Chief executive, NCI Technologies
What was your dream career as a child?
I wanted to go to sea and see the world. I spent my 19th birthday at war in the Falkland Islands in the Royal Navy, with Sea Harriers and helicopters flying all around me. It's hard to get more of a buzz than that as a young lad in a career you loved.
What has been your personal highlight of 2019?
To see the smiles and courage of a friend's 14-year-old daughter just days after her 18th major neurosurgery. Young children who go through so much teach us how we all should be.
Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?
Oh, there are so many. Just about every UK and European MP for a start. Adults behaving like unruly children for their own gain.
What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?
My animals and car keys (I live in the middle of nowhere).
Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?
That Microsoft would continue on its path to go it alone and that everything going wrong in the world would be blamed on Brexit.
What TV show have you binge watched this year?
Stranger Things. My wife and I couldn't get enough.
How has 2019 been from a business perspective?
Very good. Last year we bet on Brexit being delayed/cancelled for the whole of 2019 so focused our company in a way we could help our customers weather the storms. Not only has it helped them grow but us too.
What annoys you most about your commute?
It's only around 40 minutes each way for me to get to work but on narrow country roads with few - if any - diversions available. Any road closure or accident at least doubles that.
If you could witness one past event, what would it be?
The Second World War. I think we have turned into a snowflake world and I would love to understand the grit and resolve shown by people in a true hour of need rather than those who cause a drama because they can't get on Facebook. I totally admire people who have lived and survived in conflict.
How do you explain the channel to people?
IT vendors, distributors, developers and resellers who, despite not knowing each other, work together to help each of our businesses and that of our customers grow and be profitable while still competing with each other.
What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?
Boston, Massachusetts. There was plenty to do and see in the city and beyond and the conference (Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference) was very valuable in their early days.
Los Angeles, again with Microsoft, had events spread too far and wide with travel issues too.
What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?
Without a doubt, it is the fighting between vendors to be number one in everything. Some major vendors are diluting what they are good at to challenge in markets they don't own just to compete because they are scared they will be left behind. No longer are vendors leading in innovation, they seem to be scrambling with their own products and licensing to gain more revenue from existing sources.
All of this leaves the resellers and distributors trying to understand where to focus their portfolios. Resellers sell better when they feel loved, they care not about the wars between vendors but do have to bear the brunt of it all. Distributors suffer from price increases, low margins and trying to keep resellers happy.
Politicians in the firing line as execs in CRN's A-List 2020 slam parliament for drawn-out Brexit process