What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was an apprenticeship with Leyland Trucks on leaving school, studying vehicle design. Not IT-based at all! I got into IT as engineering jobs became difficult to come by so I switched careers and worked as a network engineer within the then Leyland DAF IT department.
Mainframe comms is certainly very different from communications today, but it gave me a brilliant grounding and discipline in service delivery. A move to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council then provided excellent exposure to life in the public sector at a time of huge change under Blair's "modernisation" programme.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
I enjoy driving and it gives you time to think and reflect. I don't think you can beat the freedom a car provides. Although taking the train or plane does allow you to catch up on your email.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
It's essential to have the vision and drive to put plans into action and see them through. And to achieve, you must lead by example.
In my dreams…
Wigan wins the Premier League with a 5-0 victory at Old Trafford against Man U. It could happen, couldn't it?
If you had to choose just one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
I'd have to choose football - although I personally think it's an art.
Can politicians ever be trusted on IT?
I don't think it's that they can't be trusted. However, I do think we need more people in government who really understand IT and its potential, and they should have the courage to harness the agility, skills and innovation of IT providers beyond the big SIs.
Yes, government departments are targeted to award a percentage of contracts to local SMBs, but this is typically achieved only by subcontracting through the large SIs.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
The perfect channel partner understands your needs, rather than just thinking about his or her own bottom line. The relationship must be mutually beneficial.
Oranges or bananas?
Oranges. They're packed full of Vitamin C; you can't really argue with that. Besides, bananas are regulated by Brussels.
Where did you get that hat?
Straight from the Wigan FC shop. It's cold in those stands, you know.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down?
Spending quality time with my wife and young kids works well most times. Failing that, it's off to DW Stadium to see the Latics play. Oh, did you say "cheer myself up"? Oops.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
I'm definitely a doer. I like to get stuck in and make a difference rather than just observe. It's an amazing feeling to see a plan you drew up put into action, but I still like to be involved as much as I can before I move on to the next project.
Is it wrong to tell little white lies?
That's a tricky one. I think in most cases they're fine -- although if you're under oath you should probably steer well clear.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
I think there will always a certain romance attached to print, and I can't see the likes of Waterstone's going under any time soon. But as the move to digital gathers pace it's only going to become more difficult to make money from print.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
I'm lucky to have three young children so going to Lapland to meet Santa at Christmas or Florida to meet Mickey Mouse and the gang are safe bets. Luckily, I'm a big kid at heart myself.
Ian Jackson is managing director of Imerja
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