Paul Stringfellow

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Paul Stringfellow

Technical director, Gardner Systems

Which tech figurehead do you admire the most?

Very impressed currently by people who have taken established businesses and driven a dramatic shift in the type of business they are so they remain relevant. Satya Nadella is the obvious one, but also impressed by George Kurian at NetApp.

What's the biggest challenge facing the industry no-one is talking about yet?

Two-fold - for the industry overall, the idea that to many, "disruptors" are only disrupting the world through the lens of "privileged" US west coast young men, with no thoughts of the wider impact of their technology and the way they behave.

On a more technical level, the potential security threats of using AI and machine learning, while we storm forward in this field, not sure if enough thought is going into ensuring the security of the information these systems base their learning on is strong enough. If you can poison the source, you can get the answer you want!

If you could invite three famous people to dinner, who would they be?

Will Smith. He's always good for an anecdote, so should keep the party buzzing along if we struggle for conversation; Neil Armstrong. The first man on the moon - that's an experience that any dinner party would like to hear about; and Jack the Ripper. Probably with some Hannibal Lector-like security - wheel the perpetrator in, find out who and what that was about and then send them back. Come on, we all want to know who Jack was, don't we?

How has 2017 been for you?

Another good and interesting year. The focus for business on data has opened many fascinating areas and presents a number of interesting challenges to address. This continual change and gaining of new experience keeps me on my toes and as fascinated in my role as ever.

It's also been great fun working within the IT community, which has allowed me to meet a range of new community members and engage in a different range of events and visit some new cities.

What's the most extravagant business lunch you've ever had?

I don't know I've ever had one! I ate in a few Michelin-starred places with well-known chefs. The restaurant at the top of the Gherkin is nice, with fine views! But I'm not sure of anything too extravagant! I'm not an extravagant lunch type of guy! Although I did have a ludicrously sized chilli dog in New Orleans this year. That was extravagant!

Which global city best matches your personality?

Liverpool, of course. 

What would be your super-hero power?

It probably has to be the ability to fly. Aeroplane travel is one on my least favourite things, so avoiding that can only be a plus.

Complete this sentence. The worst thing about our rivals is… when they lack professionalism, be it trading on uncertainty, or trying to buy business by cutting all of the profit from a deal to win it from a competitor that had put in the hard yards.

What makes you nervous?

See super-hero power!

If you could eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

What a choice! In reality, some kind of pasta dish - I can always do one of them!

Sum up the channel in three words

Dynamic, demanding, precarious!

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