March 5, 2019
What do you consider to be the greatest feat in business and why?
As the owner of a brand consultancy, is it too clichéd for me to start with Apple? I remember being 15 and having my first go of an Apple Macintosh during work experience. Back then, it was a tool used by creative studios mostly, and as a business, they were struggling. Fast forward to 1998 and the agency I worked for bought an iMac. This new, colourful, curvy and affordable computer became a popular home computer and began to turn their fortunes around. The rest is history and the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad all followed – transforming user experiences, challenging the norm and, in turn, building one of the wealthiest and most successful brands in the world.
What is the greatest physical feat you’ve witnessed by an individual and why?
A recent and impressive example of this would be Phil Kite. I met Phil when he was CEO of Reece Group, during which time he decided to take up rowing – claiming that, at 53-years of age, it was his second mid-life crisis! Just three years later, he set himself the task of entering a mixed team into the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge –known as ‘the world’s toughest row’. Earlier this month, Phil and the rest of Team Tyne Innovation completed the 3000-mile row and set a new world record as the fastest mixed four – a remarkable feat indeed.
What about by a group or team?
The most significant team effort that springs to mind always has to be the Miracle at Medinah in 2012. It was José María Olazábal’s turn to captain Europe in the 39th Ryder Cup soon after the death of Seve Ballesteros, so it was already an emotional time for any golf fan. Add to that the fact that no one really fancied Europe to get a result – especially after the first two days of play left Europe facing a 10-6 deficit. To then go out and win eight-and-a- half points from 12 singles matches on Sunday to win the Cup by 14-and-a-half points to 13 and-a- half was a fantastic feat.
Which demonstration of intelligence/mental strength has most impressed you?
It’s hard not to be impressed when you meet David Harrison. He started his career at Allied Dunbar as a sales advisor and worked hard to progress through the ranks to senior management. He started his own firm 1996. Positive Solutions used technology to revolutionise the financial advice sector and was sold to Aegon in 2007. But David wasn’t finished. He formed True Potential with the aim of using the advancements in technology to help the customer save and plan for their future. In recent years, the business has been crowned the best in Europe, won numerous industry accolades.
Which act of generosity has inspired you the most and why?
Having run Projector for 16 years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with many successful people here in the North East whose generosity has inspired me. I know of business owners starting foundations to help local food banks or those backing social mobility for the next generation, directors pledging to Children in Need or simply holding raffles to raise money for local charities. It’s excellent that successful people and firms out there are helping others and we’re trying to learn from them and do our bit, too.