About

Hello. Welcome to my blog. If you are here then you want to know a little bit more about me so here goes.

I am a husband and father of two kids and I currently live in Brisbane, Australia.

But I won’t be posting about family life. It is a huge part of who I am and how I currently perceive the world, but other than dreaming of my kids reading these posts to understand their Dad better, I won’t be discussing family life.

How I got here is a big part of how I see the world. So I will start at the beginning and skim through what I thing are the relevant highlights.

Once upon a time …

I have a hard time answering the question ‘Where do you come from?’.  But here goes.

I was born in Zimbabwe, before it gained independence, I lived in Botswana for most of my childhood, and I was educated by the South African private school and tertiary education system.

In 2000 I moved to London, England and lived there for the next 14 years, before moving to Brisbane, Australia where my wife was born and grew up.

Before moving to Brisbane my entire professional career was based in an around the City of London.

I started out as a Junior Developer working on Oracle Databases.

Until One Day …

About two years into that role my Dad met Derek while camping in the Kalahari desert. Derek was a director for a consultancy in London. The only word my Dad remembered about what I did was the word Oracle. And surprise the company Derek worked for was an Oracle consultancy. Derek suggested I reach out to him …

At this exact moment I had read that phrase about ‘Name the six people you spend the most time with, they are your future’.

I  did that and realised I needed to move. I worked with great people at the time. Great at what they did. They were happy. It just was not what I wanted.

And because of that …

So I got in touch with Derek.

Total Managed Delivery, as it was then known, now part of Halian, was an Oracle Applications consultancy. They specialised in Oracle Financials and Oracle Human Capital Management implementations.

On my first day I don’t think they knew where to put me. So they took me to one of their key clients, Prebon, where they had recently finished an implementation and were in support mode. I got introduced to the team and that was that.

The company had a heavy South African influence. The team leader, Gerry, asked about my background. We had both been to the University of Cape Town, at different times, and had both studied Accounting. Gerry had gone on to become a Chartered Accountant, I had decided to major in Information Systems.

And because of that …

Important to this part of the story is the Gerry focused on the fact that I had studied accounting, and not that I had been working as a Developer. As a result my career took a very different direction. He perceived me to be an Accountant, not as a Developer.

I had just started on the path to becoming a Functional Consultant.

This was fortunate. It was unplanned. But it was fortunate. It suited my personality and mix of skills.

I was lucky.

This misunderstanding was not identified for about a year. That was the point both myself and HR realised I could have been an Oracle Applications developer instead … but we were both happy with my performance so left it as is.

And because of that …

I spent the next 8 years working firmly in the Oracle Applications space, switching between Consultancy and in-house. From TMD (consulting) to esure (in-house), to IBM (consulting), to Bank of America Merrill Lynch (in-house).

And because of that …

That switch between consulting and in-house I believe is a crucial part of my development and will show in many of the posts. For example the ability to see both sides of a consulting engagement and understand where each party of coming from.

My next significant career moment, the one that put my on my current path happened while I was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

This was the first time in a long while I had worked in the City of London itself. As I soon started catching up with old friends for lunch and beers after work.

It was at a lunch with another University friend, Tim, that he mentioned the company he was working for was looking for an Oracle Financials person to work in their Finance department. He asked if I was interested and I said yes.

And because of that …

Soon after I started work at ICAP.

At ICAP I met and worked for David. And everything started to change for me.

To start with, while employed on my Oracle Financials credentials and consulting experience, he envisaged an Enterprise Architecture role.

And because of that …

I didn’t really understand at that point was an Enterprise Architect was or did … so I started reading about it.

This kick-started an old habit of reading non-fiction books. A ride I am still on to this day. A habit I love.

I could write a whole post on my time at ICAP. But I am who I am now because of my experience there and how I developed.

The highlights for this page though would be:

  • Sharing David’s office and getting to listen in on different conversations. Honing the art of listening, and when I couldn’t take the confusion any more interjecting and getting in front of the whiteboard to help move the conversation along.
  • Whiteboards … always in front of a whiteboard.
  • Diagrams and visualizations … lots of them … helping my colleagues make sense of what was going on and then communicating it.

Until Finally …

I can’t leave it there without mentioning Tina either. Tina moved from Group Finance into a Finance Projects leadership role half way through my time there. The evolution of our working relationship is something I am proud of and about often reflect on.

But mostly I think about how with both David and Tina I was most effective in a coaching capacity. That I added the most value helping them be better at what they do. I was part of a team.

I only mentioned two individuals at ICAP, but that coaching role, a term I recently adopted as it most closely captures how the role worked,  was wider than them.

Ever Since …

The analogy of a sports coach is what made it stick for me. Pick your sport, but the coach is not the best person at executing the required tasks (kicking, hitting or passing a ball etc). The players are. But the coach is still a crucial part of the team, helping the players perform better.

In hindsight that is how my role at ICAP evolved and the capacity in which I worked.

It is what I enjoy the most.

This blog is a reflection of my journey and where I am now.

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