PCR talks to the MBE, former athlete and gold medal winner at the 2015 Synaxon conference, where he gave a motivational talk to members and partners…
What was your first computer or earliest memory around technology?
I can’t remember the name of my first computer, but what I remember is, when you booted it up, the screen turned yellow. And it took ages to warm up. It would go from yellow and slowly to blue. Then it would come up with MS DOS. And then the computer would go ‘clack clack clack clack clack’!
I remember my first experience on the club intranet was in 1984 at the Olympic Games. And I was amazed that I could log on in LA and communicate with London through the computer. It was the first intranet we had. It was incredible. I was talking to the British team.
And in fact, when I joined… what am I talking about? When I joined the army in 1975 we had massive great big mainframe computers. They were connected to tape relay machines and fax machines, so you could send a fax and telexes via a computer. They were great big massive things, as big as vehicles.
Apple or Microsoft?
Microsoft all day. No no no! What am I talking about? Apple all the time. Apple all the time.
What is your current computer?
I’ve got a Mac, I’ve got a Macbook Pro. It’s fantastic. What’s good about this one – see this? (he pulls out a Macbook out of his bag) I carry this with me all the time. It’s a small little thing, my whole world is on here. It’s just fantastic – and the battery lasts for ages. I don’t take cables around with me anymore – I just use this. You can’t beat a Mac.
Nowadays you’re a motivational speaker. How hard is that considering a lot of people are motivated mainly by money?
Zuckerberg wasn’t motivated by money – he was motivated by the connection of Facebook. Jobs wasn’t motivated by money – he was motivated by perfection. He looked at the stuff out there and thought: “I can do better than this. I can offer better than this.” And he did. Money is a byproduct of your passion, purpose and the decisions that you make.
What one piece of advice would you give to PC retailers or resellers looking to improve their business?
The saying, ‘the past is for reference, not for residence’ is really important.
Every single moment you’re making decisions and they all determine your destiny. Where I am today is a result of all the decisions I’ve made yesterday. You can’t blame anybody else. All the decisions I made got me to where I am today – and tomorrow may require different decisions. It’s just about awareness.
You never stand still; you’re either moving forwards or going backwards. Rather make a decision and get it wrong or make no decision at all. You can’t sweat over every decision going forward.