For as long as I remember I’ve always liked taking things apart and putting them back together.
My first computer was the Amstrad CPC 464. It came with a green screen monitor and took 30 to 60 minutes to load games from a tape. I remember spending lots of time playing Dizzy Egg and Oh Mummy!
Just after starting high school, my sister and I asked for a computer for Christmas. On Christmas morning of 1995 we opened a large box which contained the most exciting thing I’d ever seen! A Packard Bell computer and colour monitor.
We followed all the instructions and switched it on, it seemed so fast and came with a P60 processor, 512Mb Hard Disk and a whopping 8Mb of RAM!
By Boxing Day, I had messed around with it so much that it needed to go back to the shop for the software to be restored. Several days went by, and when my dad went to work, I took the computer upstairs, screwdriver in hand, and started to take it apart. Needless to say, it did not go well. When he returned, I had to explain how it came to be broken.
My dad took that machine back to the shop around six times that year. But the main thing that sticks in my head is just how much I wanted to know more about computers all the time. I eventually learned how to re-install Windows myself and we no longer needed the shop, I was the shop!
I learned it inside out, and when I was around 15 years old I got a Saturday job at a computer shop in Leyland. In between making brews and cleaning up, I was in my element, learning how to build computers and setup software. By the age of 16 I was doing weekend work for another computer company alongside their senior technician.
I left school with very few qualifications; I much preferred practical, hands on work to solving problems on paper. I was never happier than when I was finding out how things worked and how to build and fix them.
Growing and Learning
My first full time job was working for a company on Walton Summit, where I replaced their senior technician to run a small engineering department. I stayed here for two years, and learned so much in this time about Windows, building machines, stock control, sales etc. Some of the values instilled in meat this company are ones that I still hold in high regard today.
When the company decided to relocate, I moved to a company in Chorley, where I did field services work alongside their IT manager. I visited clients and businesses all over the UK, installing and setting up systems, cabling and running in new BNC cables and servers.
After around three years I moved on to work for a company in Preston, as I wanted to work for a larger organisation, at first in Preston and then contracting for them in Barrow.
A couple of years later it was clear that the opportunity for progression wasn’t as great as I’d previously thought, and I moved on to work for an IT company in Preston who worked mostly with schools, and a few businesses.
Deciding to become my own boss
I was pretty much my own boss here, and learned a lot whilst working onsite by myself. Having such a lot of responsibility led to me finding out what kinds of things made customers feel happy or frustrated. I felt that I could do a better job with a team around me that cared just as much as I did about the customers.
Roll on 2008, my toughest year. I decided to go it alone, and it was hard! I was working seven days a week, saying, ‘Yes,’to every job and opportunity that came my way, and never took a single day off all year. Come Christmas I spent four days in bed; a well-earned rest was clearly required!