Retail systems, the leading technology title for the UK retail sector, were keen to interview our CEO Gavin Wheeldon for their Retail Worlds section. So we managed to find out what Gavin thinks about technology in general and technology in the retail sector.
What technology can’t you live without?
I’m a tech geek so I’m surrounded by it so definitely a hard one, I’d be torn between the home control system which I can’t imagine life without now or of course the iPhone which is like an extra limb.
Which IT professional do you most admire?
Probably an obvious answer but Steve Jobs, I’m a big fan of Apple and what the company has done that has changed the world and how we interact with it through technology. The ability to make complexity become simplicity for the end user is something to be admired and certainly something I always strive to achieve in our business.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I’m a big fan of reading, and particularly non-fiction having read hundreds of business books in particular. The Jack Welch books I took a lot of insight from and has certainly shaped some of my thinking. I’d also say an old boss who told me “it won’t work” and I love a challenge like that.
How did you get into the retail/technology sector?
I trained as a programmer a long time ago and have been in technology ever since, the last business although language related was all underpinned by technology. The original idea for Purple WiFi was just to make it easy for end users to get online, as the product developed with all the analytics the applicability of it to the Retail Sector shone out so I’ve had a learning curve about the sector.
Who in the sector inspires you and why?
Our newest board member Sir Terry Leahy is an inspiration, what he achieved in his time at Tesco was formidable but I also love how he has turned his hand to the tech sector and understands the value proposition and positioning.
How do you relax?
I enjoy spending time with the family which has a great way of bringing you back down to earth, that is, in between the odd toddler meltdowns.