What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
This may sound a little clichéd but seeing the way that our team here at Utilize and Ignite have pulled together and grown stronger in the face of adversity. You really get to know people during times like these. I am genuinely proud of what we are achieving during this pandemic and I am seriously excited for 2021 and beyond.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
Tiesto for the old skool tunes reminding us of better times, Ricky Gervais for the dancing and laughs and Sir Ranulph Fiennes because when we are all partied out, listening to his endless inspiring stories will have us pumped for new opportunities in 2021.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
Many people worried about running out of toilet roll during lockdown, but I was more worried about running out of Wine Gums. Thankfully that dark day never arrived.
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
It's easy to sing loudly from the rooftops when things are going well. But when things aren't quite as rosy, that's the time when real leaders step up and take positive action. So many big names have gone MIA during this pandemic.
But as the tech giants (and social networks) continue to grow and build influence, it's the work New York University's Meredith Whittaker continues to do behind the scenes that ensures AI is used responsibly and ensures the tech industry is held accountable. For me, this is where we need increased focus and expertise.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Since reading the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, I have become a little obsessed with SleepWatch. It's a sleep-tracking app that gives you a sleep score each night depending on how well you have slept - based on heart rate, heart rate dip, sleep disruption, sleep quality etc. It's surprisingly addictive (especially if you are competitive like me). My highest overall score is 942 (just saying).
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
SpongeBob. I'd enjoy a dose of his endless optimism and seafood is also my favourite thing to eat, so I would be living mainly on a diet of crab. Besides, who doesn't want to know what it's like to live in a pineapple?
Do you miss face-to-face events?
Even if these events can be easily replicated virtually, I do miss the human interaction that face-to-face events bring, and I miss the networking opportunities they create.
We have done some of our best business at events and conferences (generally at the bar!) and I still think there will be a desire for that to return in some form. There are certain things Teams and Zoom simply cannot replicate.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
I think the enormous, global gatherings we have seen for years will become a thing of the past (such as Microsoft Inspire/Ready etc.) and we will see smaller, more considered, regional events take their place.
How we harness the opportunities and overcome the challenges of long-term homeworking, isolated from our colleagues, will also define us in the coming months.