Stewart Smythe wanted to be a brain surgeon. He wound up running a service provider
Stewart Smythe is CEO of service provider adapt, having previously run the UK enterprise business of Cable & Wireless. A brain surgeon manqué, he would like to have a flying car
What has been your favourite project so far?
I enjoy the projects that are technically complex, or where the customer perceives real risk in the transition to Adapt, because this is where we perform best. We had to physically move an entire production environment for a large customer from their basement server room to our data centre at very short notice and maintain application performance throughout. It was very high risk for the CIO. We planned, physically moved, migrated, brought back and then subsequently transformed the platform estate – it worked brilliantly.
Where’s my flying car?
What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
I joined the hosting/internet market 10 years ago by going to work for John Pluthero (ex Freeserve) at Energis. It was a turnaround and he wanted to take a very different approach – “If you have ever worked in telecoms, don’t apply” grabbed my attention. I have loved it ever since.
What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
Not sure, but if my car cannot fly I want my money back from my school Headmaster. He guaranteed it by the time we were 40.
Who’s your tech hero?
I love the technical ambition that is coming into the market from school leavers and graduates. Wait until they are running businesses.
Who’s your tech villain?
Whoever was in charge of Internet Explorer between 1995 – 2008 for holding back the web in general
What’s your favourite technology ever made?
The Internet – one of the top 3 things in the evolution of our planet
Which do you use most?
Mobile phone. To think I didn’t have one until I was 22 is unbelievable
What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?
It’s not brain surgery (luckily)
Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
I’m really impressed with businesses that reinvent themselves to survive in changing markets – Rolls Royce is a great example, successfully making the move from straightforward manufacturing to developing a true service-led business.
What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
Pace of change and the transition from back office boys to the centre of their business proposition
To Cloud or not to Cloud?
I thought people stopped asking that question 5 years ago
What did you want to be when you were a child?
Brain Surgeon (didn’t last long)