As IT manager at Waitrose, Mark Purnell (pictured left) has been a key figure in the supermarket's three-year expansion into e-commerce. Having started his professional life at his local garage, since joining the IT industry Purnell still dreams about coming up with the next big thing in tech and starting his own company.
For an inside look at what makes the Waitrose IT manager tick, we put Purnell in the V3 Hot Seat. This Hot Seat follows those of numerous movers and shakers in the IT industry, including Just Eat head of IT Martin Russell and Young's Seafood IT lead for service delivery and operations support Gary Allwood.
V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?
Purnell: The quick pace of change.
What would be your dream job?
For me the dream would be running my own business.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
I currently use an iPhone 4S, BlackBerry and iPad.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
For me anybody who has had a vision and converted that into a successful business is someone to admire.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
Without a doubt it's been the mobile phone.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
For me it was moving Waitrose into e-commerce three years ago.
What was your first job?
My first job was serving petrol in my local garage.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
It's the fact that no two days are ever the same.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
If I knew the answer to this question, I would be rich!
What do you enjoy doing when you finish work?
I'm quite athletic so I enjoy playing sport and going to the gym as well as following Wycombe Wanderers football team.
What keeps you awake at night?
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
The last one I read was John Grisham's The Racketeer. It's a very good read.
Who is your favourite band?
I enjoy listening to Coldplay.
Where's your favourite holiday destination?
I like going to Florida.
E-readers or real books?
For me it's still real books, but I'm looking at getting a Kindle for Christmas.
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
I use Facebook and Twitter.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
I prefer The Beatles.
It's got to be Live and Let Die. Great boat chase.
Windows or Mac OS?
I use Windows.
On premise or cloud?
For me it's on premise.
What's holding back women from entering the IT profession?
Nothing, the roles are there if they want to get them.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
We have to make a more creative curriculum, which covers current advances such as mobile development.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
No, I wanted to play football but ended up working in food retailing.
What websites do you have bookmarked at work?
At the moment I have the BBC and LinkedIn bookmarked.
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