What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was selling flowers from a little hut next to a main road when I was 13. It taught me a lot about working and making money for myself. I fell into IT by accident; in 1996 I took a job in telesales at local distributor CHS Electronics. I was intrigued by the pace of change - new technology kept turning up to blow everything out of the water. It was so dynamic I quickly decided it was right for me.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Such an easy choice: it has to be automobiles. I'm something of a petrol head and never happier than when I'm in the driving seat.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
I've always been a big fan of Tommy Cooper jokes so I'll have to go with one of the classics: "I said to the gym teacher: ‘Can you teach me the splits?' She said: ‘How flexible are you?' I said: ‘I can't do Tuesdays.'"
If you had to choose just one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
It would have be a sport. I still enjoy playing football once or twice a week - though, like Ledley King, only when my knees allow. Of course, some would argue that when it comes to the best players in the world, football can be an art.
Oranges or bananas?
Definitely bananas. They fill you up, are great for energy and easy to eat on the move. I even own a Banana Guard - perfect for the laptop bag!
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
Just as some people prefer to listen to music on vinyl, there will always be people who value a printed format. However, I think we've now reached the point of no return with digital publishing - I own a Kindle and nothing would make me swap back.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
I believe in doing both. My primary responsibility is developing strategy and drawing up plans with my team. I am also a firm believer in leading from the front and I love being in the field with partners.
Is there a future long-term for IT distribution?
Yes, but the industry is going to have to change a lot and we're likely to see further consolidation. With businesses adopting cloud and their employees embracing mobility, billing and commercial models must change considerably to serve this dynamic new marketplace.
Managed services will become an important revenue stream for a lot of partners, but they are going to have to keep developing innovative, value-adding services regularly as the barriers to change disappear. Distributors will need to adapt and provide these services if they are to survive.
Your closest near-death experience?
Such a dark question for a light-hearted column. I did actually have a near-death experience with some friends in Cardiff. We were crossing the road when a stolen car chased by the police came around the corner. Luckily the driver crashed the car into a barrier rather than us, but even so it was close. It definitely makes you appreciate being here.
If you had your time again, what would have been your next choice of career?
At school I did work experience in journalism at the Woking News & Mail. I really fancied a career in journalism at that stage and maybe, given my time again, that's what I would do.
Ed Dolman is UK and Ireland head of channel at VMware
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