Managing director, Zedsphere
Tell us something most people won't know about you
I'm not actually from the channel. Many distribution business owners have spent at least 10-15 years in the channel before setting up or leading their own business. My first job in the channel was as an owner of a distribution company. This meant the learning curve was incredibly steep for me but it has also allowed me to bring successful techniques from other industries into our company and distinguish ourselves as a disruptive brand in the sector.
What has been your highlight of 2018 so far?
There have been so many it's hard to pick just one. Our fourth office move in two and a half years was a great milestone. The successful launch of our MSP Partner Programme - ZED - and onboarding our 800th MSP customer were also big moments for us.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Leonardo DiCaprio did a great job with the Wolf of Wall Street. I think he could definitely pull off ‘The Wolf of Warrington' as a follow up. The Lancashire accent would also need to be in there to add even more glamour.
Which tech firm (other than your own!) do you most admire?
The first time I used Uber I was in London, and within 10 seconds of requesting a car, a Toyota Prius silently sidled up next to me. I thought that was amazing and I continue to be impressed by the simplicity and convenience of the service.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I have two: food and motorbikes. When you have had a busy day at work sometimes the last thing you want to do is start cooking when you get home and so Just Eat (another favourite technology company) does tend to get overused. I've also just passed the one-year mark as a motorbike rider and so now I'm in the process of upgrading to something bigger and faster and of course, motorbikes don't come cheap.
What is the most irritating tech buzzphrase of 2018?
‘Bleeding edge' is one that I keep coming across and although I know it means brand-new or cutting-edge, it does take a step into vagueness and I also can't help but think of a bloodied knife that's been used as a murder weapon on some hardcore Netflix docudrama.
What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?
I would create an extensive programme to try and resolve the mental health crisis. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who are struggling to access the appropriate support via the NHS and I think our government and the commercial sector need to do a lot more to solve this issue. I would also ban those little sachets of sauce you get at fish and chip shops.
What's the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel?
The MSP sector is seeing exponential growth and I feel that this is by far the biggest white snow opportunity for the channel. Even though the mass exodus to the cloud has been underway for quite some time - making SaaS a much easier option - there are still a high number of vendors that don't tick the boxes for MSPs, and the same goes for resellers who still have a product-only strategy.
What is your most treasured possession?
I've spent the last two years planning and building a rock garden behind my house, although it's the kind of thing that should only have taken a weekend. I'm working hard to keep it looking nice. My wife would tell you it isn't finished yet, but it is finished - it's simply just a minimalist design.
What do your family think you do all day?
They have absolutely no idea. They know it's ‘something with computers' and that I have my own business. However, if you asked them what my company is called, they probably wouldn't be able to tell you. To be honest, I gave up trying to explain it quite some time ago.
Who has been your mentor in business?
Divyesh Lakhani has been my mentor and business partner for the last five years. He previously owned and ran a very successful distribution business - Codework - before it was acquired in 2010 by Altimate, which was in turn then acquired by Arrow ECS in 2013. Divyesh's willingness to transfer his knowledge certainly enabled me to make the quick entry into distribution business ownership that I mentioned. It has also provided me with a good understanding of where the channel has come from over last 20 years and so encouraged me to try and build a disruptive MSP focused distribution brand with Zedsphere.