What has been your personal highlight of 2021?
Since our acquisition by Wayside Technology Group in late 2020, 2021 was something of a fresh start. My biggest highlight this year has been launching Grey Matter in North America and the significant engagement that we are already getting with the developer community.
Which tech figurehead has impressed you the most this year, and why?
It has to be Satya Nadella. I was interested to see how the pandemic and other global pressures would influence Microsoft's strategy. Satya has continued to set clear objectives around sustainability and inclusion, aligning his management team to scale this through the partner community. This shows the power of inspirational leadership and clear goals - long-term growth and relevance is dependent on more than just increasing the bottom line.
Which one lockdown habit do you plan to keep going?
Focus time - going into lockdown led to more Teams meetings for all of us, as every small chat became a ‘meeting' filling up the calendar. Using Outlook to automatically schedule in focus time each week has allowed me to build in space to follow up on actions, respond to messages and actually have some thinking time.
Which face-to-face industry event are you most excited to return to, and why?
I have really missed running our ISV Partner day in person; the opportunity to meet informally with so many great people producing innovative tech products has been a big gap this year. I never thought I would say that I'm missing going to Las Vegas but not having Microsoft Inspire in person really shows the value of the event; the online sessions just don't enable the meetings or buzz that you get in person.
If you had the time to learn one new skill, what would it be?
I would learn another language. The last year has shown us the value of travel, connections and working together, both in and out of business. I would like to get myself more ingrained with other cultures and my GCSE French doesn't really cut it.
If you could go back in time and tell your childhood self one thing, what would you say?
It's very basic but it would just be, "you are alright". I think that so many of us are held back by nagging doubts in our younger years and one of the benefits of experience is that you realise that nearly everyone is in the same boat. There are many things that I wished I did at an earlier age but luckily I plan on living for a long time so there is still plenty of chance!
If you had to sing karaoke, what would be your song of choice?
Had to…? I would start with The Killers' Mr Brightside, an upbeat song with lots of energy.
Sum 2021 up in three words.
It's getting better.