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2:02pm Wednesday 8th June 2011 in Q&A
Describe your job in plain English
Cogapp is going through a period of rapid growth and transformation. My role as director of strategic projects is to work with our managing director, Alex Morrison, and fellow directors to explore new business opportunities in a range of sectors and to help plan how Cogapp can maintain its reputation for innovation and technological achievement in digital media.
How would your colleagues describe you?
If you asked them now, they would probably describe me as “grandad”! My daughter, Lucy, gave birth on June 2.
Seriously, though, I hope they would describe me as an experienced, entrepreneurial digital professional with a track record of achievement in journalism, media, and the internet industry.
There would also be a mention of the mighty Manchester United: I’m a fan and the club is a longstanding client. And there would definitely be a mention of data: I love it.
Your idea of a good time – highbrow or lowbrow?
Holidays in Greece and Italy, because I studied ancient Greek and Latin. City breaks in Europe and beyond, because my wife and I love art galleries, museums….and fine restaurants. Otherwise, it’s EastEnders on the sofa – and football. I have season tickets at the Amex. What is the best thing about working at Cogapp?
In the heart of the country’s most vibrant city, I’m surrounded by smart, young people who are shaping the future through their expertise and hard work. They teach me a lot – including how to have fun.
And the worst?
Coming to terms with the fact I didn’t join the Cogapp team sooner – instead of commuting to London for most of the last 25 years.
Best advice you’ve been given?
To marry my wife, Sue - when 29 years ago, on the beach at Lyme Regis, she got me to focus on the important things in life.
Worst advice you’ve been given?
Prepare for the worst.
Who’s your business guru?
My son, Tom, a born entrepreneur who was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Davos, when he was only 17.
Business lunches – ‘just water for me, thanks’ or ‘can I see the wine list’?
It depends on my guest. But as a former journalist, I find a modest glass of wine helps inspire conversation and ideas. Although the Fleet Street days of the “two bottler” have long since gone.
Dragons’ Den or The Apprentice?
Dragon’s Den, definitely – because of the judges, the presenter and the participants. The Apprentice, never. For the same reasons.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
All my pleasures – which are many and varied - are entirely innocent. Or, at least, until proven otherwise.
What was the last book you read?
Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie…while on holiday in Luxor, Egypt. As well as The Histories, by Herodotus.
What was the last album you bought?
My album collection is almost entirely pre-1979 [Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Joan Baez, Neil Young]; since then, I’ve been mainly filling in the gaps. But Josh Ritter is a 21st-century addition.
What is your favourite movie?
Manhattan – to remind me how brilliant Woody Allen can be. Or Four Weddings and A Funeral – to show I’m not embarrassed to be gentle-hearted and strangely romantic.
Married. Happily (see above).
Most detestable piece of business speak?
I find the repetition of the phrase “going forward” is distracting. But I try hard not to detest anything or anyone. Sometimes, I need to try harder!
What’s your business motto?
Know thyself [Seventh-century ancient Greek inscription at Delphi].