What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
Excluding a paper round and short stint as a driver's mate, it was as a soldier. I qualified as an electronics engineer in the Royal Signals. After 10 years travelling the world trying to fix things, I fell into IT when I joined Orange just before its UK launch.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Trains, as I travel on them far less frequently than planes, and enjoy watching the world go by, particularly in the spectacular northern England countryside.
What sport should be in the Olympics but isn't?
Wife carrying. The Finns have hit on something with this sport. It's fun, technical and requires a high degree of trust and partnership. I am considering taking part in the UK version. Look it up on YouTube!
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
My favourite of all time is a bit risqué, involving pigs and a pig farmer. So, keeping it clean: Did you hear about the dyslexic who turned up at a toga party as a goat? or: What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinselitis. That's my three-year-old daughter's favourite joke of the festive season.
Should Prince William shave his head?
A modern Britain needs a modern monarch, and the thought of King William with a combover is, quite frankly, distressing. Men should go greycefully [sic] and when it's gone, it's gone. Move on and be proud to show the source of your brilliance!
Oranges or bananas?
Bananas. Peeling oranges is a bind and the skin makes me cringe.
What would your superpower be?
Invisibility. I'm sure many would say the same. It would be so much fun.
Print or online news?
Online during the week; print at the weekend. At the weekend, I try not to get sucked into online stuff that could waste my downtime. I also like to relax with the Sunday paper, reading commentaries, catching up with sports news and so on.
Do you use social media?
LinkedIn for business, Facebook for personal and Twitter for a mixture of both. I think LinkedIn is the most effective online tool I use today.
Do you think your online persona accurately reflects who you are?
Yes, I do. What is the point of being something you are not in the online world? I have trouble remembering what I actually have said, so I couldn't manage my views if they were not consistent on and off the web.
Is it wrong to tell little white lies?
As long as they are being used to protect someone else's feelings, it's all right. Of course, it's OK for guys to fib a little about some things.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
One who truly embraces the partnership ideal, never over-promising, always with a realistic view of the market; who commits to internal and external education; and also provides continual feedback of the market conditions. Without all the above, innovation can wither on the vine.
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
I miss taking my goat for a walk around the park. These days, that might be considered a bit weird. Actually, it may have been a bit weird even in the late 1970s.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down?
I turn off the phone and laptop, take my lady out, and talk about the future over a good meal and wine. Does it work? Always.
What is the most important thing in business?
Integrity. If you are not true to yourself or your business acquaintances, you will never succeed. People remember and reward honest relationships.
Alan Giles is EMEA managing director of Fiberlink
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