What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I was at postgraduate law school, had secured my articles, but decided I hated it. I wanted something that could be different every day, needed you to think, and hopefully paid OK as well. As I’d been a bit of a junior programmer as a kid on my BBC Acorn, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad 464, I thought IT might be a good bet. And here I am 20-plus years later. My first job was part of the Beta testing team at a mainframe Cobol company.
What could prompt you to give it all up and join the revolution?Why?
I’ve a strong sense of injustice and get very protective of those less able to help themselves. I also think personal responsibility and setting standards are important.
As I say to my kids, try to leave anything you do better than you found it. If we all did this, what a world it could be… from less litter to just smiling at someone.
What would you like to do this summer?
I’d like to spend two solid weeks at surf camp somewhere warm with my kids. Despite the 15 years that I’ve been surfing, I’m not nearly good enough – and my kids are at the age where having them around is good fun.
If you were the newest crayon in the box, which colour would you be, and why?
Purple. It’s a strong, solid, dependable colour, but a little bit different and disruptive.
Tea or coffee, and how do you have it?
I’m a Brit so mainly tea, white with half a sugar. Unless I’m in the US or Europe, as they can’t make tea at all, so then I have coffee. White with half a sugar as well. Tried getting rid of that final half teaspoon, but I can’t do it.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2015?
Everyone has their own take on part of the CAMS conversation – collaboration, analytics, mobile, social. These are all key technology waves, and I joined Accellion because we have some awesome technology in the mobile content, collaboration, and management areas. But if I can turn that question around a little– a trend I’d like to see in 2015? Coming from IBM – and having done stints at Sun/Oracle – I want to see less commoditising of our industry.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
Question: What is the last thing that goes through a fly’s mind when it hits a car windscreen? Answer: Its butt!
Tell us about one of your greatest ever moments in life so far.
It may be a bit corny, but holding my firstborn for the first time. So small, so vulnerable, so amazing. I was also very proud to get selected for the Great Britain Team against Norway last year in Sporting Rifle.
What never fails to make you sad or disappointed?
Lying, selfishness, or not thinking. Whether it’s thoughtlessly chucking litter out of car windows in our beautiful countryside, the UK MPs’ expenses scandal, or large corporate tax avoidance, play your part, and have standards. One of the best CEOs I’ve worked for once said to me: “Don’t ever lie to me, your people, or a customer. If you do, it’s your last day here,” and that has stuck with me. What a great principle.
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
Living in the moment – kids immerse themselves in “now” and as a result they laugh more, smile more, play more, and aren’t always thinking about what else they need to get done. That’s very powerful, but we lose it as we get older.
If you were the next prime minister, taking power after this year’s general election, what would you do first? Why?
I’d introduce some tax law changes. Whenever I see HMRC adverts chasing individuals for not declaring something such as online sales income, I think about the amount of UK tax some of our large telco or tech companies pay here and start to see red. I would also put tracking technology in fast food packaging. You drop litter, you do public litter patrol!
Keith Poyser is vice president and general manager EMEA at Accellion
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