cloud Computing, a hot startup whose co-founder Joshua McKenty helped invent OpenStack, a sort of operating system for cloud computing.
He's in charge of keeping customers happy and Piston's products free of flaws.
He began practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu last year and was immediately hooked. Knowing when you're overmatched is one of the important lessons he's learned from it.
'I tap out regularly, it is a matter of submitting or spending weeks with sore shoulders or other joints,' Dewolf told us.
Learning BJJ has business benefits as well, he says.
'It has become a lot harder to be frustrated with other people when I'm so regularly at the mercy of grips and positioning. I've been able to let go of some of my drive for perfection,' he says.
Rosin leads business development and partnerships for Microsoft's Skype division, a $1 billion unit with 1,300 employees.
He was head of business development at Skype when Microsoft acquired it in 2011 for $8.5 billion.
At Microsoft, he's helped get Skype pre-loaded on 160 million PC's per year and has also formed partnerships with Facebook, carriers and PC and mobile device makers, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Rosin is a black belt in aikido and a certified rescue diver to boot.
If you're thinking of making a wisecrack to him about how Microsoft overpaid fpr Skype, you might want to think twice.
Fuentes is CEO and co-founder of Proven, which makes a mobile app for job hunting.
He's also a mentor helping minorities and female entrepreneurs start their own businesses, and has been invited to speak at the White House about this work, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He's been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu training 4 times a week for the past 2 years. He's currently a blue belt, and won silver medal at a BJJ tournament in Northern California last June.
He told us he does it primarily for the lifestyle benefits. 'I just know I am one of few founders that has gotten in better, not worse, shape while starting a company ,' he says.
We've already profiled Wing as a game-changing enterprise hire.
Turns out that in addition to being a security and privacy expert, Wing is also a fourth-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a type of Korean martial art. She also teaches it.
So, here's some advice if you meet her: Save the jokes about Windows being a playground for hackers.
For the past two years, Kim has been overseeing engineering, design and marketing for an 'advanced personal computing platform' at HP, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He's been at HP since 1998 and has held a bunch of different roles there related to PCs, printers, apps and cloud services. Kim is a black belt in taekwondo and also practices Kenseido, a Japanese martial art that combines elements of karate, kung fu, aikido and jiu-jitsu.
Probably not a good idea to tell him jokes about HP's ill-fated TouchPad tablet.
Sanghi leads the teams that handle Dell's biggest cloud consulting deals for large enterprise customers worldwide, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He's an expert in virtualization tech, which lets a single physical server do the work of multiple ones, and in data centre technologies.
He's a black belt in Shotokan Karate, Goshin Jitsu, Aikido, Kobudo and Arnis, a Filipino martial art.
If you mess with him... dude, you won't be getting a Dell--you'll probably get a smackdown.
Gonzales is a co-leader of Microsoft's Latin America Project Management Office in Miami, which involves managing and leading complex enterprise projects with regional and global scope according to his LinkedIn profile.
He's a black belt in taekwondo and in 2007 won a World Taekwondo gold medal in sparring and patterns.
So, if you think Microsoft doesn't innovate, you probably shouldn't tell him that.
Witt works with Dell's large enterprise customers and is out there talking about the latest hardware and software technologies, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He started practicing jiu-jitsu in 2009 at age 46 and told us he didn't know much about it when he started. 'I had little idea about the sport other than it looked more like a chess game to me rather than a bar brawl,' Witt says.
Doing jiu-jitsu training with much younger classmates has helped Witt quickly get up to speed. 'That was hugely intimidating at first, but then I learned to enjoy the younger energy in the room,' he says.
Grossman is well-known figure in the IT security industry and founded White Hat Security, a firm that helps companies protect their websites from hackers.
He's a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and got into the sport about 7 years ago. He's pictured here giving an opponent an arm bar.
Grossman told us he travels a lot for work and visits BJJ training academies in many of the cities he goes to.
Grossman says he and Chris Hoff, a security VP at Juniper Networks, hold a 'BJJ Smackdown' every year at the RSA and Black Hat security conferences.
'About a dozen of us show up to learn a few moves and then proceed to beat each other up. It's a lot of fun,' Grossman told us.
Farrington is in charge of products at RingLead, a startup whose tech removes and prevent duplicates in Salesforce customer databases
In his spare time, Farrington has been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu training with Robert Drysdale, a professional mixed-martial arts fighter.
Farrington is currently a white belt but is well on his way toward getting his blue belt, he told us. His girlfriend, Karina Taylor, is a professional MMA fighter.
Wilson manages the Cisco business partners that sell and provide services for Cisco's Wi-Fi, data centre and cloud computing products, according to his LinkedIn profile.
This involves project management and keeping lots of different people moving in the same direction. So, you need a lot of self-discipline and organisation for this.
Outside work, Wilson has developed the skills to become a black belt in taekwondo.
If you think Cisco's Wi-Fi-routers aren't that great, probably best to keep that to yourself.
Knapp works for a startup called YesVideo, which takes people's home movies on VHS tapes and DVDs, fixes up the audio, and then stores them on the Internet, where they can live on forever.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Knapp is also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and also does kick-boxing.
He's also co-founder of Kountermove.com, a fantasy mixed martial arts website that's backed by former UFC champion and hall-of-famer Randy Couture.
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