My first car was an ancient Morris Minor, and it was wonderful. What struck me, though, was that if one took a wheel off, or even pulled out a wire from under the bonnet, then it was a useless lump of metal and rubber. This is where I got the idea – sometimes ignored by inventors of products – that things have to be properly finished, in order to be useful.
Long ago, I was a physicist, but by the time I left university I realised that I was more interested in what the science was for, rather than in the science itself. I went off to work in the electronics industry, and soon found myself in sales/marketing roles, having realised that all this electronics was useless unless it could be connected with people who were willing to pay money for it. After all those clever links in the design process, I was interested in making the last few links – so often ignored – to the paying customer. It turns out that this is sometimes surprisingly hard to do.
So I have been involved with selling and marketing and product-managing, one way and another, for most of my working life, and my personal mission now is to help others – people and businesses – to do these things too.
What (else) makes me happy? Music – I am a fan of the music of Brahms (try his 4th symphony, but any one will do. Strangely, I was led to this piece by one of the Prog Rock bands of the1970s who featured its tunes in one of their albums ), Schubert (songs) and recently I have discovered Sibelius big time (the last movement of his 2nd Symphony is magnificent – if interested you should look up the history of that piece). I used to play the clarinet, but have not done so for quite a while now – I have a hankering to take up the tenor saxophone, though.
I also love being out and about in the Yorkshire landscape. I’m not going to reveal which part of the Dales is my favourite, because otherwise you’ll all want to go there. (Cornwall sounds nice, too…)
So if you find yourself at the other end of the phone or email from me, I hope I’ve given you a small flavour of the human behind the keyboard. We try to remember that our students are human too!