I was born in January 1965 – not in a hospital but in a house in Twickenham, Middlesex (as my mother once said, I was ‘home-made’). Since then I’ve lived in Isleworth, Shiplake (near Henley), Hounslow, Shepperton, Upper Halliford, Knaphill (near Woking), and now Camberley. That’s quite a few schools I have listed on Friends Reunited.
Click on the photos below to see a larger version, particularly the group shot.
Despite being a bit of a swot and gaining 9 ‘O’ Levels and 3 ‘A’ Levels, I didn’t go to University… I was offered places at Hull and Swansea to read either Biology or Zoology, but I’d had enough of being a poor student by then… and I’ve never really had much of a tolerance for alcohol so I wasn’t suited to student life (I rarely drink now, something the wife is glad of because I always get the driving duties). I wasn’t interested in computers at that point – we did have one computer at Sunbury Six Form College, but it was always surrounded by a bunch of nerds playing a Space Invaders game that they’d written themselves using BASIC (you know who you are guys).
I commenced my working life in Central London, and my first job involved publishing the financial results of gold mining companies (I’m not making this up). My introduction to the industry that now pays my mortgage and finances my wife’s shopping expeditions was through using a computer to do sales statistics analysis for a division of Texaco. My interest gradually developed to the point where I become an IT person rather than a user. Since then I’ve worked for WordPerfect (as it was then), Toshiba, and Emstar (an energy management division of Shell) where I was a Netware administrator and developed applications using Lotus Symphony and Borland’s Paradox Application Language (Borland offered me a job, which I turned down in favour of Lotus Development… see below).
Up to the end of May 2011 I worked for the IBM Software Group. I joined Lotus Development in 1991 and then Lotus joined IBM through an acquisition in the mid-1990s. I started as a Technical Support Specialist for 1-2-3, Symphony and Approach, then made it to the dizzy heights of Assistant Team Leader and then Team Leader. I moved to Corporate Sales as a Systems Engineer in October 1994, and worked my way up the management hierarchy, eventually holding the role of Regional Technical Sales Manager for Lotus Software (covering the UK, Netherlands and South Africa) until the end of 2003. Following a reorganisation I turned down the new management role I was offered (becoming very unpopular in the process) and moved back to a technical role as a consultant in the Messaging & Collaboration Solutions team. In 2005 I took on the role of Messaging & Collaboration Business Unit Leader for UK, Ireland and South Africa, and then in June 2009 became the Messaging & Collaboration Business Unit Executive for North East Europe. In April 2010 I moved back to a UK-only role so that I could spend less time at Scandinavian airports.
At the end of May 2011 I made the decision to leave IBM and joined one-time enemy Microsoft – I’m now working in the Business Productivity team for enterprise accounts (along with a number of ex-IBM and Lotus colleagues).
And in my spare time…? Hey, I don’t get any spare time. I don’t get to see Arsenal as often as I’d like to any more (that’s an understatement), but I don’t mind because now I spend time with my lovely wife Maria, my gorgeous daughter Lauren our peanut-brained dog Missie the Yorkipoo and our new puppy Ruby. I like gardening (but only in the Summer) and I don’t like DIY unless it’s something easy I can finish in a day. I dabble in magic, and on a clear night you may spot some idiot in my back garden peering through the eyepiece of an astronomical telescope. In the past two years I’ve been tracing my family history and have got back to the mid-1700s in some branches of the tree.
When I’m in the car, I’ll be listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, Incubus, the Foo Fighters, the Beatles, Manic Street Cleaners, Pink Floyd, Supergrass… basically real music by real bands.
Talking of music, in my late teens and early twenties I played bass guitar with a few bands, the most notable being ‘Heaven Can Wait‘ – we played at the Rock Garden (in Covent Garden) and the Hammersmith Palais a few times, and our claim to fame was that we supported a band called Furniture who themselves had a Top 20 hit in the UK in 1986. How impressed are you now?