What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
A lowlight would have to include rupturing my Achilles in the middle of January - welcome to your 40s, Mr. Turnbull - but my absence from the office (good practice pre-COVID) has not hindered progress. The highlights for me would be receiving our third nomination in a row for a CRN Award, which is a great honour.
We were also approached to deliver a number of critical projects for several global organisations with incredibly complex requirements involving world firsts. This was important for me as it recognised the abilities of Pentesec's team and allowed the business more opportunities to work at an international level despite working around the impacts of COVID.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
Elon Musk, David Blaine and Martin Johnson. They're notoriously eccentric and engaging people who excel in areas I find interesting and they have a little bit of unpredictability about them that would make the party memorable.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
An increase in red wine orders paved the way for an investment in some home gym equipment. Very much needed given my injury (and increased calorie count!) I will not reference the brand for fear of an influx of requests as about one in three of the Zoom calls I have had in recent months has led to a conversation about this community or possible cult.
It has been a godsend for my recovery and has allowed me to push myself in a different way and a welcome break from the home office.
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
Great question, but I am opting for an alternative answer and an unsung hero. A friend of mine, Kevin, is an Advanced paramedic, who was involved in the initial triage of COVID-19 and the set-up of the NHS Nightingale facilities.
He was featured in a BBC documentary recently, so I gained a greater insight into his day and the courage of all those involved in keeping the public safe. Frankly, what I do is a cakewalk in comparison, and we are very fortunate that people such as my friend are prepared to step up and do what they do. It is very inspiring and makes me proud to know that we support such organisations as a business.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Did I mention that I can order my wine from an app, while riding the gym equipment that shall not be named, which happens to be connected to the internet? Honestly, collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have allowed Pentesec to continue moving forward, keeping us sane with a little bit of social normality in these strange times.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
I thought long and hard about this for several days, weighing up what's important to me and who I am inside.
I think I'd be Batman.
Do you miss face-to-face events?
I have even missed the routine of the commute. Mostly, I have missed being with the team and our partners. More than events, I appreciate the social elements of our roles in the channel. It will be interesting to see how engagement will change when restrictions are eased.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
COVID has forced the channel to transform and pivot to sell different and more applicable technologies for the world we currently live in. Unsurprisingly cloud has seen a massive increase as businesses have rushed to migrate to keep their services running and their staff working.
As a business, the way we operate has evolved and collaboration has increased in ways I was not expecting. We're holding more virtual meetings and can carry out support work remotely. Many tasks can be completed in creative ways, meaning engineers no longer need to travel across Europe as often to deliver projects.
But there is a balance and I think long term we will be more likely to question the way we do things and whether traditional approaches give the best results. Whatever happens next, it will be a while before people take seeing each other in person for granted.
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