What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was at Bejam, the British frozen food retailer that was eventually acquired by Iceland. This involved helping with the freezers before and after school and I quite miss the blue jumpsuit I used to wear! I've worked in various industries over the years, but I've stayed in IT because it's an industry where you get out exactly what you put in.
This applies to every aspect of running a successful IT business, from growing an excellent team to making sure your customers are always happy. I also find the pace of change in the industry exciting. IT is continually evolving and developing, which means when you run a business you have to match this mentality - we are always thinking about how we can evolve and develop our services and people for the benefit of our customers.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2015?
More businesses than ever are starting to understand how crucial visual communications and UC are to employees' working lives. Ensuring technology delivers tangible business outcomes, whatever the consumption model, will remain important.
Watching how organisations manage the pace of business improvements from technology is worth following as well - not every business needs everything at once. The future workplace will likely be much more content-rich.
The power of video is having an effect on organisations that have embraced solutions. The network is always going to be important, especially as the Internet of Things continues its march towards the IT department.
What is your favourite joke, or the one you heard most recently?
Currently, my favourite joke is my son's. "I've broken my bum. Look, there's a crack in it!" I've tried using it myself, but without the childhood innocence it seems to worry people.
Tea or coffee, and how do you have it?
I'm a tea drinker and only occasionally drink coffee - I don't feel I need the extra caffeine kick.
If you were given too much change in a shop, would you give it back?
Yes, every single time. In fact, on more than one occasion, I have even been known to give money back when it had been the correct change!
If you could only be one, would you rather be right, or happy?
I've never been wrong! In all seriousness though, I would much rather be happy - who wouldn't? One of the challenges of being a leader is to help other people to be right.
Which is more important: a good leader, or the team as a whole?
A good team will always be more important. A company's success depends on everyone, not just solid leadership. At avsnet, we all share in our achievements and I am conscious of always rewarding the team for the hard work they put in. A leader is nothing without people to lead.
What was your most important lucky break in life so far? Did you make the most of it?
When I was mountain biking in the Australian outback I snapped my collarbone. It cut my trip short and I had actually planned to visit the country again when I had recovered. Instead I stayed in the UK and founded avsnet. So, you could say it really was a ‘lucky break'!
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
Complete agility and flexibility at every stage of the development and deployment process. Knowledge and industry expertise ensures customers receive the very best technology available to them and the correct solution for their needs. Channel partners and integrators have a responsibility to navigate their customers through a complex marketplace, while at the same time supporting their partnerships. Exceptional service during the design, deployment and support stages should always be a given.
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