Why IT Security Is Like A Rotten Tomato

If you sit down and ask six software vendors which vegetable their product category most resembles and why, the answers can be surprisingly informative. Who thinks security is a rotten tomato, and who compared systems management to a coconut?

Tomato picture from Shutterstock

I grant you the question sounds slightly ridiculous, but it does serve as a useful life hack which I used when I was meeting with a stack of software companies during the Kickstart media technology forum in Queensland earlier this week. The purpose is twofold. Firstly, as a completely unexpected question, it helps to break the ice. Secondly, it forces companies to adopt a different approach and not just regurgitate their pre-prepared comments.

So what was I told? These are the responses I got from three security companies:

Sven Radavics, APAC General Manager, Imation Mobile Security: "It'd be a rotten tomato because in general terms until you put a layer of protection around it is just soft and vulnerable and mushy."

Scott McKinnel, Managing Director ANZ, Check Point: "It's a mushroom. It just pops up and there's a lot of horseshit associated with it."

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor, AVG Technologies: "An onion, because its has many layers."

And this is what I heard from three systems management providers, all of whom chose a fruit rather than a vegetable for reasons I can't fully explain:

Ian Hodge, ANZ Managing Director, Dell Software: "It's a pomegranate; there's so many parts of it and a lot of seeds that can get in the way. And like a pomegranate, systems management is handy in a salad."

Dermot McCann, MD Asia Pacific, Kaseya: "Systems management needs to be an orange. If you only get one layer of skin, it's useless. If you take a slice, it might have a seed in it. You need all the components."

Suhas Kelkar, APAC CTO, BMC: "It's a coconut, because every piece of a coconut is useful."

Alternative vegetable nominations are welcome in the comments.


    Well, a tomato is a fruit too.

    Agree, though, fun and imaginative way to break the ice.

    Last edited 20/02/13 6:21 pm

    Knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad.

      Challenge accepted!

    As someone who was on the end of Angus' very pointy questions at Kickstart, I confirm that it was an awesome ice-breaker!

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