What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was as a restaurant waiter when I was about 14, I grew up in Devon and everyone worked summer jobs. My first foray into IT was with Dell back in the early 2000s. I started in IT after spending a few years working abroad in China, Saudi Arabia and Mexico and I saw IT as a huge growth market and wanted to be part of it.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
Definitely a cat person. A few people may have even heard the story of how my now wife "stole" a cat from a neighbour for a few months. We only found out which neighbour owned the cat when we moved - my wife wanted to take the cat when we moved.
What were you like in school?
I was a bit of an all-rounder and very sporty, which many people may not believe now. I was my college rugby captain and competed in athletics at a county level. I have been told that I still hold the 400m record at my former secondary school of about 2min 10, which was pretty decent on a grass track.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2016? Why?
I think cloud will continue to be a big driver into 2017 and beyond, with new aspects of IT moving to the cloud and a bigger push to move desktops to the cloud. I also think that IoT and connected devices will continue to grow and move into new and exciting areas. IoT and connected devices are all about the data that they allow to be captured, and the benefits to the business from how this data can be used in a smarter way.
What is your biggest regret in business?
Back in 2001, before I started in IT, I worked in China and was offered the opportunity to work with a Chinese businessman who wanted to grow his business in Europe. It would have been a great opportunity, especially given the growth in the Chinese economy since then, but I turned down the offer as it was in a sector which I knew nothing about.
If you were king or queen, what would you do first? Why?
Probably have breakfast. My kids keep telling me that it's the most important meal of the day!
What was the first record you bought?
I can't remember what my first record that I bought was. I can remember that I was the first at school to get Blur Parklife and Oasis Cigarettes and Alcohol. Oh the Blur and Oasis "wars" of the 90's.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
There is a passage in the opening chapter of "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T.E. Lawerence. I first came across this passage in ‘Touching the Void' a mountaineering book by Joe Simpson when I was in my early teens.
The passage reads: "All men dream: but not equally, Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."
Many people have dreams, but few follow them. I have been pretty lucky and fulfilled many of my dreams.
Which extinct animal (one only, not a whole species) would you bring back and why?
I have always been quite a fan of the woolly mammoth, I think I must have had a toy one as a kid, so would have to be that.
What is your dream holiday destination? Why?
A few years ago I was lucky enough to go the Amazon Rainforest, it is a truly amazing place and I hope that I get to go back there. There is so much to see and hear and is a true world of wonder, as long as you don't mind the spiders!
Your closest near-death experience?
I seem to have had quite a few close calls, and near to near-death experiences but nothing too major. There was the time I was climbing a via-ferrata in the Dolomites, and just finished a route before a massive storm hit (we were on a difficult climb with no escape routes), and a close call car crash when I was 18 - drove into a tree that probably saved my life… and winter walking of Buachaille Etive Mor in Glen Coe in a complete whiteout. I once asked my parents to pay for me to learn to sky dive as a birthday present, my mum refused saying that I always land on my feet and she is not going to pay for me to test the theory from a great height. Fair enough.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner? Why?
The perfect channel partner is the partner that does things right by the customer. There are a lot of great partners out there who are very knowledgeable and are looking to build long term relationships with their clients, this can only be done when they do things right by their customers.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Why?
Not a lot in reality. If I did have my time again I would probable like to travel more.
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