Alanzo Blackstock

clock • 3 min read

What has been your personal highlight of 2020?

It has certainly been a memorable year. My biggest personal highlight would have to be the fact that I joined ServiceNow on 1 May, right in the middle of lockdown.

Joining a company from home was a new experience for me, meeting and interacting with many of my new colleagues only through Zoom meetings and Slack. While not an ideal way to start a new job, ServiceNow created an onboarding experience that was extremely effective and thoroughly engaging.

Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?

I'd love to have Alicia Keys attend a Zoom party to serenade guests. Jim Carey can keep everyone entertained with his funny faces and impersonations. I would certainly invite Sir Richard Branson as the third guest, if only to request a well-overdue refund for a cancelled holiday earlier this year!

What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?

Aside from wine, rum and chocolate, hmm…not sure.

Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?

It may be too obvious a choice coming from me, but Bill McDermott, the chief executive of ServiceNow, has really been inspirational this year.

At the start of the pandemic, he focused ServiceNow on providing free access to apps designed to help governments respond to the coronavirus faster and more efficiently. He also made a commitment to not lay off any employee during the year. This meant ServiceNow employees could focus on customers and not be worried about their jobs.

It was also great to see so many tech leaders making public statements after the unfortunate event of George Floyd's death earlier this year, taking a stance against racism and in many cases donating to charitable causes that are fighting this injustice. My hope is that tech leaders maintain focus on playing their part to remove these systemic injustices from our communities.

What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?

I think my most-used piece of tech has most certainly been Zoom, used multiple times daily and has replaced the majority of my interactions with colleagues. I am also a Zwift convert. Zwift is an innovative app that enables you to link your bicycle to a laptop, allowing you to ride, train or race with other cyclists in a virtual environment. It's helped to keep me physically and mentally healthy during these months of local and national restrictions.

If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?

I'm really not sure that I would want to be anyone else for a week. That's not to say that I'm living the dream - far from it! It's more a recognition that there is so much more I can do to be better and to improve my week that would give me far more satisfaction than stepping into the shoes of someone I don't really know.

Do you miss face-to-face events?

Zoom is great, but it does not replace the spontaneous social interactions that you get with events and in meetings. Events are great for relationship building, getting to know people way better than you could ever do with videoconferencing. I don't miss the travel though!

How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?

I think the shift in the way we now engage with customers, partners, and our own employees will remain, to some extent, over the longer term. I think the productivity benefits that many have seen as well as reduced costs will mean that businesses will likely choose different operating models for different circumstances or requirements. I expect that there will be fewer large global events, many of which may continue online. I do hope that this will be balanced with more frequent local events.

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