Booting up home automation

Booting up home automation

Intel's Thomas Tapsas waves the flag for home automation, healthy margins and the Magpies

What was your first job?

My first job was at Target when I was 15, where I was the security guy at the front checking bags. I've spent my life working - my father ran a supermarket, so as a youngster I stacked shelves.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

As I was growing up I discovered I had a passion for PCs. When I built my first PC, the processor that went into it was from Intel. I couldn't get a job at Intel initially, because we didn't have much of a local presence in the early 1990s, so I started working for Olivetti.

After that I had a job with Samsung Electronics managing sales. I learnt a lot about the components business which really prepared me for my job at Intel in 1998, when I finally got in.

What positions have you held at Intel over the past 10 years?

I have been the channel manager for the Platform Networking Group, as well as channel account manager for the southern region incorporating Victoria, South Australia and New Zealand. I was also the Internet channels manager in 1999-2000 before the dotcom bust. I am now the area sales manager.

What do you like about your current job?

I love the channel. I know the distributors I deal with well, and they know me. I also enjoy the challenge of having an impact with those customers. For instance, I used to manage the networking business for Intel, and when we announced wireless everyone looked at me strangely when I said that this is where this industry is going to go. \

Today wireless is everywhere, so I've enjoyed that aspect of being at the forefront of technology adoption and watching it proliferate.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

Knowing that the customer is not only growing but happy and profitable is an achievement in today's environment, and to do that consistently year after year is a huge achievement for us and the channels that support us.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

I dislike the commoditisation of product and the low margins sometimes attracted out there. In my role I see the broad spectrum - from distribution and channels to system integrators, traders and sub-distributors. It's a big environment, and I'd like people to make healthy margins and be rewarded for the work they do. I really dislike people selling at a loss.

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