What was your first job?
My dad was friends with someone at the Daily Express, which had an annual summer promotion where Rupert the Bear would appear at UK holiday destinations, running a prize quiz for children. I was that Rupert the Bear! A highlight of the tour was Pontins in Somerset, where I appeared alongside Coronation Street’s Albert Tatlock and snooker’s Ray Reardon. I was very well paid for a schoolboy and was eventually allowed to bring a friend along to carry my prize bag.
What sport should be in the Olympics?
Running of the bulls, Pamplona-style. I’ve been there. I had no idea that watching hundreds of people being chased by bulls the size of Audi Q7s could be so much fun.
What is your favourite joke?
Two checkout girls are chatting at the tills. One says: “Isn’t it funny how you can tell who is single just by looking at their shopping?” With that, a man walks up and puts a mushroom, a tomato and a tin of beans on the conveyor belt. The girl says: “You’re single.” The man says: “How do you know that?” She replies: “Because you’re a right ugly b**tard.” From Bernard Manning, circa 1975.
Should Prince William shave his head?
Yes, because my hairline is receding and I have my head shaved. It would do a lot for bald men everywhere.
Oranges or bananas?
Bananas - I am training for the 2012 London Marathon and they are a staple.
What is the best holiday you have ever had?
I spent about three years travelling and working my way around the world aged 18. I went through EMEA, Australasia and the US. I was a kitchen hand in a seafood restaurant, farm labourer, gardener, door-to-door salesman, waiter, barman, office temp, dairy worker and fish farm worker. Never before, or since, have I been more free and met such great people.
Print or online news?
Online. I hate reading old news, and the papers are too full of lifestyle stories and ads.
Is it wrong to tell little white lies?
No. People do it for many reasons: when they don’t want to give a true opinion, or to be polite, or to avoid unnecessary confrontation.
Will the economic recovery continue?
No. I think we are facing a slow-motion crash. We are like a balloon with a slow leak. Interest rates are at 300-year lows with inflation at five per cent, so interest rates should be between seven and eight per cent. It’s only the low interest rates propping us up right now, and they will have to rise at some point - not necessarily a bad thing for tech companies that use tech to cut costs and improve efficiency.
What does the channel most need to learn to succeed and grow?
Sales guys will have to work a lot harder to find compelling reasons for customers to buy. It sounds corny, but the return on investment story will have to be really compelling. Also, invest-ment in marketing will have to be stepped up.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
Winning new names, not just maintaining the base, while investing in dedicated sales people and dedicated marketing.
Where did you get that hat?
I didn’t. I have a very large head, and the last one I had I bought online from a specialist site that makes hats for large heads and I lost it. Nothing off the shelf fits.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down?
I am training for the 2012 London Marathon - nothing is more uplifting than a long run.
What is most important in business?
Focusing on business goals while keeping an eye on the individuals and company culture. Also, not being too removed from customers.
Paul Dobbs is UK channel manager at Intact Software
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