What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I worked as a sales executive for a company called Lancall Communications based in Lancaster. Lancall sold mobile phones to businesses, and they were very much a luxury back then; it was either a brick phone or a transportable that took up the whole passenger seat.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
All of the above! Planes get you there quickly and, statistically, they have been dubbed the safest method of transport. Trains also tick boxes as they provide the opportunity to catch up on emails and, finally, automobiles for travelling door to door in luxury and comfort.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
Police arrested two kids yesterday. One was drinking battery acid, and the other was eating fireworks. They charged one - and let the other one off.
"In my dreams…"
...I would like to experience Groundhog Day.
What is the best business trip or junket you have ever been on?
Probably a trip to Las Vegas that was funded by one of our partners. Vegas is ‘plastic' and you have to accept it for what it is: everyone is there to have fun. There is no other place like it in the world. Not only did we have fun, we also made some good contacts and collected further information on RFID, which we found useful.
What is the best holiday you have ever had?
Without question, my honeymoon to Bali and Singapore. They are both amazing places, the weather was fantastic, and the locals could not do enough for you.
If you had a week to live, how would you fill your time?
I would spend it searching for a DeLorean, make the flux capacitor a reality, and make time travel possible, just like in the 80s movie Back to the Future!
…give up on anything I believe in.
What would be your superpower?
I think mind reading, so long as I had the capability to switch it on and off when it suited. This would help sales as well as vastly improve my personal life.
Print or online news?
It depends on the situation. Online news if I need a break for 10 minutes, and print if I am travelling or in a hotel. I am not a huge fan of the general news as it is all doom and gloom and can be depressing stuff sometimes.
Do you use social media?
For business we have our own community site, bringing together all our employees, partners and customers to talk about anything and everything. I also use Twitter for business, and LinkedIn, which is a great tool for contacts, focused discussions and general networking activities. For personal things I use Facebook.
Will the economic recovery continue?
Yes, but it will take quite a few years and it will be slow. Within business, companies seem to be a lot more cautious on spend; some customers are looking for fast return on their investment, sometimes in as little as 12 months.
What does the channel most need to learn to succeed and grow this year?
To trust partners that demonstrate their own desire and commitment to make it work with the same goals and aspirations. The right support is paramount. It also needs to learn to plan, review and execute. [Companies should] take some risks with the right partner and learn how to manage expectations regardless of the outcome - honesty and integrity are key to success.
Is IT well taught in schools?
I am guessing it is far better than it was when I was at school with my Sinclair ZX81 - chalk and cheese compared to today's computing capabilities. Children are very much spoiled with technology today, to the extent that they prefer to communicate using their mobile or laptop rather than actually speaking. Having said that, there is an increasing number of young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs making their millions on the internet, so IT must surely be well taught in schools.
John McMeeking is UK MD at Psion
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