What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I went into a now long-gone IT reseller on an eight-week work placement, and the job was installing PCI cards into Compaq 286 PCs. That was 22 years ago, and I suppose I never 'escaped' the industry from then to now.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
It has to be planes, because you normally get to switch off your phone, have a drink or two, and can read a book without motion sickness.
What sport should be in the Olympics but isn't?
It has to be rugby. The proper 15-a-side variety, none of that watered down Sevens stuff that's coming in from 2016.
Which fictional TV character is borrowing ideas from your life?
Maybe it's DCI Tom Barnaby from Midsomer Murders. I have this mad notion of moving out to village life, but keeping active in my work. I'm putting that down to early mid-life crisis.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
What do you call five hedge fund managers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.
What was your best business trip ever?
I always had an interest in horse racing, so getting to go to the Kentucky Derby a few years was a very memorable trip or junket.
What would your superpower be?
Teleportation, like you see in Star Trek. It would really make life less complicated and stress free.
Do you read Channelweb.co.uk on your mobile?
I have recently defected to an Android phone, after been an S60 fan for years, and it is a big one at that. The HTC Desire HD is anything but compact, but brilliant for viewing websites.
Print or online news?
On a Sunday it has to be print, nothing beats reading the papers over breakfast, but for the rest of the week it is online all the way
Do you use social media?
Yes, both business and personal. LinkedIn and TripIT for business, and Twitter for personal ramblings about all kinds of nonsense (@ovalball).
Will the economic recovery continue?
For sure, it will continue. Economic history shows downturns are cyclical, and after a period positivity returns, then growth follows. The industry seems much more positive in 2011.
What does the channel most need to learn this year?
The channel needs to focus more on value added services and building customer and vendor relationships. Firms need to focus less on chasing branded revenue at tiny margins.
Your closest near-death experience?
I am not sure I would have died, but I once reversed over a canal wall in Utrecht, Holland. Balancing on the ledge, like in a cartoon, and having to lean across the car's dashboard to keep away from the tipping point. The Dutch police did NOT exactly see the funny side of it afterwards.
Ray Downes is general manager at Kemp Technologies Europe
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