What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
My work with a couple of charities that I am heavily involved with. The first as co-chair of Byte Night, a national IT industry rough sleeping charity, where we were able to pivot to a family-orientated sleep rough at home event, called Boycott Your Bed in support of Action 4 Children. It was delivered with a celeb-laden evening of virtual entertainment and activities, and raised over £400,000. More locally helping set up This is Me Yorkshire, a charity focused on highlighting mental health initiatives and support in the workplace.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
Having watched a hero of mine Freddie Flintoff show his true mettle in the last few weeks by openly talking about his mental health journey he has to be head of my Zoom table. To lighten the mood his fellow Top Gear mate Paddy McGuiness, and to balance the Yorkshire/Lancashire party ratio I would invite honorary Yorkshireman and Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa to talk about coaching for performance and his PowerPoint presentation skills.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
M&S salted caramel popcorn - fortunately they come in multi-packs.
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
On a WW level my friend Paul Hunter at HPE, always a big supporter of DTP, but his rise within HP/HPE has been sensational and well deserved. On a local level another friend, Gary Parlett, founder and CEO of Leeds-based Answer Digital, who during the lockdown completed the transition of his business to employee ownership.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Its got to be my HP Dragonfly Laptop, oh sorry I was just dreaming I had one! But seriously there are lots of comms and collaboration apps that pre-COVID were part of daily life, but that are now what we build our working life around such as Zoom and Teams. The one I like the most is Mural, a virtual, visual, whiteboard app.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
Donald Trump, as I am looking a little pasty and need to top up my fake tan!
Do you miss face-to-face events?
Some days yes, and I am sure that as the dark winter nights draw in it will be even more so, but I am actually a little shy and a bit of an introvert so I can manage without most of the time, even though it feels like we are all cast members of Groundhog Day II the movie as the days blend into one.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
The paperless office has been talked about for decades, but I think COVID has definitely put it back on the agenda, and it has certainly accelerated the long overdue transformation of the managed print services sector.