What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?
Right now, changes in the way products are consumed, the network infrastructure and business organisation. Being agile enough to embrace these trends whilst keeping your feet firmly on the ground is key. Having experienced many changes myself, I know the key is to embrace the new, but also not to be afraid to let something go if it doesn’t work for you. The big change everyone is talking about is, of course, the ISDN switch-off. Luckily for me, I have first-hand knowledge from other countries that have gone through the same change, so am well prepared to help businesses through this.
Where do you see the next big opportunity?
We should stop talking to clients about on-premise, hosted, cloud, hybrid cloud, ISDN, SIP etc. and remember that our job is to connect businesses to their customers and to deliver the optimum solution for each client’s needs. It is for us, not them, to know the intricacies of how this is done. Connectivity will become the basis of our industry, with everything else just a service on top. So, the next big opportunity is to build a set of stable foundations on which to build your skyscraper.
What would make your day job easier?
Two pieces of advice spring to mind:
1 Sell what you have got, not what you haven’t got; and
2 If the deal doesn’t make business sense, don’t do it.
If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?
This is the perpetual conundrum: I enjoy what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it; and if I had done things differently, I wouldn’t be doing what I enjoy. They say that with hindsight you gain 20/20 vision; my 20/20 vision suggests I got it about right first time round.
Describe your most embarrassing moment.
People who know me know I have a very bad memory for names, which can get me into embarrassing situations. This is not the worst example, but it demonstrates how bad the problem is. In the early ‘80s, I walked into a waiting room where about six people were sitting, and asked which of them was Stephen Fry! Only after he stood up did I connect the name with the person I had seen so many times on TV. www.clackstone.uk
What was your first job?
Between school and further education I worked at Ordnance Survey, updating maps of southern Birmingham. Quite a different industry to the one I ended up in, but with certain parallels – working with microwaves, lasers, satellites; doing complex calculations; planning – all of which I would do again in my career in comms.
What would be your dream job?
A job that allowed me to make a living, working from my home office, with hours to suit me…Oh wait, I have it already.
Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you drive it?
I used to take a keen interest in cars but find today’s models lack the style and innovation of the classics of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. So, a Citroen DS or a Jag MKII, on winding roads in a rural backwater, taking life at a slower pace.
Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?
I think what’s most important is who you are eating with. My first requirement is friends and family, then the food must be good (and plentiful). I would prefer a good curry and several beers with close friends than fine dining in a room full of strangers.
Favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere that’s not cold and snowy. I don’t do winter sports.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
Two things consume all my spare time. The first is cycling, on my mountain bike or road bike – I enjoy both. The second is beekeeping. I am an active member of my local beekeeping association and the rewards are very sweet