What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
The travel I was able to squeeze in. We made it to Madeira for a holiday in early March, a breathtaking island to visit if you enjoy walking. We also went to Wales in September and learned the basics of abseiling (don't fall too fast).
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC, and Kevin Bridges of Scottish comedy fame.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
Clearly I live a life that is too puritanical for anything guilty, but with the sun out over the summer I loved working while in the garden, and the look on people's faces as they saw blue sky behind me on calls.
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
I should perhaps say Eric Yuan for the incredible way that Zoom has scaled without issue in the face of insane growth, but I think I'll go for Charity Majors who leads an excellent team at honeycomb.io.
Very few people understand distributed systems and true observability beyond marketing hype, and she does great work to promote this.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Hardware: I bought some Jabra wireless earbuds that have made conference calls while walking a pleasant reality. Software: G-Suite for keeping me connected to our teams and allowing real-time collaboration that just works
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
Right now, I'd be one of the airline pilots still flying internationally, with a view to seeing just a little bit of another country and enjoying travel again. Ideally an A380 somewhere longhaul.
Do you miss face-to-face events?
Yes. I don't think you can replace that human connection and buzz of excitement that you get from a well-run in-person event. Perhaps not all of them though...
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
There are plenty of positives around distributed working, definitely - and some travel and events will sensibly remain online I think, which can only be good for work-life balance and the planet. Projects that once had to be delivered on-site have in fact been delivered just fine from a distance.
I do however think a lot of activity will revert to prior patterns eventually, perhaps from early summer 2021. I think everyone has, or is, upgrading their online presence to ensure the user experience is as effective as it can be when everything is coming in via a digital channel.
I also believe we've seen a digital tipping point reached, where even the cloud laggards have seen that they need to move faster and embrace real technology change.
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