Simon Harbridge

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Simon Harbridge

Tell us something most people won't know about you

When it comes to preparing for important presentations or meetings you will often find me pulling together my presentation with just hours to spare - usually very early in the morning. The mixture of adrenaline and sense of time pressure seems to fuel my best effort - and often it wouldn't turn out as well any other way. Extra quality from the last-minute spontaneity!

What has been your highlight of 2018 so far?

Perhaps the week-long rescue efforts for the Thai boys trapped in the cave with their football coach, particularly with the timing of other disasters and so much division around the world in the news, although it wasn't without its own unfortunate cost. A valuable reminder of what can be achieved against mammoth odds when we work together with a shared vision.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Sir Patrick Stewart - when interviewed by the Guardian, he said he would play himself in a film of his own life, so I can think of no better character reference. And, we do have baldness and the love of a decent cup of tea in common.

Which tech firm (other than your own!) do you most admire?

Microsoft - primarily for its social and corporate responsibility. I feel we share a lot of the same values and I think its TEALS technology, education and literacy in schools programme is brilliant. Also, the culture behind its work is admirable, such as the flexibility and foresight in adapting with the needs of the market, and the diversity and inclusion mindset where employees are encouraged to provide their unique insights within their roles in the company. I feel this really fosters a sense of creativity and ingenuity in the work they accomplish.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I do occasionally like a (loud!) blast of classic rock music when working on the computer in my study, much to the irritation of my wife. Runrig is a regular favourite.

What is the most irritating tech buzzphrase of 2018?

‘Digital detox'. The ‘digital detox' buzzword seems to point the finger at the technology itself. It is the culture behind the tech, not the tech itself that's important. We should be working together to innovate so that the possibilities enabled by technology continue to enrich and improve society. 

What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?

Putting more funding and resources towards health and education is an obvious one. But the question still remains, where will this funding come from? Ignoring the £350m per week saving from Brexit(?!) we could start by halving the number of MPs and move outwards and downwards through each government department and quango saving senior heads until we had the funds. I would probably not be the most popular Prime Minister, but government would be a lot smaller.

What's the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel?

Security, security, security. As the threat around us grows so does the opportunity for innovation. I'm really interested to see how it will change the way companies manage their IT. I believe the refresh will become more important as outdated systems pose high risks, and we will start to see the adoption of new subscription models such as Device- and Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

What is your most treasured possession?

Sad to admit, but my Miura golf irons.

What do your family think you do all day?

After my youngest daughter visited the business for a day I did hear her say: "Dad just walks around all day talking to everyone, he never really does anything!" But, in my defence I was showing her around.

Who has been your mentor in business?

I couldn't call out one person, so many different people have influenced my thinking, perhaps without even realising. You can often learn something new from everyone you meet, if you listen.

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