Managing director, Joskos
Career so far
I left home at 16 to explore America, taking full advantage of my English accent and the opportunity to finish my secondary education in the US with respectable grades. America also gave me the opportunity to experience great service and showed me that trust is the key building block of effective and rewarding relationships - something we practice every day at Joskos. After some fantastic work and life experiences in the US, I came back to the UK with some clear and refreshed career goals. I decided IT was the place to be.
I visited a Microsoft Training company that had just started in business with only three employees and a tiny office. I had a great feeling about the company and its ethos and decided to get Microsoft Certified with them, despite the fact that the course fees were several thousand pounds.
After gaining my MS certifications I offered to help the company's owners grow sales and build their business. That company was Joskos Training. I started the sister company, Joskos Solutions in 2001 and now own and lead both these Joskos companies.
What was your first job and were you any good at it?
My parents once refused to buy something for me, albeit lovingly, and my response was to go and make some money and buy it myself. I therefore had my first paid job at the age of 12 when I went and convinced someone to give me a day's trial working in their warehouse. I was there for three years working an hour before school and two hours after, with a full day on Saturday. I'm sure this experience moulded much of my work ethic today, and taught me some early valuable lessons.
My colleagues won't know this about me but... I rely on them more than they probably realise! As determined and self-motivated as I am, I thrive on the energy of my team and love the passion, ideas and commitment that everyone brings to the company
What has been your career high point to date?
There have been a few and they range from seeing children with special needs interact with the solutions we deliver in ways that the same child would not have been able to enjoy even a couple of years ago, to appreciating the strength of the relationships we've built within education.
Has 2013 been good, bad or ugly?
2013 has without a doubt has been a phenomenal year for Joskos. We've experienced some great growth and have definitively stepped out of our traditional Greater London comfort zone to having staff and clients in other key cities. Above all, we've set a solid foundation for 2014 and beyond with some great new hires and a much more evolved management team to support me in leading the continued growth of our business in education. It's always great to see some recognition also and along the way we've had a lot of fun and picked up a few awards for service which is great for the team as a whole. We are already looking forward to an exciting and ambitious 2014.
What do you say when asked at a party what you do for a living?
I tell them that I own a technology service business that enhances learning opportunities for children and lets teachers focus on what they do best. At that point they either get excited or repeat their question.
If I wasn't working in the channel I would probably be... running a business that made a difference to people's lives. A highly profitable widget-making company, although important in its own right, just wouldn't interest me. I'd want to be involved in delivering positive impact, and that's pretty much what we do anyway.
What will be the channel's biggest challenge in 2014?
I see convergence continuing to be both a challenge and a phenomenal growth opportunity. The lines between services and providers (unified comms, cloud, storage, managed print, BYOD and so on) are becoming fainter and with customer expectations for service quite rightly growing, organisations will be wanting to work with VARs who can both specialise in and mesh services and solutions together in a seamless way. If you're a one-trick pony that trick needs to evolve pretty quickly.
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