UK & Ireland channels director, Hitachi Data Systems
Career so far My path has taken me from Cazenove & Co. stockbrokers, to Coles Myer (Australia), to Lucent Technologies and now HDS.
What was your first job and were you any good at it? My first part-time job was entering the results of opinion poll forms. It was mind numbing work but pretty straightforward - there were people there who did it as a full-time job and I couldn't of handled that. To give you an idea it actually came as a relief when they took me off data entry and asked me to do photocopying. It made me realise I needed to knuckle down and work hard at school.
Who was your top teenage pin-up? Sadly being into hard rock I did have a bad haircut and a questionable taste in clothes. My all-time favourite rocker was Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen, his life in Pasadena couldn't have been further away from my life in Chelmsford.
My colleagues won't know this about me but... I was a lead singer in a rock band when I was 18. We wouldn't have made it onto the X-Factor and my vocals weren't up to much; I was once described as the Lou Reed of heavy metal (ie. I talked my way through the songs). Needless to say my dream of teenage stardom was shattered early on - probably for the best.
What is your favourite snack? I love cooking, and apart from running I find it one of the most therapeutic things I do. I do try to eat healthy a lot of the time but fail most of the time and snacks are one of my weaknesses - I love a really fresh croissant in the sun while on holiday in France, or a plate of tapas and a glass of Rose in Barcelona, but generally it tends to be whatever is left in the fridge.
What has been your career high point to date? I have to say winning the Channel Award for Storage Vendor last year. An ex-colleague once told me that we would never win it and it's been great to see the evolution of HDS and how they have become more relevant to the channel over the years, culminating in the award.
Has 2013 been good, bad or ugly? For HDS we are coming out of a year of transformation and now have an energetic, enthusiastic and excellent sales team that is out there actively chasing down customers and prospects and looking to work with our partner community.
What do you say when asked at a party what you do for a living? It depends on what sort of social gathering. The fact that I have a four-year-old and a five-month-old means I don't really get to go to as many social gatherings as I would like to, and those I do go to conversations tend to be about how tired we all are!
If I wasn't working in the channel I would probably be... pursuing that career in music. But not in front of the mike, rather behind it in sound/music production.
What will be the channel's biggest challenge in 2014? Much the same as they were last year; how do you differentiate your value to your customer and prospect? How do you respond to the cloud - will you be a service provider or provide services to the service providers? How do you manage your business when sales cycles and what it takes to justify a deal is getting longer and longer?