Career so far I originally wanted to be a tank commander, but luckily the army didn't agree! I studied to be a quantity surveyor which proved too uninspiring, so I got a job with a local estate agency to pay the bills - I sold more houses than any other agent in the company. Then thanks to a drinking buddy, I got a job as a fishmonger. I spent 18 months setting up a supply route to the top hotels and restaurants in the Cotswold-Oxford region. I then met the founder of Zycko in the local pub and started to work in his original brokerage business as his first salesperson, later sales manager. Originally called RBR Networks, we grew from $50m to more than $500m a year, being the largest Cisco distributor in the UK and Germany, and later renamed Comstor. I started at Zycko in 2001 as sales director.
Cloud - friend or foe? More of a lover with the market prediction from Gartner that the cloud services market will be worth £113bn by 2015. Zycko brings optimisation and virtualisation technologies to the market which support the cloud. It's the direction the market is going in and most companies are aligning themselves with the cloud. Take Riverbed's recent acquisition of Zeus, as well as Vyatta and LifeSize launching a software-only play.
Has 2011 been as bad as everyone said it would be? It has been for some. The main hardware-based networking vendors have experienced a huge fall in value, a lot worse than had been expected (for example, Cisco, Juniper, Huawei) and open-source software-based networking solutions are now available; take a look at Vyatta. Over the last three months, significant uncertainty in the market has started to show which does give cause for concern. It is a mixed blessing as Zycko has experienced good growth as businesses are being forced to look at more software-based/disruptive technologies. This is where the Zycko offering excels.
What would you have as your last meal? I would go out in style! To start, I would have a chilled Krug and oysters, followed by a Kobe steak with a fine red wine, perhaps a 1959 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. To finish I'd opt for a mountain of cheese with a drop or two of vintage port and to wash the meal down a glass of the very rare Clos de Griffier Champagne Cognac from 1738. Being my last meal I wouldn't have to worry about the implications for my life insurance policy.
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with? Bruce Willis or some other type of action hero. Not having the time to be stuck in a lift, it would prove useful to be in there with someone who could help me escape.
Have any of your predictions come true this year? Yes, firstly video being the main driver in networking. This has proven to be true with the growth of video content and the emergence of HD video. The acquisition of Skype by Microsoft and the subsequent release of its next-generation Lync server, and the acquisition of Tandberg by Cisco shows how important video has become.
Second, the growth of wireless and mobile devices. There is a need for a solution to handle the huge growth in wireless the market is experiencing due to the increased usage of tablets, Android and iPhones. LifeSize acquired mirial earlier this year and now offers ClearSea, which enables users to seamlessly connect from their mobile devices to video conferencing systems. Businesses need to consider how they support this continued growth.
What do you see as the channel's biggest challenge in 2012? Growth, due to the economy. The cloud is emerging and accelerating. What does that mean to hardware vendors? Replace hardware with software-based solutions? The channel is aligning itself with a new cloud-based environment. There has been an evident acceleration in consolidation/acquisitions. It will be interesting to see who survives.
What is the best part of your day? It has to be a joint first between reading a bedtime book to my six-year-old daughter and discovering the delights of her day at school, and spending time with my wife.
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