I saw my first computer aged nine and was instantly captivated by it. Interest rapidly gave way to obsession and I was programming a ZX81 by the time I was ten; initially in BASIC and then in Assembly Language. I developed routines for games throughout my teenage years whilst working a variety of part-time jobs to fund my hobby, until I twigged that I could make more money as a coder for hire than a fruit-picker or barman and I started to turn my talents for innovative graphics to data visualisation rather than VR.
As my hobby became my profession I became fascinated by how programming related to business: how you could create new products and services through coding. This fascination coincided with the dotcom boom and I started my first company - BBST - as the first dedicated e-commerce consultancy in Europe in 1998, serving customers such as ThinkNatural (bought by Superdrug in 1999), Lastminute.com and Interbrew. BBST rode the dotcom rollercoaster through both boom and bust, rapidly growing to ~100 people and then equally rapidly going into administration. I learned an awful lot through this process.
My second company - e2x - essentially took the experience gained with BBST, as well as the lessons learned about how to run a business, and provided similar consultancy services to blue-chip organisations looking to exploit the new opportunities present by the Internet and the World Wide Web. We built platforms for Philips, Royal Mail Group, Vodafone and Lego that pushed the boundaries of e-commerce and online marketing and e2x steadily grew through the ‘00s and ‘10s.
However I became disillusioned with consultancy, despite the success of the business, and left e2x in 2009 to found my third company: Singletrack. We bootstrapped Singletrack as a B2B enterprise SaaS business and eventually established it as the global market leader in its segment. In 2022 we entered a partnership with AKKR to accelerate growth.
In 2021 I was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, something that simultaneously revealed an awful lot about my obsessive interest in computers and software and my need to create environments in which I could work with them in ‘the right way’. Neurodiversity and its impact on those who work in technology has become a new area of interest.
As has climate change and sustainable living. In the same way I’ve always sought autonomy over where and how I work, I’ve been lucky enough to do the same with where and how I live. In 2017 my wife and I bought a Hill Farm in rural Northumberland and are slowly developing it to be more sustainable and ecologically sympathetic.