What has been your personal highlight of 2021?
Professionally, launching (within Cisilion) my own ‘fireside chat' with a panel of 8ish of our customers across different sectors and size. I'd wanted to do this for a while to increase my ‘personal brand' while working more closely with our key customers to help talk about various technology areas, new tech and how technology is helping (or not) solve key business challenges. Our marketing team at Cisilion did a fantastic job of recording and editing these. We are just about to start Season 2 and will be featuring more special guests this year from the tech industry, so tune in: https://youtu.be/Fmf3bM9e4Lo
Personally, being able to get toilet rolls and petrol without queuing for two hours!
Which tech figurehead has impressed you the most this year, and why?
That's a tough one - when you are passionate about all facets of technology, the figurehead(s) I admire are more than one. It's therefore a tough call but I'm going to call it… The continued leadership and innovation of Microsoft under the lead of Satya Nadella continues to amaze - Microsoft is climbing the Gartner Quadrants in pretty much every area from collaboration (Teams, obviously) to ERP and CRM (with Dynamics) and across the security stack. What is outstanding is that many of the ‘once' competition seem to be changing tact to a partnering approach rather than compete standpoint.
Which one lockdown habit do you plan to keep going?
Not commuting to the office to ‘just go to work'. Let me explain - I really do believe that the pandemic (let's be honest, it's still not truly over), has changed work for many for ever. The world (well my team, colleagues, friends, customers) have all done exceedingly well this past 18 months - productivity is up, sales up, time with family up. I do and will be going to see customers, my team and vendors but for focused work, this will not be in the office…
Of course, we are all different, but for me, working hours that suit, on an output basis rather than 9-5 slave fits me, my family and I truly believe, our company and our customers. "Work is a thing we do - not a place we go."
Which face-to-face industry event are you most excited to return to, and why?
Assuming I earn my stripes this year, the Microsoft Most Valued Professional Summit in Redmond, WA. I been an MVP for three years so far and it's not yet been in person. Everyone in the MVP community that has been in the flesh says it's fantastic - on topic, on-focus, and a small like-minded group.
Outside of that - there's going to be so much to choose from here in the UK. Virtual is ok. The trouble is really ‘being in the event' - when it's in person I feel more ‘connected to the event'. Virtual, its easy to ‘take that call' or ‘attend that meeting', instead of really focusing on being at the event you intended to be at!
If you had the time to learn one new skill, what would it be?
Yes time… I guess it is cheating to say time management isn't it! On a serious note, in my new role as CTO, I feel I need to learn from experts and more experienced individuals on how to tell, better solution focused, technology stories. I see keynotes and think "wow!". I know I can do better.
If you could go back in time and tell your childhood self one thing, what would you say?
Professionally, if something you want seems too hard to achieve, that is good. It means you are halfway there. Find someone to help you focus on breaking down the barriers and make it happen.
Personally, always make sure you buy loads of toilet rolls… oh, and make sure the car is filled up with petrol (or buy a Tesla!)
If you had to sing karaoke, what would be your song of choice?
Please tell me we aren't doing this at the CRN Channel Awards this year! In my early 20s (the last time I probably did it), it would have been Living Next Door To Alice - and yes, that would be after a good glass of Dutch courage!
Sum 2021 up in three words.
"You're on mute."