What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
The way my team responded to COVID. Every single one of them provided nothing short of an amazing contribution to keeping our business running while having to accommodate such personal challenge. This was especially true in how they helped all our clients, in particular the NHS. There were so many examples of courage, innovation, hard work and care for other humans which transcended and made more poignant our usual technology work.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
I could actually do with a Zoom party full of laughs right now. So I have decided to invite Will Farrell dressed in his Elf costume; Jürgen Klopp, who I have noticed has started to dress more like a fellow Scouser and Larry David just dressed like Larry David.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
I have noticed that I have been paying too much attention to my lawn. For some reason I became obsessed with making it look perfect and have been through a process of scarifying, top dressing, seeding and fertilising. I have even bought a robot lawn mower which I enjoy watching while drinking a cup of tea.
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
I have generally been inspired by what Bill and Melinda Gates have done to reduce inequality in the world. In particular their work on infectious diseases, which has become more real for many with COVID. I find the intelligent, empathetic and systematic way in which they approach these tremendous challenges amazing. If I want a balanced, competent view on COVID, I listen to what they say and predict. Of course, it is important to ensure that COVID is not just dealt with in the developed world but also quickly addressed in the developing to ensure we save as many lives as possible.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Meditopia - I have found meditating and becoming more aware has really helped keep myself calm and deal with the stress and anxiety that I am sure we have all felt to some level. It has provided a good focused series of meditations to help with motivation, sleep and work.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
I would want to be Pep Lindjers so I could work in close proximity to Jürgen Klopp. I have found the way he leads and manages to be nothing short of inspirational.
I am also really interested in how Liverpool FC is run, including the use of data to inform decisions on tactics and transfers, and how Jurgen motivates the team and prepares for matches and competitions. I know he must be doing something right as even Man Utd fans like him - deep down.
Do you miss face-to-face events?
I do - I don't really drink so much these days and I am also a bit of a hygiene freak so there have been some positives through hand washing and social distancing. However, part of what I enjoy is meeting clients and being around the energy of my team.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
I feel like there has been an increased level of camaraderie among all of us. I have spoken to many of my counterparts and other leaders and there has been a real sense of togetherness through this as life has been put into perspective. People have been willing to share and help.
There has also been a bit of a culture shift as technology people are now seen as sort of rock stars as technology has become so critical in our business and personal lives. It has helped us stay alive, stay in business and stay connected and sane.
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