What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I started off working in the IT industry in 1989, as a pre-sales engineer at Band Three Radio Ltd. I thought I was getting into broadcasting and at some point in the future I’d have my own radio show, but it turned out I was a test engineer for PMR (Private Mobile Radio) equipment and radio masts. In 1995, I moved to Frontline, which became Computer2000, now known as Tech Data.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2015?
I expect to see the Internet of Things continue to grow at a consumer level, as well as business applications appearing throughout year.
What is your favourite joke, or the one you heard most recently?
The art of joke telling has all but disappeared now. When I was younger we’d recite long, elaborate jokes with contrived punchlines. Smartphones, Twitter and texting have shortened jokes to one-liners, and the internet is flooded with witty puns. Unfortunately I can’t remember most of them, but I like this one:
The bartender says: “We don’t serve time travellers here.”
A time traveller walks into a bar.
What never fails to make you sad or disappointed?
People who make a commitment and don’t follow up. In sales, “under-promise and over-deliver” is key, and it disappoints me when someone says “I’ll do that”, but never does.
Tea or coffee, and how do you have it?
A three-shot cappuccino, as early as possible in the morning. I don’t need any more caffeine through the day after that start!
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
The seven-week school holiday in the middle of summer. I guess I should have been a teacher if I wanted that much time off!
Which is more important: a good leader, or the team as a whole?
A leader is only as good as their team; the sum of the parts is often greater than the whole.
Do you or have you read ChannelWeb on your mobile phone or other handheld device?
I read ChannelWeb on my phone regularly. If I’m out of the office (and not driving) I like to keep abreast of what’s happening in the channel. The proliferation of WiFi and 4G services means it’s easy to get informative articles quickly and simply.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)?
Opening a bar, restaurant and nightclub with my wife and a great friend; running it for six years and still being married and still having a great friend! Returning to IT and being able to continue to develop my career; and the birth of my daughter.
What is the best way to get UK plc growing again?
We recently did some work with a resource skills centre, a charitable organisation teaching skills such as plastering and networking to get people back into work. The more we train and enable people to enter industry, whether it’s construction, manufacturing or IT, the better this country’s economy will develop in the longer term.
We have also been working with the government’s Business Growth service, which gives small to medium-sized firms access to training, business planning and funds to assist those companies to develop and grow their businesses. By helping our SMB employers grow, we can increase employment, export sales and strengthen local economies to grow UK plc.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
A proactive, agile company that wants to engage a vendor and work in a partnership, ultimately to develop the end-user market. Trust between both parties is an absolute must.
What are you reading?
Dead Girl Walking by Christopher Brookmyre. I’ve always liked Brookmyre’s books. They’re generally fast-paced crime thrillers with a good measure of witty dialogue. This is his latest novel and he revisits one of his oldest characters, Jack Parlabane, an investigative – and somewhat cynical – journalist. He reminds me of some of the channel press at times!
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