5 mins with: Christopher Ride, managing director of Interactive

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This article appeared in the February, 2010 issue of CRN magazine.

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5 mins with: Christopher Ride, managing director of Interactive

CRN: You lived in seven countries before you were 20, including Burma, Tanzania and the USA. Has the experience helped you?

Christopher Ride: I went to 13 schools on six continents before I eventually settled in Melbourne. In my early years I witnessed three military coups, a category 5 hurricane, a 7.75 Richter scale earthquake, and lived in Tanzania in the midst of the war against Idi Amin. It seemed to me the perfect training for a career in the IT industry.

CRN: You climbed the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro, in 2005. What made you want to take on that challenge?

CR: I always promised myself I would make it to the top of Kilimanjaro by the time I was 40. It was a great experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to test themselves to the limit.

CRN: What was your academic highlight?

CR: I graduated from Memorial High School (Houston, Texas) with Michael Dell. If you had told me back then that he would go on to be one of the richest men in the world I would have thought you were certifiable [insane]. Nice guy, though.

CRN: What interested you about IT?

CR: When I entered the computer industry back in the mid-1980s as a field services engineer, computers seemed the new frontier. At the time, joining IBM as a techie seemed like the brave and progressive choice.

CRN: After eight years of working at Big Blue, what made you switch to a start-up called Interactive?

CR: I realised (sadly) that I was better with people than I was with computers and I wanted desperately to move into sales.

CRN: What steps did you take to get from sales person to managing director of Interactive?

CR: Coming from a technical background, I knew exactly what worked and what didn't, how to treat our valuable staff (and, in some ways, how not to treat them) and in many cases I understood what the customer expected from us. It was a natural progression from there.

CRN: What advice would you give fellow aspiring sales people?

CR: Your reputation for delivery will determine your long-term success. Only promise what you can definitely deliver - you will be surprised how flexible the customer is willing to be if he or she knows they can trust you.

CRN: How do you start your day?

CR: I just have a fruit juice in the car, and I never drive to work during peak hour.

CRN: What don't you leave the house without?

CR: My iPhone. It is the greatest productivity tool of all time.

CRN: You're also a distinguished fiction author with Random House. How do you fit writing and publishing books into your schedule?

CR: Writing started off as a hobby more than 20 years ago. Every night I would sit at my computer for a couple of hours and bash out a few pages until eventually, after countless years, I had a finished book.

CRN: If you were to write a book about your life what would it be called?

CR: "I did it my way..."


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