Chief executive, Block
What was your dream career as a child?
Growing up I always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but as time went on and I didn't stop growing I quickly lost that as an option! So it was back to kicking a ball around on the streets, dreaming of playing at Anfield. Suffice to say, that one didn't work out either!
What has been your personal highlight of 2019?
Working alongside Barts Health NHS Trust, not only as our local NHS partner but also the largest in the country, has been an incredible experience. Having worked closely with the Trust for several years, it is wonderful to see our technology partnership bringing about such positive change to healthcare in the community.
Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?
I would be caught somewhere between David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn; and I'm sure little explanation is required!
What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?
I'd have to go for my old vinyl collection from the days when I was trying to make it as a DJ, though I have a fairly sizeable collection that may take several trips. I'm not sure this counts as two items!
Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?
My prediction was that Cisco's Software Defined Access solution would resonate with our clients. As a company we invested heavily into developing our capability to sell, deliver and support it. This is a key technology in helping our clients as they transition to a more digital future.
What TV show have you binge watched this year?
The one I probably enjoyed most was After Life. I thought it had a great mix of humour and cynicism while also addressing something we will all have in common: the departure of a loved one. The guilty pleasure has probably been Schitts Creek - I love Catherine O'Hara.
How has 2019 been from a business perspective?
2019 has seen our biggest contract wins in our history so it's been pretty exciting for us so far. We've also brought some wonderful new people into the team with a breadth of knowledge, skills and expertise to help us continue delivering optimal value to our clients. We remain resolutely focused on what we do best, which is reflected in our financial performance over the last FY and gives us a very healthy and positive outlook for 2019 and beyond.
What annoys you most about your commute?
If you had asked me this two weeks ago, I would have probably said nothing as I literally drove 10 minutes from my house to our Old Street Office in London. However, I have just moved and am coming to terms with driving across London in rush hour traffic (NB: electric car) - the number of expletives have increased dramatically!
If you could witness one past event, what would it be?
I'd have loved to have seen the last time The Beatles played together on the roof of the Apple Studios in 1969. They've played a big part in the soundtrack of my life growing up; I lived next to Strawberry Fields and went to school on Penny Lane.
How do you explain the channel to people?
That is surprisingly difficult! It is like trying to explain the plot of Twin Peaks. My best Wikipedia-like answer is it is a collection of people that buy, distribute and sell technology with a shared passion for it.
What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?
I personally hate the chaos of Vegas, which I know is strange and of course is where the Cisco conference is this year. I really enjoyed San Francisco with its diversity, huge Chinatown and European feel.
What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?
There are so many great technologies emerging that will have a profound impact on society such as robotics and AI, and I think there will be many challenges in tech leadership as we ensure these technologies help, assist and improve lives in an ethical way, as well as of course increasing productivity within the UK.
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