Andy Yen is the Co-Founder of ProtonMail, an encrypted email company based in Geneva, Switzerland, that seeks to make secure email accessible. Prior to starting ProtonMail, he was a scientist at CERN working on the ATLAS experiment. Together with colleages from CERN, Andy’s goal is to advance internet security and protect online privacy rights by making it possible for everyone to incorporate encryption into their everyday communication.
Andy’s previous research focus was on searches for supersymmetric particles, and he trained as a physicist and economist at Harvard and Caltech. A firm believer in privacy online, he has translated his experience in large scale computing into making ProtonMail is a global leader in providing secure and private email worldwide. Today, ProtonMail provides free email accounts to over 500,000 journalists, activists, businesses and individuals who require privacy in their email communications.
My Definition Of Success | Success is waking up every morning and not wanting to change anything about your life.
I Am Driven By | Knowing that I can bring happiness and benefits to the lives of others through my work.
The Difference Between Good And Great | I think people who are good at what they do are ones who can find solutions to problems. The great ones are the ones who can anticipate problems even before they even occur.
A Key Talent | Being highly efficient has definitely helped a lot by allowing me to accomplish goals faster. The key to efficiency is detailed planning and preparation. Goals and subgoals must be defined, along with timelines and roadmaps so all potential synergies can be explored before work even begins. Planning takes time, but the efficiencies you realise more than compensate so you will end up ahead.
Principles I Live By | That we are ultimately in control of our lives. We are often thrust into situations where it feels like there is nothing we can do. But the truth is there is always something you can do. Even if it is something very small, that small thing can often turn out to be the difference between success and failure.
How I Use My Mind | The human mind is an immensely powerful force. With determination and proper focus, even very ordinary people have been able to achieve the extraordinary and reach their goals. The key is realising that this powerful tool already resides within you. Once you are armed with that knowledge, you realise there is no challenge too difficult to overcome, and you suddenly gain the will to try anything.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Over the years, I have learned that ideas are cheap. Almost everybody has good ideas, and ideas by themselves are worthless. A good idea only contributes 10% to the success of a venture, the other 90% comes from execution. So don’t worry too much about keeping your great idea a secret so it doesn’t get stolen. Instead, focus on great execution.
Performing At My Peak | Set extremely ambitious goals, then challenge yourself to meet them. When there are others dependent on your success, failure is no longer an option.
Advice On Building Wealth | I don’t know of anybody who made it their goal to get rich and then actually got rich. But I do know many people who followed their passion and got rich as a result. And many others who solved an important problem and became wealthy afterwards. You cannot get rich through wanting to be rich, instead, you should strive to create value to society.
On Inspiring Others | You find them by sharing your ideas and giving them the opportunity to believe in your ideas. You keep them by understanding their weaknesses and building an environment where their weaknesses won’t lead to failure and they can focus on their strengths.