What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
On leaving college, I wrote to 20 companies asking for a job in IT. I had two responses. One said no thanks and the other invited me to apply for a role as a mainframe computer operator. From there I went into ops support before becoming a DB2 database administrator.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Planes. I still get excited whenever I board a plane, even when I was doing it weekly. I started working towards acquiring my private pilot’s licence a few years back, but couldn’t spare the time. I will complete it one day.
What sport should be in the Olympics but isn’t?
Mascot racing. A mate is the mascot for Rochdale AFC and reckons himself a bit of an athlete.
Which TV character borrows ideas from you?
David Brent, from The Office. We share the same distaste for political correctness.
What is your favourite joke?
Keira Knightley walks into a pub. The barman says: “Why the long face?”
Or, try this: a true transcript of a conversation in my house recently. My wife asked my daughter what the difference is between a horse and a unicorn.
She replied, “the porn, mummy”. To which my son then added: “We have some of that in the boys’ toilets at school.”
Should Prince William shave his head?
Yes, he is balding anyway.
In my dreams…
... I’d tell Alan Sugar he’s fired unless he shaves off that stupid beard.
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve it?
Having to stay off the beer on New Year’s Eve 1999 on call for IBM. So I didn’t quite party the way Prince told me to.
If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?
This question is fundamentally flawed. Unless Harry Potter was somehow involved.
Would you rather draw the plans, or execute them?
Both. I’m a keen DIYer and suffer from the belief that it’s quicker to do it yourself.
Are little white lies wrong?
I have three kids, so they’re acceptable. Ho ho ho!
Will the economic recovery will continue?
Only at the cost of employees. Although revenue and profits are up, wages aren’t.
What does the channel most need to learn?
Everybody sells everything these days so I’d like to see the personal touch make a reappearance.
Your closest near-death experience?
As a child, riding the Wild Mouse rollercoaster in Littlehampton with my mum. The brakes failed and we hit the car in front. We then proceeded to roll backwards towards the chain that carries you to the top, stopped only by the operator climbing up to push us forward. Scary.
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
I don’t like the fact that I can’t let my kids out in the morning and not be worried if they don’t turn up till tea time. And whatever happened to building go-karts from old bicycle parts?
Do you choose soaps or body washes by their colour or their scent?
For the gym, I choose the shower gel nearest the front of my son’s shelf regardless of colour or scent.
Where did you get that hat?
Wiggle or Evans. I’m a cycling fanatic.
What would be your next career choice?
Medicine. I did sciences but Dad persuaded me to study business and economics instead.
What is most important in business?
If customers don’t need it, they won’t buy it.
Paul Down is director for EMEA at SpectorSoft
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