New channel recruit at EMC, Leo Lynch, joined the vendor three months ago after a long tenure with HP. He talked to MATTHEW SAINSBURY about opportunities in storage, social responsibilities in enterprise and BlackBerry devices.
What was your first job?
I started working in family businesses when I seven. My grandfather was a fl ower grower and we would sell what he grew at markets, such as Paddy’s. I did that until I was around 15. My fi rst real job was when I was at university where I worked for News Limited in its advertising department.
How long were you there for?
Only for nine months while I was in my fi nal year of university. At the same time I was fi nishing my studies, I did a number of campus interviews, which is when I got interviewed for HP, and I started there as a graduate in 1989.
How did you progress to where you are today?I stayed at HP for 19 years, where I did three or four major roles. One of the first things I did when I was with HP was help to set-up its distribution channel, which is similar to what I’m doing now at EMC.
What do you like about your current job?
I like that there’s a really diverse, and very dynamic environment at EMC. It’s great to be involved in an environment that is growing and offers lots of opportunities. Last year we bought Iomega, which is giving us opportunities in other market segments now, too.
What is biggest achievement of your career?
I don’t think I’ve got there yet – it’s still something to come in the future.
What are some of the highlights up until this point?
Setting up new distribution businesses has been a definite highlight through my career – I’ve done a few now, such as setting up Tech Pacific for HP, as well as the storage business, or consumables for HP. I’m currently setting up distribution for Iomega for EMC and expanding the business from Westcon Group, now with Ingram Micro.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
Dislike is a strong word, but what we as an industry can do more of is involvement in the community. Individual companies do things with charities, but as an industry, we could do more of it together.
What are some of the initiatives you’d like to see?
I think we could do things like getting disadvantaged children access to IT. There’s a big discrepancy in education at the moment – private school kids have easy access to the best equipment, while underprivileged kids are missing out.
What will be the next big thing?
I came from PCs, servers and printing, and one of the reasons I came to EMC was for storage. You can put off buying a PC or printer or even a server for a certain period of time, but storage you can’t put off, even in this economic climate. Data is growing so quickly and it needs to be stored. There are so many opportunities for services around storage too, at the moment.
What are some developments happening over the next 12 months in storage?
For us it’s the expansion of being involved in enterprise and government. The real growth opportunities we see are in the mid-market and SMB.
What’s the main focus for EMC this year?
It’s all about expanding our distribution and taking market share.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I have two young kids, and they keep me very busy. I try to exercise when I can, but spending time with my kids takes up most of my spare time.
Do you like gadgets?
I couldn’t live without my BlackBerry. I only got it when I started with EMC, and now I’m quite addicted to it – that little orange light flashing at 4am in the morning is hard to ignore. I prefer to have one or two gadgets and know them quite deeply – I’m not going to grab the latest, and I’m not an early adopter. I prefer to wait until people around me know the technology and then I’ll leverage their knowledge.
What are some of the other interesting gadgets you see out there?
I’ve got a digital SLR Canon camera. Photography is a big thing for me – particularly when you have kids and you’re watching them do sports and concerts and the like. The interesting thing is that people are choosing not to print so much. My nine-year-old on her Mac at home can make a movie in 30 seconds. So it’s exploding in so many directions.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
An astronaut. I remember being three or four the day Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, and I remember the front page of the paper – I can still picture it today. It took a while to sink in – what my dad was telling me that there was a person physically on the moon – and then it blew my mind.
How far along did you get in achieving that dream?
Not very far. I got as far as the air cadets at school, and then realised that to get in to be a pilot and then astro aeronautics, you have to be good at math, and math wasn’t my strong point. Through school, I was much better at English and essay writing.
What’s your biggest ambition?
My biggest ambition is simply to have a happy, fulfilled life. I was actually talking about this to someone the other day – at my last gasp of air I want to have no regrets, and to give my children the best possible future I can.