Splunk, the cybersecurity software company co-founded by Michael Baum, has been acquired by Cisco for $28 billion. Baum’s journey in the tech industry began when Steve Jobs visited Drexel University in 1983, where he was studying electrical engineering. Jobs convinced Drexel to provide students with Apple’s newly launched Macintosh computers, leading to the university’s pioneering adoption of the Mac for educational purposes.
Baum was captivated by the Macintosh and switched his major to computer science, describing it as “love at first byte.” After graduating in 1985, he founded his first startup, Reality Online, which focused on predicting stock market performance. He sold the company to Reuters in 1987 and later earned an MBA from the Wharton School.
Baum established himself as a serial entrepreneur, founding and selling multiple software businesses before co-founding Splunk in 2003 with Rob Das and Erik Swan. Splunk, headquartered in San Francisco, specializes in helping companies monitor and analyze large volumes of data, including developing cybersecurity tools that utilize artificial intelligence to detect potential threats.
Baum served as Splunk’s CEO until his retirement in 2009. The company went public in 2012 with a valuation of approximately $1.6 billion, and Baum was the largest individual shareholder at the time. Since his retirement, Baum has become a vintner, owning and operating the Château de Pommard winery in France’s Burgundy region.
His enduring “inquisitive nature” continues to drive him, providing him with purpose, joy, and excitement in his endeavors, according to Baum.
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