ARN talks to GDB International's Gene Bridge.
What was your first job?
My early life was spent on a dairy farm on the South Coast of NSW. My first paid job was a surveyor's assistant laying out roads in a residential development at Berkeley, near Wollongong.
How did you end up in the IT industry?
My first years in the private sector were in the audio/video accessory importing and distribution business. In the early 90s we added computer accessories. In the mid-90s the video industry started converging with IT. The key elements for this were the massive leaps in processing speeds and the emergence of larger storage capacities. It was a logical step to be at the forefront of this convergence and GDB International has embraced it.
How did you progress to where you are today?
I completed a Bachelor of Economics degree at the Australian National University and took up employment in the Bureau of Statistics. My public service career took me to the National Capital Development Commission where I became the chief urban economist before joining the private sector in 1978 as a financial management consultant. Subsequently, I consulted to an importing/distribution company [Nord] in the audio/video business and decided I enjoyed that type of activity, so I became managing director. The company was sold in 1993 and in 1995 I started GDB International to concentrate on the emerging video market.
What do you like about your current job?
It is a constant challenge to keep abreast of the rapid changes taking place in IT and video. It is exciting to be involved in new technologies and to bring these to market. Operating in an environment where you can assess the results of your decisions in a relatively short timeframe has been a great attraction.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
Successfully managing a growing business with limited access to capital would have to be right up there.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
It still suffers from too many shonky manufacturers and resellers. The modus operandi is always price. This gives the industry a bad name and it places constant pressure on the margins of legitimate operators. At times it seems good old-fashioned qualities, such as honesty and integrity, are not associated with the IT industry. My other dislike is the lack of real service being provided by a lot of the major players.