What was your first job? Todd Parsons: My very first job was pouring petrol at a petrol station when I was 15. I was a servo man in Nelson, New Zealand, where I was born. Nelson is a summer hub and it was a bit of a summer job.
How did you end up in the IT industry? TP: I studied a bachelor of Commerce in marketing and information systems at Otago University. My first job was a sales support assistant for HP New Zealand working with the channel team. It was straight out of university and into that job.
How did you progress to where you are today? TP: I was with HP for 13 years and I started off in sales support before moving into account management. I then moved to managing the channel team and then the NZ channel and sales team. I relocated to Australia in 2000 where I took on a marketing services role. From there I became the director of consumer marketing for them until 2003. When I left HP I took some time off and moved to Sun Microsystems for six or seven years and there I started looking after its channels before moving into commercial area sales.
Why move to Australia? TP: My wife and I wanted to live and work overseas and we originally targeted Europe. We thought Australia would be a good stepping stone and it got us into the larger side of HP, but we kind of never left. Both of our families relocated to Australia and I guess we wanted to go for the right opportunities.
What do you like about your current job? TP: NetApp is changing, it’s growing rapidly and that’s a very exciting environment to be in. NetApp is still relatively small compared to what it wants to achieve, so access to the people that make the decisions and the executive level has been really refreshing.
What do you dislike the most about the IT industry? TP: The pace at which the industry changes. I like that change because it keeps the role exciting and challenging, but at times the change can be quite transformational and dynamic so you’ve got to keep continuously re-energising to keep up with that. I wouldn’t call it a grind, but it is challenging.
What is the biggest achievement of your career? TP: My tenure in the industry. I’ve worked for three large multinational organisations that have great brands. To be part of their rapid growth in the industry and be energised by that is fantastic.
What is the focus of your company over the next 12 months? TP: From the channel sides there’s one key observation of mine, which is that I want to build a stronger channel based on real co-dependency. For NetApp to scale and grow as a business we need to build a strong channel model. The reason I’m here is because we’re investing in that side of the business.
What do you do when you’re not at work? TP:Right now I have a new family, including an 18-month-old daughter who is an absolute joy, so I spend a lot of time being a dad. She’s fantastic and I can’t quote anything else to the press that my wife could read. I also love snow-skiing and scuba diving as well as camping and other outdoor activities. I’ve scuba dived in New Zealand, Maldives, Hawaii and all over the place.
How is it being a new dad? TP:I’ve left it quite late in my life so my wife and I were married for ten years before we had children. We’ve done a lot of things that we wanted to do so right now being a dad is a great experience.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? TP:I had a computer from the age of seven and I was absolutely fascinated by them. When I was young I wanted to be a programmer and while that’s where I went with my degree, I didn’t end up there. I don’t regret it because I’m still in the industry and I get to see everything it can bring.
What is your biggest ambition? TP:My biggest ambition is to work for a great brand because that’s what ultimately motivates me. I don’t necessarily strive for the top job. I strive for a job I can add value in and where I feel happy that I’ve contributed. The rest is a bonus.