Managing director, Target Components
Tell us something most people won't know about you
I was a caul baby. It's rare and considered lucky. Famous people born with the caul include Napoleon, Charlemagne, Sigmund Freud… and George Formby.
What has been your highlight of 2018 so far?
It has to be our Open Day, which doubled up as our 20th birthday celebration. Amazing day and night and we were very lucky to get to share it with so many of our customers and vendors.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
I don't think we'll ever have to worry about that.
Which tech firm (other than your own!) do you most admire?
I wouldn't say admire, but the growth of some of today's giant tech firms is intriguing. Take Amazon; its basic model was to undercut the market to drive out competition, then use dominance to dictate pricing. Years on, it's still following the first part but still not able to drive prices up. But along the way it has morphed into so many things it would never have imagined at the start.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I am genuinely struggling to think of one (honest - I even asked my wife).
What is the most irritating tech buzzphrase of 2018?
‘Internet of things'. And maybe not a buzzphrase, but the over-use of ‘gaming' when describing products that clearly aren't.
What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?
We did some research a few years ago that showed independent retailers employ 13 times the number of staff per £1m sales than online retailers. The recent carnage on the high street highlights the choice - allow the downward spiral to continue or do something to level the playing field and protect bricks and mortar retail.
I'd introduce an online sales tax at source - think of it like an additional VAT rate - to help level the field on pricing, and use the revenue to support physical stores (particularly indies where the economic benefit is greatest). Online will still thrive, but will do so on its intrinsic values - for example, convenience - rather than through overhead/price advantage.
What's the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel?
Would anyone genuinely answer this question? By no means untapped, but as a channel we're still struggling to promote the real-life benefits of smart home (as opposed to the quirky things it can do that have no real value). But I think (hope) we're slowly improving.
What is your most treasured possession?
I'm not sure I've any genuinely ‘treasured' possessions, but if I had to pick something it would be a signed photo of Nat Lofthouse's opening goal in the 1958 Cup Final (it's the only picture hanging in our living room).
What do your family think you do all day?
I work with my wife, so she should have a pretty good idea.
Who has been your mentor in business?
For the most part we've worked it out as we've gone along and learnt from our own mistakes and successes, so no one person in particular. But if you're open to it, you can pretty much learn something from everyone. So in a roundabout way, nobody and everybody!