Passionate about people, technology and the Psychology of Technology. Applying that passion to help businesses transform digitally, by removing friction from their operations, through the application of the right digital strategy
I write regular tech blogs with thoughts, observations and learnings.
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In a career spanning 30+ years, I have learnt that building software successfully is part art, part science. It’s just as much a psychological achievement as it is a technical one. On a grand scale, humans follow patterns of behaviour, but at an individual level there are often certain nuances. To build a successful software product one must cater for both. Having said that, it’s more of a scale than a pure binary objective.
From the very start of my career, I have been not only an early adopter of technology, but also a champion for innovation & an inventor of software solutions to business problems.
Business to Consumer (“B2C”) offerings are more oriented towards mass thinking while Business to Business (“B2B”) systems can be quite tied into the behaviour of a certain business function or collection of roles. This distinction is something I recognise and apply to my work.
Fast forward to 2021 and in many ways it’s a very different world and yet in others not much has changed. Now, much digital activity happens in the palm of our hand, connecting to machines in “The Cloud”, but we’re still using Windows (and Mac) PCs that are essentially networked (as they were in the 90s).
But what’s most exciting is what’s ahead of us; our drive to reach The Singularity (the moment machines become sentient) has now really taken off. Ever since NVIDIA’s GPU-based technology started being used for artificial neural networks, the technology landscape has been revolutionised and with all the various forms of AI improving so quickly, it’s a very exciting time to be alive!
Having joined the workforce in 1987, as a trainee computer programmer for a local Australian bank, I started my career while simultaneously studying (at the University of New South Wales). For my undergrad, I majored in Psychology and Computer Science with the intention of doing my Masters in Cognitive Science. Unfortunately, when the time came to start the Masters degree, the course had been scrapped, due to low demand.
In 1993, after working for a number of large corporations, I made the decision to start my own software development company, Solentive (originally called DesignAvenue Software). I initially incorporated in London then I incorporated the Australian entity in Sydney, in 1995. In 2007 the company evolved into the Digital Strategy company, providing both strategy and delivery services to leading companies around the world. In 2017 Solentive launched our very own products, ExactDocs – a SaaS platform that helps customers generate perfect documents by providing Document Template Management, Document Generation and Document Automation Services.
Having started my career in the corporate world, I soon gained an understanding of how larger enterprises work, including the speed at which they get things done. To a certain extent, my frustration with the velocity of change in the big-business world is what spurred me on to start my own company.
The other major driver was moving business from mainframes onto PCs. Back in the early 90s, most business was done via a mainframe or a minicomputer. With the rise of PCs, I could see this changing. Initially, this was on to DOS-based systems, usually running stand-alone, then eventually networked. By the mid-90s the concept of a graphical user interface (“GUI”) was starting to win some popularity.
While I did my degree on UNIX machines (of the BSD variety), my professional career has been mainly on Microsoft Windows-driven machines, with Mac OS-X being always present. The first version of Windows I used heavily was Version 3.0. I also remember the war between Microsoft and IBM (Windows 95 versus OS2); I think we all know who won that.