What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was with BT when I finished university. I was looking for a really good graduate course, and the telecoms market was beginning to expand at that time. It was one of the best out there – my father was in telecoms as well, so it seemed like a good choice.
What could prompt you to give it all up and join the revolution?
I’ve always been interested in social mobility and being able to help people move forward. I am very lucky to have been a beneficiary of the hard work of my parents and grandparents and I want to be able to translate everything I’ve learned from them to help other people.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
My son told me this joke recently: “Two knights are talking to each other. One says, ‘I need help, I’ve got to go and save the damsel in distress, so you go and save the damsel in that dress’.”
In my dreams...
...I would be a farmer. I love the countryside and I’m interested in its future and how people currently use the countryside. I love the outdoors and I love the seasons.
If you had to choose just one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
I think I would choose an art. I love sport and keeping fit and have played mostly rugby or cricket all my life. My greatest regret is that I never learned a musical instrument growing up, and I’d love to learn how to play the piano.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
As I lived in the US for a long time until recently, I have missed being in Europe. I’d like to go to eastern Europe, Scandinavia, or the northern coast of Spain.
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
Being at 2e2 towards the end was a challenge; we had been through tough times before but previously they had ultimately benefitted us.
It taught me a very good lesson: always keep a close eye on what’s happening, and everything you deal with every day in business should be treated with care.
What would you like to have on your epitaph?
Something saying that I moved things forward, strove to do so and help others do so – but with a degree of irreverence. You shouldn’t take yourself too seriously, you should always be able to laugh at yourself, and be aware of your place in the world.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)?
First, my family. Also, I feel extremely proud and lucky to have had a career which has spanned a lot of the big changes within the industry – surfing the internet wave, the centre of mobile revolution in the US, 3G.
Thirdly – this is a little-known fact – I have a better record against Tim Henman than Roger Federer does (although I did beat him when I was 11 and he was eight).
Alastair Kane is Europe vice president at Zayo Group
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