Lastminute.comwas the darling of the dotcom boom. With young entrepreneurial founders and a promise of five-star living at three-star prices -attracting the attention of the media and online shoppers alike, the company was held up as an example of a British company taking on the world – and -doing rather well at it, thank you. Its CIO reveals his personal motivations:
Q. Where were you born?
A. London (it should have been Cork City in Ireland but my parents eloped to England).
Q. How many people work in your IT department?
Q. Who has/have been the most influential people in your career?
A. John Chaplin, former EVP CIO of Visa. As my boss at Visa, he helped me to develop greater business acumen and soft skills in order to complement my technical skills. I guess that’s why I’m a CIO today.
Q. Do you believe in mentoring?
A. I am passionate about people and a champion of coaching and mentoring. I have written my own courses on the subject and run leadership workshops at Lastminute.com in London, Bangalore and Buenos Aires. I even ran a “Coaching Excellence” workshop for our executive board.
Q. Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating?
A. I use all the usual methods but from my point of view you can’t beat presenting.
Q. What has been your biggest mistake?
A. I was in a band called Why Not which split up but I should have stayed in the music business. I loved playing live.
Q. And your greatest success?
A. Being an executive board member is every CIO’s dream and at Lastminute it gave me the platform to tackle my most ambitious transformation programme yet. The change in terms of people, process and projects has clearly provided benefits to the bottom line.
Q. How do you keep up to date with the march of technology?
A. I read all the free computing magazines such as CIO and download a series of tech podcasts every day to listen to or watch on the train. I also read a bunch of RSS feeds (Ars Technica, Engadget, gdgt, Techcrunch) as well Twittering and of course talking with my teams.
Q. How do you deal with stress?
A. I play guitar really loud.
Q. What profession would you most/least like to attempt?
A. Guitar God.
Q. Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse?
Q. Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career?
A. Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg. It inspired me to coach and mentor many people in my career who have now gone on to bigger and better things. I’m currently reading LINQ to Objects Using C# 4.0 by Troy Magennis who is our VP of Architecture… seriously techie stuff.
Q. Do you have a sport you practise or sportsperson/team that you follow?
A. I follow the San Francisco 49ers and the Giants; mainly as I lived in the Bay Area for a number of years but I do have season tickets at Spurs where my son and I escape to for some ‘man’ time. I also run with my daughter who is becoming a successful tri-athlete – fingers crossed for the Olympics!
Q. What else do you do outside of work?
A. I have become an obsessive runner, clocking up over 25 miles a week (mostly at weekends). I just did the Royal Parks half marathon in London for the NSPCC.