Who am I?

FINDING THE REAL ME

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.” - Terry Pratchett

This quote from my favorite author, Terry Pratchett, really speaks to me. It seems like most of my life has been a journey to find out who I am, and what I am doing here, and I feel like there are so many facets of me that I have yet to discover. I suspect this is not unusual!
As an American citizen of British origin who has worked and travelled very broadly around the world, I have had many unusual experiences, and gained a unique insight into the world of business and technology, while retaining my passion for music and other creative outlets. I hope that comes across – along with my deep-seated sense of fun, enthusiasm, and curiosity!

ADVENTURER

There is a phrase in Robert A. Heinlein’s Glory Road that has had a profound impact on my life: “dum vivimus vivamus”, which translates as “while we live, let us LIVE!”

It’s this sense of existence as fleeting that has driven me to seek out new experiences and push myself beyond my fears – why I have travelled extensively, became a qualified skydiver and scuba-diver, got married in a hot air balloon, rappelled down waterfalls in Costa Rica, backpacked across South America, jumped from the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, canoed down a tributary of the Amazon, and participated in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (100 mile bike ride in one day) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (and become a parent!).

BUSINESS TECHNOLOGIST

My passion for leadership and empowerment, and an almost intuitive understanding of technology, has helped me excel in my career beyond anything I had imagined

I’ve taken a similarly adventurous and enthusiastic approach to my professional life, starting out in my teens with a PC manufacturer, and working my way across a range of sectors including financial, manufacturing, professional services, software development, business incubation, and the Internet of Things (IoT), for companies like KPMG, Blackstone & Severn Trent. I also left the corporate world twice to found startups in the fields of web development and IoT, and secured a patent.

This diverse career background gives me a unique perspective on the use of technology to solve real-world business problems. Combined with my ability to forge partnerships, inspire loyalty and attract top-tier talent, this allows me to catalyze change and act as an enabler in this time of business transformation.

MUSICIAN

I have always loved listening to music. One day in about 7th grade, a group came to perform at our school – this was my first introduction to synthesizers, and I was hooked!

I learned to play keyboards, started to meet other musicians, joined a few bands and was soon performing in gigs fairly regularly. This was really profound for me; there's something about the connection between musicians playing together – where you understand each other, and can anticipate and improvise on the fly – that is deeply personal and emotional. I have learned more about music and collaboration from my fellow band members than I ever did from any lesson. Since then, I've also picked up guitar, bass, and drums, started writing songs, and set up a recording studio in my basement.

CITIZEN

Named after the Nameless Knight of Arthurian legend, I’ve carried with me from an early age, a deep-seated set of personal values that underpin the way I behave, both personally and professionally

Commitment to these values carries across my business and personal life, and is part of the reason I've been able to recruit and retain diverse leadership teams, and get the best out of their different perspectives. It's also why I look for ways to help others with both funding and my personal time. This includes participation in Team In Training events, work-sponsored time helping underprivileged young men from the Eagle Academy record their own song, helping Habitat for Humanity to build a house, and working with Rise Against Hunger to package up food for children in need all over the world.
I’m keenly aware how fortunate I have been in my life, and am actively seeking out further opportunities to help others.

Here are some of the technologies I have expertise in. For my business skills, head over to the Thoughts section for articles on strategy and leadership – as well as technology and music, of course!

Amazon Web Services Logo

I have used AWS extensively, both in a startup, creating Internet-of-Things infrastructure, and within large enterprises, driving speed to market and cost optimization.

Having never used a universal repository manager before, I was astonished to discover the workflow benefits it brings, and unsure how I survived without one before!

Atlassian has a fine suite of products, and bitbucket is one of my favorite. I am a big fan of GIT anyway, and bitbucket seems to just work the way I want.

While it probably wouldn’t be my first choice as a development language for most projects, I love the consistency and power of C++, and was surprised at its relative simplicity

I have worked extensively with Cisco products, including network infrastructure (traditional and ACI), compute platform (UCS), and telephony (including call center)

When it comes to a comprehensive and prescriptive IT management and governance framework, you can’t go wrong with COBIT, created by ISACA

Confluence is a great tool for collaboration and information sharing, with an incredible amount of flexibility through extensions and plugins

Fortify is a solid choice for security-focused static code analysis (SCA), which is vital for any Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment pipeline to be effective.

Less well known than Mulesoft, IBM’s API Connect product is an extremely comprehensive and flexible platform that makes it easy to market and monetize APIs with fine-grained control.

I have worked with this suite of products, including Security Identity Governance and Intelligence, linked with Azure AD and other directory services to provide a identity repository.

ITIL Logo

While it is not as prescriptive as COBIT, ITIL is a broadly recognized and flexible framework that has stood the test of time, and version 4 brings a refreshed perspective to this industry standard

ITIL Logo

While it is not as prescriptive as COBIT, ITIL is a broadly recognized and flexible framework that has stood the test of time, and version 4 brings a refreshed perspective to this industry standard

While Java does, in my opinion, have its quirks, peculiarities and performance challenges, it still represents a very portable and flexible language that has a robust track record in the corporate and private markets

A good automation server is the cornerstone of any CI/CD environment, and Jenkins is the de-facto standard, with very flexible pipeline-as-code capabilities

Jira is the developer’s standard when it comes to issue management, and is a highly flexible tool, though I personally prefer the end-to-end capabilities of something like ServiceNow

jQuery is one of the most popular Javascript libraries, providing rich and extensive capabilities, and masking some of the inherent complexities in browser-specific rendering.

As a long time Mac user, I still enjoy the interface and the ease of use of the operating system, though I still miss some things from Windows

I love .NET as a platform, and visual studio in particular – it offers incredible power and flexibility at the tip of your fingers. I grew up with basic and visual basic, but C# has grown to be so much easier and more elegant.

Microsoft Azure Logo

Having worked with AWS for a long time, it took some getting used to Azure, but I have to admit to its having a certain clarity of vision and execution that I admire

I have worked with all versions of Exchange from 5.5 onwards, and been responsible for multinational implementations with replication and failover.

Microsoft Office 365 Logo

I played a key role in the architectural design and implementation of a global Office 365 deployment, setting the stage for consolidation and migration.

Though still not at feature parity with Skype, Microsoft Teams offers outstanding capabilities for collaboration, somewhat let down by its confused, almost v1.0, interface

Windows 10 is the latest iteration of Microsoft family of desktop operating systems, but I have worked with all versions starting from Windows 3.0, in small and large scale physical and virtual deployments

A fantastically flexible document-based database system, with sophisticated cloud-like capabilities make this an ideal solution for modern data-driven applications

Probably the most widely known (and used) open source database system, MySQL has typically lagged other database systems in terms of performance and features, but still has a strong place in many applications

Less popular than MySQL, PostgreSQL still has a lot going for it, including many NoSQL capabilities that you would typically find in database systems like MongoDB

Less popular than MySQL, PostgreSQL still has a lot going for it, including many NoSQL capabilities that you would typically find in database systems like MongoDB

Python is such a deceptively simple, yet incredibly powerful language that it is used in a broad range of situations, from teaching children to code, through to performing advanced data and analytics

The gold standard in enterprise Linux, with a portfolio of products to manage and support it, and a stable and standardized release cycle

Rubrik is one of those companies that you just can’t help but envy, with a range of solutions that pretty much turn data management on its head (and a price to match)

ServiceNow Logo

I have extensive experience with ServiceNow, having implemented, supported, and developed for it, and am a major proponent of the benefits of adoption of it as a core platform

Though Microsoft is now moving from Skype to Teams, it has to be said that Skype was a truly unique combination of products, that unified end user experience under a common interface.

SonarQube is a fantastic tool for managing code quality, especially in an environment with distributed development (as most organizations are becoming).

Microsoft SQL Server is probably most widely known for its prevalence and sprawl in the corporate landscape, but it also has a robust set of capabilities and there is a reason it is so popular in the workplace.

I have a broad familiarity with TOGAF, and the benefits (and downsides) it can generate.

VMWare revolutionized the corporate data center, driving down per-server costs and reducing heat and power loads everywhere, giving many their first glimpse of what a cloud could look like

Windows as a server operating system has come a long way from my first experiences of it as an upstart to Netware, and now offers a robust and practical platform for enterprises