I started in IT in 1965, as a salesman for NCR-Elliott Computer workshops. It was a computer bureau that sold computer time by the hour for people to write their and run their own programs - a fore-runner or personal computing in that the only difference was that users came to us instead of having a computer on their own desk.
The computer we used as an Elliott 803. A little known fact is that the Soviet Union copied the design and used it to produce the Minsk computer. At IFIP in 1968, I met someone who showed me a Minsk manual and it seems that, while the Western world was programming in Fortran and Cobol, the Eastern World was actually using Elliott 803 Autocode under another name.
I became a Computer Graphics specialist, and presented several papers in the ’60’s and witing articles for journals such as the Financial Times. I gained qualifications in Business Studies and Marketing (Dip. M.) and became product manager for graphics equipment running a small sales force until leaving Elliot’s (by then part of the GEC empire) to join Logica and start on a consultancy career.
I won Logica’s first consultancy contract with the European Space Agency and ran a number of projects including the development of systems to test and handle the data from the GEOS and Meteosat satellites - all on the critical path of the spacecraft launch. I also worked with a number of other systems companies,
In 1978, I became Technical Director of Nascom Microcomputers - a pioneering microcomputer company featured on the front page of the first edition of “Personal Computer Word”. We were one of Microsoft’s early clients, buying and modifying 8K Basic when Bill Gates provided support and the company employed less than 10 people!
After that, I undertook a number of marketing and technological studies for Government departments in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark, as well as the US Embassy. I also wrote a monthly “Industry Topics” column for “Computer Systems” magazine for about ten years.
I was appointed Technical Director of March Computer Systems - a software company specialising in software for IBM mid-range machines, in charge of a staff of about 50.
After that, I worked for a number of companies on a freelance basis, including acting as European IT manager for TIP Trailer Rentals (a GE company) based in Amsterdam, project managing a project in Paris for ICI Paints, and White Clarke and Partners, where I was responsible for designing the first vehicle finance system in Europe (and possibly the world) using internet technology.
Throughout this time I had been pitching for business and presenting proposals at board level to blue-chip companies, keeping my marketing skills up-to-date. I also became a qualified Prince II Practitioner and obtained the ITIL “Red Badge” Managers qualification in Service Management and Service Delivery.
Eventually, I felt it was time to leave the IT business. When I started, everything was new and exciting, whereas so much of IT in the UK nowadays seems to be to do with configuring SAP or supporting software developed outside the UK. Does “have you tried switching it off and on again?” sound familiar.
I decided to make a business out of photography, which has been an hobby of mine since I was about 8 or 9 years old when my grandfather showed me how to use “Printing Out Paper” (look it up), in the ‘50‘s, and which led me to developing and printing black and white prints myself soon after. I used to make VHS videos during the ‘80s, when I also used Cibachrome to produce colour prints.