10 Things You Didn’t Know About Michael Xie

Michael Xie isn’t a household name, but he’s quite influential in the tech world. As the Founder, President, and CTO of Fortinet, one of the global leaders in cybersecurity solutions, he has made strong strides in shaping our digital safety landscape. Most of us are familiar with Fortinet, but how much do we actually know about the man leading its innovations and strategies? Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about Michael Xie.

1. He was born in China

Michael Xie was born in China, where he demonstrated an early interest in technology and computer sciences. His passion and curiosity led him to learn more about computers and technology at a time when it wasn’t as prevalent in China as it is today.

This passion would eventually lead him to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, navigating through one of the toughest academic environments in the country.

2. He moved to the US for postgraduate study

After completing his undergraduate degree, Xie moved to the United States to further his studies at the University of Manitoba. He completed his master’s degree in computer science here, a move that transitioned him closer to where he would eventually found Fortinet.

The university’s innovative and entrepreneurial environment played a crucial role in shaping Xie’s perspective, fostering his technological intellect, and facilitating significant networking opportunities.

3. He worked at NetScreen

Before founding Fortinet, Xie sharpened his professional teeth by working at NetScreen, a network security company located in Sunnyvale, California. He was a key part of the engineering team, where his knack for technological innovation was integral in driving the company’s success.

This experience equipped him with the industrial knowledge and professional contacts he needed to take the leap and set up his own company—a leap that would lead to the creation of the globally renowned Fortinet.

4. Michael Xie is a patented inventor

Despite his administrative responsibilities at Fortinet, Xie has remained hands-on in the technical side of the business. This approach has seen him patent several inventions that have shaped Fortinet’s services and products, including the FortiGate security platform.

These patents offer testimony not only to Xie’s innovativeness but also his commitment to actively participating in all business aspects, rather than adopting a completely executive role.

5. He founded Fortinet with his brother

Michael Xie did not embark on the Fortinet journey alone. He co-founded Fortinet in 2000 with his brother, Ken Xie. The two have proven a formidable team, with Ken serving as the company’s CEO and Michael as President and CTO.

Since its founding, Fortinet has grown into a multinational cybersecurity solutions provider, boasting over 600 patents and a robust portfolio of security solutions, much of which is thanks to the Xie brothers’ leadership.

6. He’s a Published Author

Michael Xie is not only a technologist but also an author. He has penned several important text books on network security, including ‘Network Security Technologies and Solutions.’

His work in this area has been praised for its detailed insights and clear explanations, making complex cybersecurity issues accessible to the broader public and beginners in the industry.

7. He is a big promoter of cybersecurity education

Xie is passionate about education and resonance about the need for cybersecurity education. Through Fortinet, he has driven initiatives focused on helping society understand cyber threats and how to mitigate them.

Among such initiatives is the Network Security Academy, introduced by Fortinet, where students can learn about modern network security technologies and pursue a professional career in cybersecurity.

8. He is an award-winning technologist

Throughout his career, Xie has been recognized for his innovative contributions to the tech world. In 2008, he received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year award for Northern California, a clear testament to his prowess and impact in the industry.

Under his leadership, Fortinet has also received numerous awards and recognition, including several ‘best security product’ accolades.

9. He is a family man

Despite his busy schedule, Michael Xie enjoys spending quality time with his family. He has managed to balance his professional commitments with his personal life, carving out family time amidst his hectic work schedule.

Being a family man, he strongly believes in inculcating strong family values. For him, family is a source of inspiration and encouragement.

10. He is an advocate of giving back to the community

Beyond the realm of technology, Michael Xie demonstrates a passion for giving back to the community. Among the various community service projects he’s involved in, he’s particularly passionate about supporting education programs, both within and outside the cybersecurity sphere.

Through various initiatives, he consistently emphasizes the importance of contributing socially and morally to the development of the community, further showing his character’s admirable facets.

Useful Links

Network Security Technologies and Solutions (Book by Michael Xie)
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year award