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60 seconds… with Tony Ford, Managing Director, Marston’s Telecoms

What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?

Tony Ford
Tony Ford

Demand from the technical reseller community; they are really embracing the adoption of voice and other services that they traditionally stayed away from. It means that the educational need is greater. However, the enthusiasm is enormous, which helps ease the pain of the stretch to accommodate them.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?

Most probably in IoT and IoE, but not just in monitoring and sensing. We believe there is a real need to add even more direct and made-for-purpose networks to support the more intricate and secure placing of a device at the end of a network. Sometimes it’s not enough just to go mobile and a real carrier class solution is the only answer.

What would make your day job easier?

I already have the best job and making it easier may take that excitement away. I really enjoy the complexity of our industry and its products, so easier really isn’t an option.

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?

When I was young I was very fortunate to work for some amazing industrialists who gave me time and advice. The one tip that always stands out was from the chairman of a FTSE 100 business who told me always to look between the cracks and really observe. Not everything is as it seems at first glance; detail is everything. I try to live by that, but doing so gets tougher every day.

If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?

Oh yes! The early days of the internet were amazing, but we really didn’t know what it was that we had. Being a shareholder and director of an internet service provider in the first few years was all about learning and development. Nothing was the same from one month to the next and we all struggled to make the most of it. Today, we know we didn’t have to worry because the growth was enormous – we just needed to focus our attention on service and quality, rather than trying to keep up with change… Doing so would have led to far better discussions with investors.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Going on the BBC to explain what SPAM was. I think I sounded rather vague, and when I listen back I realise I wasn’t funny at all.

What was your first job?

Management trainee at an engineering company.

Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car?

I am in love with Jaguars. I have owned a few, still do, and would like to have the new F Type. It’s on my list, so maybe…

What would be your dream job?

Manager of a rock band.

Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?

Fine dining definitely.

Favourite holiday destination?

USA. I love the differences in culture, even within a few miles.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

Mainly playing guitar. But I also like to play tennis and golf when I can.

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2018