What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was as a Saturday boy at a chain of sports shops; I needed to augment my pocket money. Being the offspring of a chemist and an engineer, I kind of fell into technology, had my first computer (a ZX81) when I was eight, and it all stemmed from there.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Planes. I am used to a lot of travelling, although most of my plane trips have been lower than Club Class. However, donning headphones and slinging a hammock in the back of a Hercules transporter for a 16-hour flight beats using easyJet.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
How many pilots does it take to change a light bulb? Just the one: he stands there, holds his hand in the air, and waits for the world to revolve around him.
What was the best business trip or junket you have been on?
Travelling from the Middle East to San Francisco for a nine-hour meeting, there had been a mix-up with my hire car so I was given a convertible Chevrolet instead. While trying to get the roof down to make the most of the California sunshine, I ended up standing on the front seat, pushing at the roof. This clearly wasn’t the way to do it, as a man in a red Avis jacket came running over shouting: “No, sir, there’s a button.”
If you had to choose just one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
I'm not sure if it’s classed as a sport, but I love diving. I have been to some of the most fantastic dive sites around the world, although I have yet to do the Great Barrier Reef. It’s on my list.
Oranges or bananas?
Bananas. They are less messy to eat and much easier to peel.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
I would prefer to be involved in both. I enjoy having my intellect stretched and formulating a plan for something new, or better than it has been done before. However, seeing the plan being put into action, having a successful outcome and being part of that process is even better.
Is it wrong to tell little white lies?
In certain circumstances, they can be a comfort. During my military career I ended up spending time with paramedics as part of my training (don’t ask why). I can’t praise them enough, they are dedicated and professional men and women. But sometimes a little white lie told to a casualty in pain and a state of shock - possibly about the condition of those injured around them - can and does actually help.
Your closest near-death experience?
I have 38 titanium screws holding my neck together from cervical vertebra number two to cervical vertebra number five. It’s difficult to explain why this is the case, but I broke my neck and didn’t notice, and neither did the medics, for that matter! Anyway, it needed taking apart, breaking again and putting back together. The operation was a success, but if anything had gone wrong, I wouldn’t be here today.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
If I draw from my previous career as a military officer, there is one characteristic that stands out above all others: your first and foremost consideration is your staff. If you look after them and gain their respect, they will do a better job. If they do a better job, so will you. Unfortunately, this ethos was disappearing towards the end of my time in the military; there were far too many individuals whose only concern was their own career. Fortunately, I was not one of them.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
Diving instructor. Diving has always been one of my passions. The idea of getting paid to do it is quite appealing. It would, however, have to be somewhere the sun always shines and the water is warm.
John Green is chief technology officer at Prolinx
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