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Matt, tell us what you do for a living.
I run the UK & Ireland for Forcepoint: we’re reinventing cybersecurity by protecting information where it’s most valuable and most vulnerable, and doing this through understanding people’s behaviour as they interact with critical data or systems. My mission is to bring professional sales teams together with our partners, our customers and those companies not lucky enough to know us yet.
Why are you the right person for this job?
I genuinely care about making a difference – to our customers, our partners, and my team. Fortunately, I have a great team who share a common vision. In addition, I also have over 20 years in cyber-security sales, and most of that in leadership positions.
What gets you up in the morning?
English breakfast tea. Nothing finer.
Who helped you get to where you are today?
So many people have helped me along the way, some without even knowing it. I’ve worked for some great leaders, and a few not-so-great, but you never stop learning and improving.
What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?
“Face it, you’re not going to be a full-time drummer or rock star, get a proper job”. Best and worst at the same time! Not saying who.…
What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?
In Sales , take the time to truly understand what the customer needs (not just wants), then check you understand it. And equally, make sure you really have the best understanding possible of your solutions – how they directly address customer needs. Otherwise it’s blah-blah-blah… For example, from a Forcepoint perspective, we understand the security challenges thrown up by digital transformation projects. Because we offer an automatic response to risk, delivered through understanding the normal rhythm of user behaviour and the flow of data in and out of organisations, we provide a level of security that continuously adapts to customer requirements as they themselves change.
Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning ‘digital transformation’?
Ha! Possible? Yes. But then name a company that isn’t trying to do this. A meaningful conversation is about what key business objectives and initiatives are supported by digital transformation, where they are on that journey, and where a customer has gaps or challenges. For us, it’s all about providing something that actually fits around the way people work, rather than forcing them to work around technology. It shouldn’t be about locking things down, more giving them the freedom to be creative and innovative without security getting in the way.
What does the next five years hold for the channel?
Customers and Vendors alike will always want and need partners, and partners are always adapting and transforming. Will the next five years be any different? Probably in terms of how relationships and transactions change, and probably not in terms of the value that can be added.
Tell us something most people do not know about you
But then loads of people would know that….!
What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?
Not saying – I’m afraid that’d be it for me if I achieve it…
What is the best book you've ever read?
Cormac McCarthy - The Border Trilogy (it’s obviously three books, but on my shelf it’s one…).
And the worst film you’ve ever seen?
Mama Mia! A total abomination. I can never watch a Pierce Brosnan Bond film again.
What temptation can you not resist?
Having the last word…
What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?
Austin Metro. The car I have now does not have those go-faster stripes. But it goes faster…
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?
Nigel Farage. No explanation needed.
If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?
Deadpool. So subversive….
And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?
I’m a sales guy…. I want to understand height, weight, experience, nous, levels of aggression, what they’ve had to eat etc. before I invest my time and money. But probably the grizzly – have you seen The Revenant?!