How did you come to your current role?
In 2009, I was supporting Help AG as an independent consultant for Strategic Security and had some projects with them. At that time I was still based in Germany and was running my own company there. After careful market analysis and business planning, we decided to establish Strategic Consultancy as a service provided by Help AG, and I moved here and started to build the business from there onwards.
What is your management philosophy?
Only employ people who are better than yourself! My team is the biggest contributor to success, and I do enjoy supporting people and helping them grow into more and more senior positions. I do not believe in micro-management. Rather, I give people the room to develop and take responsibility and I also believe in leading by example.
What was your first computer, and when did you first use it?
My first computer was a terminal in the university, which did not even have a hard drive. I do not recall the brand name. Anything I programmed on this machine was put on a floppy disc and processed in a computer room far away — I am glad that things have evolved!
What is your greatest achievement?
I can think of two very different ones. First was my PhD in mathematics — the problem was known to be very hard to solve (just not to me). Other very good mathematicians did try and fail, and I possibly would never have started if I had known all of this. Nevertheless, I did and after some futile attempts, I managed to solve it.
Secondly was building my business here in Middle East —when I started to introduce strategic security services to the market, it was not a well-known subject, and the need for it was only apparent to few.
What was your biggest mistake?
I am a very polite, non-aggressive and consensus-oriented person — whilst this can help in difficult situations, people sometimes mistake kindness for weakness. In such cases, it takes a lot of extra effort to re-gain control over the situation and to ensure people take me for what I am.
What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East IT industry?
Being part of local standards development. I have a long history of involvement in international standards development, and it was a true pleasure to use this experience in the local context, helping to make some of the local information security and business continuity standards successful.
What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market in 2015?
There are so many different and very interesting developments; the Internet of Things and cloud computing will, from my point of view, play a very influential role in the next years. The impact on the market is far bigger on the longer term; we are currently only seeing the start of it. Another interesting trend is the analytics that will become necessary to make use of big data; this challenge needs big answers.