What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I started work at Lambart Computer Products, selling office and computer consumables. Those were the days when a consumable was a removable disk cartridge that cost more than £1,000.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Automobiles. I used to race cars, so planes and trains, while very useful in my business life, just don’t cut it.
Which sport should be in the Olympics but isn’t?
Formula One. We have the talent in the UK and we have the racetrack to top them all - Brands Hatch GP - plus it’s the most fantastic spectator sport. If it became an Olympic sport, I would offer my driving services to Team GB. Even if they didn’t need me.
In my dreams…
…I’d like to learn to sail, and sail around the world. There’s something magical about the water, and the feeling of freedom it gives you.
What was the best holiday you’ve ever had?
Taking my family to Vasto Marina, Italy in 2008. It was the last holiday we had together before the kids grew up. We spent a week with the van filled up with beach stuff, which fell out every time I opened the door. It was brilliant.
If you had a week to live, how would you fill it?
By making sure we hit target. It would be my epitaph.
…give up. If I had, I wouldn’t be here now.
Do you or have you read Channelweb.co.uk on your mobile?
Of course; mobile devices are the primary business tool. I don’t believe we can sell technology to users if we don’t understand how it can affect us daily. I always check my handheld when I am forced to travel by train, or while relaxing at home catching up with the news on TV. It’s amazing how mobile devices have enabled men to multi-task.
If someone shrank you to the size of a pencil and put you in a blender, how would you get out?
Do you use social media?
I haven’t really got fully into the social media thing, aside from a bit of Facebook and LinkedIn. I do believe in it though, and I think it has a real influence on how businesses develop - although in my line of work nothing can beat picking up the phone and talking to someone directly.
Will the economic recovery continue?
Even with the economy the way it is, our business has grown exponentially, which I think shows the importance of strong leadership in times of economic difficulty. A positive, can-do but realistic attitude does more for a company than worrying about exactly which point we are at in the downturn or upturn cycle.
What does the channel most need to learn to succeed this year?
The channel needs to decide whether it wants to enable or simply fulfil end-customer needs, and vendors need to decide what they want from the channel.
Enablement requires a much larger initial investment, with a longer sales cycle, and we need to see more of that in the channel if we are to properly help customers make smart IT choices.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
Aspirational and charismatic. Firm but fair, and ready to listen. People who can demonstrate those qualities will always inspire loyalty from the members of their team.
What is the most important thing in business?
Relationships and cash. Without either you don’t have a business.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
Lead guitarist in a great rock band: money for nothing and your chicks for free, apparently.
Jason Dance is sales director at Exclusive Networks
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