What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I was a trainee service engineer at Thorn Ericsson Telecommunications in Kingston upon Thames – though when I got the offer call, the manager said he’d tried their first choice candidate but he was out and they needed someone straight away as they had a course booked so if I could start on Monday I could have the job. Not a great motivator!
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I’d like a Wire Hair Fox Terrier as I think they are comical but we have two cats who I suspect would take major offence to the arrival of such an animal.
What were you like in school?
I started secondary school having just moved from the Falkland Islands, and the school had more pupils than the entire population of Port Stanley. In those days the school had six classes per year, labelled A, B, C, D, E and F. I’ll leave you to guess what that reflected on academic ability but they didn’t try to disguise it in those days. I joined the school in 1C and left in 5C. In those days it really was like episode one of Grange Hill.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2016?
Whatever my children tell me!
What is your most annoying habit?
There’s probably a long and varied list but I’d guess among colleagues it’s saying “When I was at Ericsson/Damovo/Vodafone…” It used to irritate me when as a ‘lifer’ at Ericsson people used this phrase, and now I’m just as guilty of using it myself.
What is your biggest regret in business?
Not buying RACAL shares.
If you were king, what would you do first?
I would bring back the Royal Yacht Britannia. I think as a floating sales tool for UK plc and a diplomatic ace card it was invaluable. Obviously I’d also tour the Caribbean on it myself!
What was the first record you bought?
The Members – At the Chelsea Nightclub. I took it back, if I recall, and swapped it for Skids’ Days in Europa.
What is your most overused word?
It’s not printable.
Why do you think there is a skills shortage? What can be done about it?
Is there a skills shortage? There always will be to a degree, but that’s one of the things that invariably drives innovation. I’ve rarely seen an ROI that didn’t involve removing the need for some poor sod’s job.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
Everybody knows how to fight the bull except the poor bugger in the ring with a horn up his arse. In other words, ignore the shouters, they’re invariably no better. Keep trying.
Which extinct animal would you bring back and why?
The Falkland Islands wolf, also known as the Falkland Islands fox, or Antarctic wolf. It was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands. This endemic canid became extinct in 1876, the first-known canid to have become extinct in historical times. It was the only modern species in the genus Dusicyon.
What should the government be doing to help UK businesses grow?
Buying product built in the country where it’s just as good might help. I can’t see why our police forces have to drive vehicles built anywhere but here, for example. I’m sure it’s all to do with perceived best value but I don’t understand that argument when the bigger economic picture is considered.
CRN in print or digital form?
Print for me – I’m happy to read online but somehow feel more inclined to pick up a magazine and then go back to it later.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would join the Navy and see the world.
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