What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job after university was selling security systems in Dublin. I got into IT only after I came to the UK in 1987. I had my first interview on the day I arrived, I was offered the job the next day and accepted.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Trains. I can get away from that guy hogging the middle lane. Oops - that’s me!
What sport should be in the Olympics but isn’t?
Hurling. Ireland could win gold.
What could prompt you to give it all up and join the revolution?
Winning the lottery. I could then afford the luxury.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
Jack and his ever-nagging wife were on holiday in Jerusalem when his wife died suddenly. The undertaker said it would cost $5,000 to ship her body home. Alternatively, he could have her buried in the Holy Land for $50.
Jack’s response was unequivocal: “Ship her home,” he told the undertaker. “A man called Jesus was buried here and three days later he rose from the dead.”
Should Prince William shave his head?
Yes. His helmet would fit better.
In my dreams…
…I married Grace Kelly.
What do you say to those who claim the world will end on 21 December 2012, as per the Mayan calendar?
Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.
What would your superpower be?
The one belonging to Captain Caveman - he had so much hair.
Where did you get that hat?
I don’t like wearing hats. I can’t keep anything on my head, it would seem.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
Draw them up. I like to delegate but can find it difficult not to get involved in the execution. It’s a weakness, I know.
Is it wrong to tell little white lies?
Lying is wrong.
Will the economic recovery continue?
Yes, of course it will, although the cycle of boom and bust will never be eradicated. Demand will pick up as confidence grows because life goes on, business continues, production continues and the search for the competitive edge never stops. This in turn drives innovation.
Can politicians ever be trusted on IT?
No. They don’t have a long-term view.
Your closest near-death experience?
I haven’t got that close yet and don’t plan to.
Which is more important: colour or flavour?
Flavour. I didn’t get this body by sucking on colours!
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
The ability to say “yes, Phelim”.
What is the most important thing in business?
Honesty and diligence. The search for someone to blame when things go wrong is so corrosive. When you make a mistake, own up, and start the correction process as early as possible. It’s much less costly. With regard to diligence, all I would say is get the little things right and by and large your plan will succeed.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
I wanted to join the army when I left university but a rugby injury meant that I failed the medical. If I had it all to do again, I would give that game a miss. “Join the army, see the world!” Do you realise how exciting that sounded to someone who grew up in Ireland in the 1970s?
Phelim Scallon is UK sales manager at Arkivum
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