Richard Blanford

CEO, Fordway Solutions

clock • 3 min read
Richard Blanford

What has been your personal highlight of 2021?

Not many  really. Like most of us, I'm pretty sure the easing of the pandemic has been the most significant happening this year. My band playing our first live gig for more than a year, the return of rugby and other sports and attending a couple of excellent concerts recently are all up there.

Both children actually returning to university rather than logging on from home has also been welcome.

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

I couldn't say impressed, but the wrangling/willy waving between two of the richest men in the world, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk has been entertaining, particularly over the space race they are both pursuing; it's like a playground spat with very expensive lawyers.

Facebook's ongoing issues around privacy and its effects on society, which rightly need to be investigated and controlled, and the continual wrangling over who has/hasn't won US government cloud contracts has also kept me entertained.

On a more serious note, the work Tim Berners-Lee and his team with support from the BBC are doing to improve personal data privacy and security with the Solid initiative is worth keeping an eye on. I think this will be one of the breakout technologies in 2022.

Which one lockdown habit do you plan to keep going?

Getting up later. I'm naturally an owl and a combination of working from home and less traffic on my commute, which since lockdown I now normally do on a motorbike or bicycle, has allowed me to set the alarm clock an hour later on weekdays. Bliss!

Which face-to-face industry event are you most excited to return to, and why? Any event that involves interesting content, face-to-face contact, a bar or decent restaurant and hopefully a round of golf or sporting occasion.

If you had the time to learn one new skill, what would it be?

After 35 years playing rugby, at the age of 46 I started playing five-a-side football, and more recently veterans 11-a-side. Even after some years of playing I'm pretty sure the opposition would be grateful if I could tackle cleanly and less physically.

If you could go back in time and tell your childhood self one thing, what would you say?

Life is full of surprises and opportunities; your course in life is not pre-ordained. Embrace change and new experiences. If you don't try them, you'll never know if you enjoy them.

If you had to sing karaoke, what would be your song of choice?

If I've had enough to drink then Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns and Roses; if less alcohol has been consumed then Mustang Sally, the Wilson Pickett standard that pretty much everyone has covered.

I wouldn't say either would be that pleasant for the audience. I'm the drummer in a pub rock band that gigs regularly and they won't let me have a microphone when we're playing live, which should give you a fair idea of the quality of my singing.

Sum 2021 up in three words.

Roll on 2022!

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