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A life abroad

A life abroad

What was your first job?

I worked as a barman at the Bull and Bush Hotel in Baulkham Hills pulling beers. That’s how I put myself through university. It was a fun time and I was a young student who’d just left high school. It was a little bit rough in the 70’s and quite the experience. Now it’s become very civilised.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

I studied Arts Law at Sydney University and my first job after finishing my degree was as an articled clerk at a legal practice. I became a solicitor for a small law firm and worked there for four to five years. I then found law kind of boring because while it sounds grandiose it’s actually quite dull. It’s mostly about filling out forms. So I got a job working as a salesman working for Kodak selling their Computer Aided Retrieval systems. I was successful, made a lot more money and enjoyed the thrill of the hunt being in a sales role.

How did you progress to where you are today?

I decided I wanted to travel a lot and live in other countries. I’ve spent 23 out of the last 28 years working overseas. That’s eight years in the UK, two years in Switzerland, eight years in Hong Kong, six months in Germany and five years in Singapore. I worked in a series of sales jobs and then moved to marketing. In the last 10 years I’ve gone into the channel with companies like Cisco where I was the vice-president of marketing and channel programs for North Asia based in Hong Kong from 1996-1998. Then I did that with Avaya for Asia-Pacific based in Singapore from 2000-2005. Since then I’ve done some consulting and in the last three years I’ve worked for Nortel Enterprise in its voice and unified communications division.

What do you like about your current job?

I like that it’s a small, young, dynamic and expanding, start up company in Asia and we’re building things from scratch. The revenue is growing by between 30-40 per cent per annum so it’s a boom time for the company in Asia. We’ve all done our stints in shrinking companies so it’s good to be in one that’s growing.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

Being able to survive as the Westerner in Asia. To thrive, be successful and get things done there. When I first arrived in Asia I didn’t know how to get things done but since then I’ve learnt to achieve results from a revenue and goal point of view.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

Sometimes I find some of the people’s attitudes a bit cowboy-like. People aren’t always as straight as they should be. I would like the industry to be a little more professional sometimes. Sales and pre-sale certification is a good thing. It is something I would support.

What will be the ‘next big thing’ in the industry?

It’s how we fill up the networks. Applications like video conferencing are really going to be the next big thing. People have talked about it a lot but I think it’s finally coming. Applications on the Web are also becoming real things thanks to the NBN and faster broadband.

What is the main focus for your company this year?

To grow the channel. We don’t believe we’re covering the market as well as we should because we’re really in take-off mode so it’s really about growing the breadth of the channel, which means disties and tier 1 resellers. We could’ve done better but we’re turning the place around by hiring good people. We’ve now decided we’re going to invest in A/NZ, in people and in new offices.

What do you do when you are not at work?

I like to travel and that’s one of my highest priorities. I really love Sri Lanka and I loved the curry there. I visited the east coast where I helped build houses for the Tsunami Appeal. I also like spending time with my two beautiful daughters, who are aged 13 and 15, as well as my mates and friends. I also like going off to the rugby and cricket. Rugby union is probably my favourite. I played league at school and union on weekends and after playing the game constantly for 15 years I actually prefer union. It’s because of the style of game and the people you meet. There’s a lot more camaraderie because you always hang around the club house and have a few beers with the lads. I still back the Wallabies and NSW in Rugby League, which is a hopeless cause.

Do you like gadgets?

I’ve got an iPhone because it’s really a very good phone. I like the touch features and it’s easy to use. I haven’t gone in for an iPad yet because I’m trying to work out if I need it when I’ve got an iPhone and two laptops.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I left school I was pretty confused as to what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer but eventually I got into IT and I must say I’m very happy. I’m sure I made the right decision.

What is your biggest ambition? I’d like to have a job where I run Asia. So vice-president for Asia would be the next logical step and I think I’d enjoy that. The current person is a friend and a very good manager so I’ll have to wait for him to be promoted up the company.

  • LifeSize is a division of Logitech that aims to produce high-definition video communications products

  • The company is based in Austin, Texas and has a channel network that spreads over 80 countries.

  • It was founded in 2003 and has around 9000 customers around the world.

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