Managing director, Interactive Ideas
Career so far It has been 18 years since I founded and became managing director of Interactive Ideas. Before that, I spent 10 years stockbroking and in senior management positions with Fortune 100 financial services companies, plus a spell as an economist with a major management consultancy.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be? Tottenham Hotspur's chief executive, Daniel Levy. He has a reputation as one of the best negotiators in the business. I am too nice and I'd like to learn to be tougher.
What will next year's most overhyped industry buzzword be? Big data because for most companies I suspect the data is not that "big". Correlations are all very well but there is usually a story behind them that analytics are not so good at picking out.
Has 2012 been a good, bad or ugly year? 2012 has been a good year for our IT infrastructure business showing solid growth. Big deals are taking longer to get sign-off on from end customers. Corporate cash is just about higher than it has been since the 1960s yet the environment is so uncertain, executives are scared to move despite their cash earning nothing in the bank.
What would you have as your last meal? Steak, salad and chips. I have been moving more and more towards being vegetarian for both moral and health reasons but if I know it's my last meal, what the hell!
What keeps you awake at night? Solvable problems. I tend not to worry about stuff I can't do anything about but I will churn problems around if I think I can come up with a plan. I also think about things that might happen years in advance in order to plan to avoid them, kind of like playing chess. It's good for business but not for peace of mind.
What piece of technology could you not be without? The internet. I'd sooner lose my phone than connection to the net. How times have changed.
Have any of your predictions come true this year? My predictions that the Arab Spring would quickly turn to Autumn rather than the sudden sea change many expected and that despite a second-dip recession, life goes on and there is still business to be done.
What is the best partner/customer trip you have ever been on? I was an institutional stockbroker for a large US firm in the 1980s and flew my three biggest accounts to New York to see Tina Turner and Wang Chung live on Jones beach. We were doing so much business no one cared about the expense. Three days of partying on the company's dime. I can honestly say that spending other people's money is better than sex!
What do you see as the channel's biggest challenge in 2013? Uncertainty in Europe leading to continued reluctance to invest on the part of big business and liquidity for small companies as banks continue to reign in their lending and risk profiles.
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