What was your first job?
Garrison Huang (GH): My first job was as an assistant engineer at the Shanghai Research Institute of Microwave in China. I was mostly involved with microprocessor applications for remote sensing and real-time display. It was an interesting job because we were doing projects in many different cities.
How did you end up in the IT industry?
GH: For me it was a natural progression. I had always been interested in computers and technology, which is why I completed a degree in engineering and a diploma in computer systems engineering. Upon moving to Australia I made a lot of friends who were involved with IT and gradually I expanded my interest and experience.
How did you progress to where you are today?
GH: I arrived in Australia in 1989 as a student. I had $US160 in my pocket and a huge debt. While doing study, I also had to work as a process worker in a factory for about eight months. Everyday I had to wear a mask, ear protectors, glasses, boots and gloves. I could not afford a car, so I rode a bicycle to school and work. Later I was able to find a job as a test engineer in a German automotive instrument company. After that I worked for a further eight years as an engineer, including three years at HP Australia, before I ventured out to join with Victor Lee who is now my business partner. Anyware Computer Accessories is jointly owned and operated by Victor and myself. Victor first started the business in 1996 in Sydney and invited me to join him. Together we have grown Anyware from a two branch operation in Sydney and Melbourne to a six branch operation with additional offices in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Auckland.
What do you like about your current job?
GH: I enjoy working with computers. At Anyware, we have so many PC accessories to play with. Our business is focused on the application of PCs and devices that complement and enhance the experiences users have with their computers. We pride ourselves on being able to offer the A/NZ markets with the latest product offerings from both local and international suppliers. Being able to drive a business from nothing to a national and international company definitely gives me a sense of achievement.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
GH: Having been able to defeat a national competitor in a period of five years, Anyware today is a leading supplier of computer accessories in Australia.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
GH: Coupled with the fast pace and ever changing environment, product life cycles become shorter and shorter. On too many occasions, this industry is making changes for the sake of changes.
What do you think will be the 'next big thing'?
GH: I believe faster wireless broadband will create opportunities with new applications such as video on demand. Over time, we will see companies like Telstra suffering more because their competitors are equipped with newer technologies and are able to move a lot faster. I predict traditional TV broadcasters will somehow lose the game as the popularity of Internet steadily increases.
What is the main focus for your company this year?
GH: We will focus heavily on wireless networking. We will also introduce a new wireless media player which allows people to play movies on their TV, but the content can come from a PC on the wireless network. We will remain as a niche player in this IT distribution industry. We have just started a new ERP system and will launch our new website soon.
What do you do when you are not at work?
GH: I don't draw a clear line between work and leisure. I enjoy every day whether it be working days or weekends. I like traveling and fishing. Recently, I have been enjoying a round of golf.
Do you like gadgets? If so, what is your favourite?
GH: Our business is more or less built on gadgets. Anyware is the company which introduced the USB golf ball-like docking station, the USB cup warmer, the USB Christmas Tree and the USB massage ball to the Australian market. We recently released a robot dog webcam. I think this is a fun gadget and will be popular with families who have children.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
GH: I think it happened to many people my age in China: I wanted to become a scientist. When I graduated from high school I wanted to become a teacher until my own teacher, whom I had great respect for, told me that it was not a good idea.
If you weren't in IT, what would you be doing now?
GH: First of all, I wouldn't open a restaurant since I am not into cooking. I wouldn't open a milk bar or corner store either since I hate sitting down for long periods at a time. Could I be in real estate? I'm not sure, but I think I might be good at selling real estate. Would I still be my own boss? More than likely.
What is your biggest ambition?
GH: To write a best selling book.