What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
As a Master of electrical and electronic engineering, I was all set to work at engineering fuel cells for electric vehicles. But one day, turning on my PC and seeing the Microsoft logo, I thought a foray into software would broaden my horizons and be quite exciting -plus electrical hardware elements were being replaced with code.
I was accepted on the Microsoft graduate programme and then the emerging technologies team, which was a great place to be. This introduced me to the world of datacentres, hosting providers, virtualisation and cloud.
Then I managed to convince them to give me a permanent role as an infrastructure architect evangelist. I argued that my lack of experience was no disadvantage, since it is all emerging technology and nobody can claim to be an expert, which they seemed to accept.
What is the best business trip or junket you have ever been on?
Microsoft once booked out the whole Six Flags roller coaster theme park near Atlanta. There were no queues to worry about, we had beer on tap and were among friends, stopping only for a private concert by Pink.
You cannot beat going to Disney World as a child. I went when I was eight and I can still remember it. I’m still trying to convince my sister to take my two nieces so I have an excuse to go back.
If you had only one week to live, what would you do?
I’m not sure. But the George Best quote always makes me smile and I think about how some choose a very different life. He said: “I spent all my money on women, drugs and alcohol. The rest I wasted.”
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I watched the film Limitless recently, where a drug superpowers your brain - the down side being that it eventually kills you. I would love to have a non-death-inducing, limitless mental ability and see what could really be achieved.
Do you use social media?
While I am a technology fan, I really hate social networking. I just don’t want to know if somebody has had tomato soup for their dinner or that they ‘like’ Take Me Out with Paddy McGuinness.
What was your closest near-death experience?
I was on a little plane flying from Cincinnati to New York years ago, and the remnant of a hurricane had made it up the coast as we were coming in to land. There were probably handprints indented on the armrests after we finally, somehow, touched down.
I was then stranded in JFK airport for 24 hours. Some might say that is even closer to a near-death experience.
What is the one thing you miss about being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
Being able to run everywhere and never feeling tired. I could still do that, but a grown man in a suit running and skipping down the street would look a little disturbing.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
I really enjoy cooking and food so perhaps being a restaurateur would appeal.
James Henigan is IT services and product director at Rise
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