Bill Martin is the Chief Information Officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises, responsible for information technology covering both shoreside business systems as well as the innovative guest systems on board the ships.
A 30-year cruise industry veteran, Martin has held various executive and management positions in operations, decision support and revenue management.
Martin is just one of many high-profile IT leaders to feature in the V3 Hot Seat, after others such as Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust director of IM&T Will Smart and Gatwick Airport CIO Michael Ibbitson.
V3: What does your day to day role involve?
Martin: Moving from area to area to check on the 100-plus projects we have going on at any one time, (particularly the high-profile ones like Quantum of the Seas), reviewing security and compliance matters, establishing strategy and checking on our financial performance.
Pretty typical really, unless you consider that our innovations are groundbreaking and we’re creating a product that no one has ever done before.
What would be your dream job?
I would love to be an astronaut and spend time on the International Space Station.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
Samsung Galaxy S4 (no, I haven’t upgraded yet) and I use it for tablet apps as well.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
Probably Jeff Bezos at Amazon – his convictions about how to build software are unrelenting.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
That’s easy, the internet. Yes, I’m old enough to remember LBI (Life Before Internet). I can’t imagine living without it today.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Bringing truly high-speed, high-capacity bandwidth to the cruise industry. Many said it couldn’t be done, but we found a way.
What was your first job?
Pump jockey. My father ran a service station so I pumped petrol – this was common before self-service.
What’s your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
The constant change and innovation. I love disruption. IT is all about making our lives easier and better and, for me, it’s fantastic to work for a company that is so forward thinking in terms of its technology, always coming up with new ideas to better the on-board guest experience.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
In addition to Royal Caribbean’s continuing programme of on-board innovations for our guests, bringing them firsts at sea. I would say the massively connected world where everything exists, at least to some degree, on the internet.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
In progress: Revelations. Very different read for me, but very interesting. It’s a deep dive by a scholar into the interpretations over the centuries of this book in the Bible.
Who is your favourite band or musician?
Andrea Bocelli. Seeing him live is a unique experience. Most booming voice I’ve ever heard, yet he stands perfectly still!
Where’s your favourite holiday destination?
When I want to get away from it all, I love Turtle Island, Fiji. But I’m really looking forward to sailing on our new Quantum class ships – with robot bartenders, virtual balconies, a skydiving simulator, a bank of Xbox consoles to compete with friends around the world, and a three-deck room featuring six computerised 7ft screens on which films will be projected – it’s a tech lover’s dream come true!
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
I dabble on each for different purposes but frankly spend little time on any.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Definitely The Stones.
Any with the word Bourne in it!
Windows or Mac OS?
I use Windows.
On-premise or cloud?
For me it's cloud, and that includes personal computing.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
In any other career I’d say by introducing what the career is like, but IT is not your typical career. What careers in IT will look like two years from now is fundamentally different from what they are today. Can you imagine how different it will be seven years down the road? IT careers are about innovation and change. That will draw a lot of children over time.
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