Having been chastised for taking an overly "creative" approach at his first job as a Tesco shelf stacker, Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College head of IT services Martin King has always been a disruptive player in whatever industry he's in.
During his time in the IT industry King has taken the lead on several transformative projects, including negotiating the implementation of decentralised internet connections for London colleges in the mid 1990s.
Always on the lookout for the next big thing, King has since developed an interest in several emerging and potentially world-changing technologies, including the cryptographic Bitcoin currency.
King is one of many dynamic members of the IT industry to take the V3 Hot Seat, following the likes of Macmillan Science and Education director of technology ventures David McNally and Glyndebourne Opera House head of IT Richard Wells.
V3: What part of your job to you enjoy the most?
King: It's all the things that aren't on my job description – things like working with colleagues in the college and in the education sector on developing new ideas and using new technology.
What would be your dream job?
In the early days of Twitter I saw a job advertised where the successful candidate had to live on an Australian island and promote the lifestyle by tweeting about what they were doing – swimming, surfing, laying on the beach – that sounded like a pretty cool job.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
Tim Berners-Lee, for giving the web to the world. More recently I would say that Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever or whatever he is, for developing the Bitcoin protocol and giving it away through open source. Both Tim Berners-Lee and Satoshi Nakamoto gave their work away for the common good.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
Currently it's Google apps. They let me easily collaborate and work anywhere, anytime with any device and have been really transformative.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
Negotiating the first decentralised internet connections for London colleges in the mid 1990s and watching how the net changed the way we operate.
What was your first job?
Stacking shelves in Tesco – the supervisor used to always complain about my "creative" arrangements.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
The leading edge of the IT sector is full of creativity, innovation and change and is the reason I love working in it.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
It will be something we aren't even thinking of and it could come from the combination of things in development. 3D printing, wearable tech, Internet of Things are all contenders but what really captures my imagination is the potential of a Bitcoin 2.0-type protocol to create a new type of decentralised organisation and cause crypto-anarchy.
What do you enjoy doing when you finish work?
Playing badminton and listening to music. I'm currently into symphonic metal bands like Nightwish and Epica and enjoy watching them live on YouTube very loud!
What keeps you awake at night?
The actions of those who use technology for power and control and to restrict progress, diversity and equality keep me awake at night.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It was good but so very depressing. I'm currently reading Inversions by Iain M Banks. It's OK and uses the same themes in his sci-fi Culture series but is set in a fantasy-type setting – I prefer space opera. The book I am really looking forward to reading next is Proxima by Stephen Baxter.
Where's your favourite holiday destination, or place for escape?
If you close your eyes and use your imagination you can be anywhere you like. Personally, my favorite place to escape is the back garden on a sunny day with a book or headphones.
E-readers or real books?
I prefer online for technical stuff but a real book for fiction.
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
Twitter – I love that it's so open and concise.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Rolling Stones.
It would have to be Baby's Day Out - this always makes me laugh and I have fond memories watching this with my family.
Windows or Mac OS?
I'm not too fussed about operating systems – I just need something to give me Telnet, a remote desktop, and the Web. I spend most of my time in Chrome these days whatever the OS.
On-premise or cloud?
It depends but cloud is more compatible with my way way of thinking today.
What's holding back women from entering the IT profession?
Men and the way they behave and talk about IT.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
By bringing in creativity and imagination.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
I always enjoyed IT and was always quite good at it but what I really liked was people and helping them, so I guess I have found my vocation in educational IT.
What websites do you have bookmarked at work?
I have never bookmarked sites – I use Twitter and RSS feeds for information. For websites I use Netvibes to feed in hundreds of sites but the sites that provide the best feeds for me seem to be techcrunch.com; readwrite.com, kurzweilai.net and blogs.hbr.org
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