What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My early career was as a life sciences researcher. I got into IT when the technology started to overwhelm the biology.
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I'm a dog person.
What is the most important trend to follow in 2016?
Migration of security technologies from enterprise into SME environments. In cybersecurity we have gone from a situation of professional criminals robbing banks to one in which corner shops are being held up every day.
What is your biggest regret in business?
Not moving into a start-up/entrepreneur role earlier.
If you were king, what would you do first? Abolish the monarchy. It's the 21st century…
What was the first record you bought?
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Why is there a skills shortage? And what can be done about it?
It's an image thing. School-age children tend to view computing as either using an Office application suite or something incredibly hard and not for most people. The school curriculum needs to change radically to give students the experience of actually writing code. When I was growing up, the BBC Micro and the associated TV programmes had a transformational effect in the UK and until recently there has been little to nothing like that. There is great work being done now with the Raspberry Pi, BBC micro:bit and organisations such as code.org, codecademy and codeclub.org.uk. Check out the videos.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
What should the government be doing to help UK businesses grow?
Promoting entrepreneurship - both by providing resources to support new businesses and by promoting the value of new business creation. On the whole, large organisations are contracting; new and emerging business is where most of the job and wealth creation is happening.
CRN in print or digital form? Digital. It's the 21st century.
What would you like to have as your epitaph?
He left the world a better place than he found it.
What was your most important lucky break in business so far?
Did you make the most of it? When the person who gave me my first job in IT gave me a chance and told me there was far more opportunity there. I did make the most of it - I would not have had anything like the opportunity I have had if I had not made that switch.
What is your dream holiday destination?
Walking in Tuscany. I love the landscape, the exercise, the people, and the food.
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