What was your first job?
As I went through university, it was all outdoor labour stuff – fencing and roof tiling. I worked with the guy who lived next door to us, on a 50-acre property outside of Brisbane. There were eight of us in the family – I’m the fourth – and my family moved out into the sticks at that time, 25km out of Brisbane, so it was dirt tracks and bush.
What did you study at uni?
I did a Bachelor of Informatics, so a pure IT and science programming degree. My father, who was a doctor, had a friend at IBM doing core programmer and he got into computers very early from a GP point of view. Together, they wrote an accounting system for the practice, and every holiday I remember him bringing along the computer and program all night. As I grew up around it, I had an interest in it.
How did you progress to where you are today?
I understood IT, so I went and did the degree and things clicked. While I have never applied the pure computing side – I majored in artificial intelligence – I have used that logic discipline on the sales side and can sit outside myself and look at a logical path of decisions to achieve a goal. My first job out was doing Unix support as a helpdesk operator for Peter Elliott, another doctor who was big in the Unix scene and got into IT distribution. The company was called Q Unix at the time and changed its name to Release 4. They were selling SCO licences. My talent was selling.
I moved up the business ladder until Peter decided we’d go national, but he went broke in a short space of time. As more people left, I took on all kinds of jobs. When it was my time to go, I rang up our competitor, Micro Unix, and started as their Queensland branch manager.
From there, I moved to Sydney and became national sales manager, then general manager, then ran another business covering frame relay networking. An opportunity arose at Silicon Graphics when they were releasing their Intel chips and starting a channel business. I did channel marketing and programs there before getting poached by Compaq, who were looking for a NSW channel manager. I did four years with them then went to Dell after that, which was interesting because all of my background before then was channel. I moved to NetApp to set up the channel.
What do you like about the current job?
It’s a broader responsibility from a business management side, and taking something that was nothing but scorched earth and making it into something. It was nice to start from ground up. NetApp has an awesome culture and you have the freedom to build things yourself.