What I've Learnt: Jonny Pelter, Founder of SimpleCyberLife.com

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Jonny Pelter is a cybersecurity and internet safety expert, and the founder of internet safety membership site SimpleCyberLife.com, which aims to empower families to become more educated digital citizens.

With a decade of experience in cybersecurity behind him - having worked with Shell, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG and more - Jonny founded SimpleCyberLife, which provides video tutorials, instructions, a discussion forum and personal coaching to give parents the ability to protect their families online.

SimpleCyberLife is based around the fact that current internet advice is only designed to scare people, not properly educate them. They've made their advice for online safety simple, educational and practical.

We heard from Jonny about the things his interesting career's taught him.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Rising early - getting up at 5am really does kick start your day. It’s not something I could start doing easily but over time I set my alarm earlier and earlier and now I wake up naturally at this time. It means I can get a good three to four hours' work in before most people are even at their desks.

What's been your luckiest break?

Getting onto the BBC News Business Briefing TV show a few weeks back.

What's your best failure?

Launching SimpleCyberLife.com - I failed in many ways because there were so many unforeseen technical issues that lead to the platform being down for a lot of the time. However, we learnt so much through that (awful!) experience and gained some perspective as a result too. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

Recruiting an exceptional PR expert. She has raised the profile of the new brand to a level I never thought it would reach.

How would you describe your work/life balance?

I don’t believe in a balance, for two reasons;

  1. There are some points in your life when you need to ‘work’ hard. During these times you’ll be starting early and ending late.
  2. I think it’s so incredibly important to love your work and when you do, there is no ‘work’ - it’s your passion. There no longer becomes this notion of work vs. life. 

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

'The 4-Hour Work Week' by Timothy Ferris. An incredibly powerful book. I read it in a few days; a few days later I had handed in my resignation and I never looked back. I owe a lot to Tim, even though he would never know!

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Never get too comfortable. Build resilience. Hold yourself to account.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My dad - he was a hard worker. Commuting two to three hours every day into London for three decades; still managing to be a great father, and finding time to single-handedly build an incredible family home. He did all this whilst building one of the most successful project management companies in the UK.

What does success look like to you?

I don’t love the term ‘success’. It suggests trying to avoid ‘failure’ and therefore encourages us not to take risks. It’s been said to death, but it is so very important to fail. It’s when you learn the most, become grounded, and learn humility. It sounds cheesy, but if I had to define ‘success’ it would be being content in yourself and building a life that you’re proud of.