Martin Russell is the head of IT for online takeaway service Just Eat. The business acts as a middleman for ordering food from more than 38,000 takeaway establishments in 13 countries, with seven million members making orders.
The firm now employs more than 1,000 people, the activities of which Russell handles on a day-to-day basis. He recently posted a guest article on Google's Enterprise blog outlining the benefits of switching to Google Apps for most day-to-day collaboration among employees.
V3: What does a typical day involve?
Russell: I count myself very lucky that in my role no day is typical, as there is always a new challenge or something that needs my attention. I have been at Just Eat for almost three years, but the role still feels new and exciting.
For example, this week I have turned my attentions to new technology deployments around telephony and SSO [single sign-on] solutions, while running coaching sessions with my teams. Perhaps I have been spoilt, but if I do start to have typical days I will question if I am still needed!
What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)?
I want to achieve the role of CIO or CSO for a technology company but, saying this, titles are not what drive me. What I want is the freedom to use my knowledge, experience and passion to build and motivate amazing teams and provide technical solutions to a business pushing ever forwards and never settling. If a company lets me do this they can call me whatever they like.
If I were to focus on the word "dream" in the question above then I would have to say an actor. Then I'd get to play out many fantasies: action hero, secret agent, pilot, race car driver, the list is endless.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
I currently use a Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet. I do try to rotate around the different manufacturers and operating systems as much as I can so I don't become blind to what others are doing in the mobile space.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
Within the industry I would say Dr Astro Teller, head of Google [X]. His speeches on Moonshotting are incredibly inspiring, and leave me thinking about how I could possibly get involved or start something. I can't wait to get my hands on Google Glass, and project Loon has amazing potential for everyone on the planet.
Also, I have been very lucky to have had amazing inspirational bosses that have given me freedom to try new ideas, and develop well beyond my own self belief, you know who you are so I say thank you.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
Smartphones and tablets are an easy choice here, but they've been around now for some time so I would definitely choose cloud technologies such as Google Apps.
Moving to the cloud has meant that my tools and data are available for me from any device anywhere. I'm no longer tied to the office and I can use any device to access my work, plus the collaboration benefits of cloud tools means I can work better with my teams.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
This has to be my promotion to head of IT services, which at a personal level gave me a great confidence and recognition of what I have been doing. In October I will be going to Google HQ at Mountain View, San Francisco – I already know this will be another massive highlight in my career.
What was your first job?
If I skip past the paper rounds and shelf stacking my first tech role was IT support for a middleware software company. It meant I spent most days at large banks around London supporting traders and back office staff. It was a baptism of fire in that it was incredibly hectic, but it was great exposure.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
The fact that it's the most forward-thinking industry, and that those working in it are never happy with the status quo.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
Wearable technology will be the one to watch. I'm excited about the innovations in smartwatches and augmented-reality glasses – the development possibilities of these already look endless. Not only will we dispense with carrying devices around in a bag or pocket, but we can look forward to having them on our person at all times. Eventually, we'll get to wearable devices that are fully integrated and grafted to the body, perhaps even powered by the energy we generate.
What keeps you awake at night?
While constant problem-solving means a job in IT is always fresh, it does mean I struggle to switch off at night. Often I lie awake running through things in my mind. I would like to think this is something I could control but in reality it is unlikely to change.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis, which is a very good read about some of the pioneers of recent history. It shows that some of the greatest leaders come from very simple beginnings.
Who is your favourite band/musician?
I listen to hours of music a day across many different genres, but if I had to pick one it would be Seal. His early albums take me to a happy place.
Where's your favourite place for escape?
Karate gives me the opportunity to escape from everything. After a few hours in the Dojo the only thing you can think about is how much your body is hurting and your incredible sense of pride.
E-readers or real books?
E-readers. This harks back to wanting everything I need with me all the time from any device.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Beatles. Without The Beatles there would be no Paul McCartney, which would mean no Frog Song to sing to my two-year-old son each night to get him to sleep. Also, who doesn't love Eleanor Rigby?
The Lost Boys. I grew up watching this movie and listening to its awesome sound track.
Windows or Mac OS?
How can you have missed Chrome OS from that question, when I am answering these questions on my Chromebook Pixel? I was a hardcore Windows user for many years from editions 3.1 to 7, but in the past two years I have moved to Mac OS and can't ever see myself ever going back. Chromebooks have exciting developments to come, and I am increasingly using these devices at work and home.
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