What was your first job?
McDonald’s… I joined when I was 14½ and left as soon as I got to uni. It was a great environment to learn the value of process, consistency and the importance of team work in a business setting. The mantra was QSC – quality, service, cleanliness. The social activity was great. Scarily, there is still a uniform stored in a box somewhere.
How did you get into IT?
Funnily enough, it began in primary school. I had access to a Tandy TRS-80, which ran Basic and used a TV as a screen and a cassette (tape, the thing before CDs, Discmans and iPods) to store programs. I learnt Basic because I accidently deleted the programs on the cassette, and had to retype them with two fingers. This drove me to learn to touch type and started my fascination with all things IT.
What do you think you would have done if you didn’t enter the IT industry?
Tough question. Ideally, I would have continued my car rallying and become a professional navigator on the world stage, then retire after winning a WRC (World Rally Championship) or two with Subaru and manage the WRC team. Some may ask, why a professional navigator? Well, I love the sport, but I know my limitations as a driver – quick, but not a Sebastian Loeb.
Is there anything in particular that you don’t like about the IT industry?
The IT industry is great. It’s dynamic, innovative and full of really diverse personalities, but the one thing that does frustrate me is the willingness to throw margin away.
If your children were to follow you and have careers in IT what advice would you give them?
Learn what you can about as many areas of the industry early, including programming, infrastructure design, and management and solution selling. Don’t make a decision on a path too early. Innovation and change is constant in the industry, so what may be the best opportunity for you today is often easily superseded tomorrow. My general advice to my children – and to everyone else – would be the Confucius saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
What do you do when you’re not working?
Family/kids/extreme sports? It’s a lot of family and kids and a little bit of handyman activity around the house. Both my children are still young, which provides mountains of fun and distraction. When they are older I want to get back into mountain biking, and rallying. With rallying, I would ideally want to be on the driver side, not the navigator side, doing something like Targa Tasmania on the tarmac, and some local club events on the dirt. We recently did a Bungy Swing with our NZ partners in Queenstown and that was a hoot. I think the saying is “reminds you that you are alive”. So I am not adverse to a little bit of extremeness.
If there was something you could change about yourself what would it be?
I think I am a little too content to change something right now. If I could sneak 25 hours into a day, then there would be a commitment to exercise or to go to a gym. But I also like sleep….