Recently, PRIVATE WiFi’s CEO, Kent Lawson, sat down with Idea Mensch for an interview. Idea Mensch is an online magazine where entrepreneurs speak to other entrepreneurs about how and why they are successful.
Part of that interview is listed below.
Idea Mensch: Where did the idea for PRIVATE WiFi come from?
Kent Lawson: I kept seeing articles appeared publications like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and The New York Times about the security vulnerabilities of WiFi hotspots. But they didn’t offer any solution to the problem. With the increasingly mobile lifestyle, this was going to be a huge need. I looked around and no one seemed to be addressing it in a serious way, so I decided to “unretire” and do it myself.
More information: In 2010, after 12 years of retirement, Kent became interested in Internet privacy and security issues and the vulnerability of wireless communications in WiFi hotspots. He created Private Communications Corporation to protect consumers and corporations from privacy and security breaches on the Internet. PRIVATE WiFi, his first product, protects individuals and business people while using laptops and other mobile devices at public WiFi hotspots.
Idea Mensch: What does your typical day look like?
Kent Lawson: I’m an early riser, so I generally get much of my personal work done before most of my team is online. That allows me to respond quickly to whatever they need from me, so we can all keep things moving quickly. My days are full of meetings with potential partners, our marketing team and our engineers. My wife and I are also very involved in theater, so my evenings are generally spent off-Broadway. Weekends are generally spent catching up on things that I could not get done during the week.
Idea Mensch: What’s one trend that really excites you?
Kent Lawson: I think the fact that people are finally really focusing on security is very exciting. With identity theft rising and NSA surveillance now exposed, people are increasingly becoming aware of the risks out there online. Sadly, they realize we are inherently unsafe.
More information: Using a public wifi hotspot only increases this risk. In a recent press release, the Wi-Fi Alliance, the leading global industry association devoted to WiFi connectivity, noted that 82% of computer users do not use a personal VPN (Virtual Private Network) when accessing a public WiFi hotspot. However, according to a recent survey with the Identity Theft Resource Center, 76% of users believe they need to protect themselves when accessing public WiFi.
Idea Mensch: What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Kent Lawson: Privacy. It is among the most pressing issues we face, both as a society and as individuals.
More information: As Kent detailed in a recent blog post, as a culture we have yet to fully grapple or appreciate the amount of data that is being gathered on us. This data collection has largely happened in secret, without our full knowledge, and there is probably no stopping it at this point. With the rise of the Internet and the ability of companies to track us both online and offline, now huge conglomerates know more about us than we may know about ourselves. Corporations have decided for us that this loss of privacy is a good thing.