Mark J Smyth

clock • 3 min read

What has been your personal highlight of 2020?

The lockdown has forced us all to do things differently. I've wanted to visit Cornwall for some years but always ended up taking a break in Europe! This year when restrictions lifted in July and with no option to fly, we managed to ditch Zoom for a few days and tour the Cornish coast.

While I'd visited on business previously, I never really had the opportunity to explore some of the many beaches - 300 to be precise - and the coastal towns. Of course we only managed few out of the 250 miles of coast but it was so beautiful, with stunning scenery and beaches and very nice restaurants. It's changed my views on holidaying in the UK and has been a personal highlight this year. We will certainly be going back!

Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?

Donald Trump, for the hell of it.

Russell Brand, a great mix with Trump, to stir it up!

David Beckham, hopefully he'd have some calming insights and influence on the other two.

What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?

I'm not really much of a red meat eater and neither is my wife. However, we established over lockdown that our local village store does the best fresh and local beef burgers and I would regularly take advantage of the fine weather and barbeque at the weekend and enjoy a burger with all the trimmings in the outdoors. And of course a cold beer or two!

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

I'm compelled to say Enrique Lores, our CEO of HP. He's seamlessly transitioned to CEO, been a steady, safe pair of hands and ably steered us through these past 12 months and focused and encouraged everyone to make a difference.

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

There are two pieces of technology I use regularly: my laptop and iPad. The laptop's the business tool and it's used constantly from early morning until I finally decide to stop work and I also use it on the go when travelling. So the laptop wins, while I use the iPad more for sofa surfing while chilling.

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

It would have to be Jeff Bezos and I would instantly formulate a plan to utilise some of his billions of significant wealth to help positively impact and overcome global regions suffering extreme poverty and famine. The difference this could make in so many ways and so many countries would be astonishing.

Do you miss face-to-face events?

Absolutely. Depending on the kind of event or meeting, there's no better experience and outcome than physical engagement and interaction. It has the ability to drive better outcomes and results and I personally can articulate far more in person than on a Zoom or Teams call!

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

I believe the long-term change from COVID on the channel will be similar to many organisations with less travel and more home, remote working, while I personally feel it's about striking the right balance. I know from my own experience, I've always worked from an office and that's certainly set to change for many in the long term.

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