What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I was living in Cambridge and wrote to the top 10 companies I thought I’d like to work for. I ended up getting a job as a PR executive at Cambridge Cable. I spent a lot of my time dealing with the consequences of dead trees and damaged footpaths when we were rolling out the network.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Definitely automobiles. My partner and I own a classic-car rental business, and we have everything from an Aston Martin to a classic Mini.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
None that can be printed here. I have a very good friend who keeps me supplied with inappropriate but highly amusing topical jokes.
In my dreams…
I would live in the Austrian mountains. I’d cycle and run in the sunshine all summer, and ski in the sunshine all winter. Heaven.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever experienced?
My previous employer sponsored Team GB 2004-2006, and I was at the closing ceremonies of the Athens and Turin Games. It was an amazing experience and I was really disappointed not to get any London 2012 tickets.
If you had to choose one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
Definitely sport. Running gives you great thinking time and is a good way to solve any problem, providing you with a buzz into the bargain. I’m not very good at doing nothing.
Oranges or bananas?
Bananas, because they are much easier to eat while running.
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
Convincing people who don’t know what they don’t know is tough. You need to be patient and persistent, try to put yourself in their shoes, and win over the people they go to for advice. It’s called “surround and smother”.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
I hope so. I have every copy of What Car? going back to March 1973 and hope they will be worth something one day. There is always a random copy beside my bed.
Would you rather draw up the plans or carry them out?
Definitely both. A great strategy is pretty pointless if it is not executed well. Also, where’s the fun if you don’t get to bring your own ideas to life?
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2013?
Mobilisation of the cloud, or using cloud apps on the go.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)?
Having children, launching Sky Broadband, and I hope the third will be running the 2013 London Marathon. You can sponsor me at www.justgiving.com/chrisstening.
What is the best way to get UK plc growing again?
Less red tape, simpler regulation, lower taxes and smaller government. We have completely the opposite at the moment and it clearly doesn’t work.
Your closest near-death experience?
Scaring myself witless on my motorbike on the A11. I sold it soon after.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education?
On-the-job training for IT. Anything learned is out of date within 12 months, and you learn much more by experimenting and making mistakes.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down?
Running again - or counting my blessings. If all else fails: chocolate!
Chris Stening is managing director of O2 Wholesale
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