What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
After university, my first job was processing mortgage applications for Royal Insurance (now RSA). A friend who worked on the IBM mainframe told me that a new job, called network operator, was about to be advertised. I applied, got the job, and here I am 30 years later.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
It has to be trains. Unlike planes, there is no hanging around for ages beforehand, or finding out your luggage is in another country. There's no need to deal with nutters undertaking you on the motorway, or spend hours in a jam for no discernible reason. Just get on the train, there's plenty of space, you can work or just chill out, and - generally - arrive on time.
In my dreams...
...I win £200m in the EuroMillions lottery, immediately buy Everton FC and spend the next two years as player manager. During that time, we'd win the Premier League and the FA Cup double. I of course score a hat-trick by winning the Wembley final as well.
The following year we win the double again, and also add the Champions League trophy. Beating Barcelona in the final, I, aged 50, run rings around Lionel Messi. I then retire to the boardroom and hand over the club to my son.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever been on?
In 2000 I went to South Africa for Cabletron (now Enterasys). The firm had donated to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and there was a black-tie dinner there for the charity. When Nelson Mandela arrived, the atmosphere was electric - everyone stood up, cheered and applauded him.
As he made his way through the room, he stopped right in front of the table I was on, in fact right in front of me, then he smiled and shook my hand. Beyond doubt that was the best work moment of my life.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
I have three requirements: heat, a good beach, and a warm sea. Last year I took the family to Sardinia. This year we are looking further afield, probably at Florida. It has my three requirements plus theme parks, so the entire family is happy.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
I'm an avid reader both for work and pleasure. I like thrillers and crime novels to relax and recently I have been reading them on my tablet. I must admit, I wasn't sure I would take to it.
For me, digital books and magazines bring massive benefits: I can carry more books with me, I can download virtually any title whenever I want, and most importantly, I can make the font huge so I can read them easily. It really is time to visit the optician.
Your closest near-death experience?
Another South Africa story! We had to fly to Bloemfontein to meet a potential new customer in a six-seater plane. I was next to the pilot and got to wear the headphones, although I'm not sure why.
On the way back we were taxiing along for take-off when the axle collapsed and we careered at high speed down the runway, eventually coming to a stop. Because I was in the front seat I never saw the six-foot flames going past the window as the axle dragged along the ground.
We were told afterwards that if the axle had collapsed as we landed, we would have been lucky to escape.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
Professional football agent. It looks like they have a great job - not good enough to be a professional player but still getting to work in that environment. Huge compensation for babysitting some talent.
Mark Pearce is EMEA channels and alliances director at Enterasys Networks
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