Every Friday we’ll profile a prominent figure from Australia’s IT, telecommunications or video gaming industries in the Friday Five.
Gary Mitchell is country manager for BMC Software in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, Gary worked with Enterasys Networks as Managing Director and prior to that he spent 15 years at Computer Associates. But did you know he’s a mad keen water skiier?
1. What was your first job ever?
My first job was selling calendars door to door during summer vacation whilst at university. I learned a number of very good business lessons very quickly. What territory to focus on, who the real decision-makers at the door were (it was the kids!) not to mention that timing is everything — ever tried to sell a calendar after Jan 1st? The venture was such a success that the following year a got a few friends together and we imported half a container of stock directly ourselves.
2. What do you most like about working in the IT industry?
I find it really stimulating that the pace of change is so unbelievably quick. There is never a dull moment. You need to reorganise and rethink every few months. I really like the fact that there are so many opportunities to work on ground-breaking or game-changing initiatives. But at the same time, even though there is constant change, the industry is a small one and that also means that your individual reputation is everything. How you go about cultivating that reputation is entirely up to you.
3. What’s your hobby?
I am a keen waterskier. In fact, these days I ride a water apparatus known as an “Sky Ski”. A few years ago my family and I made the decision to move to Lake Macquarie (90 minutes north of Sydney) where we knocked down our weekender shack and built a permanent home by the water. As luck would have it, our neighbor is the five times world disabled water ski champion and he taught me how to Sky Ski. Most weekends you can find me either sailing or skiing.
4. Where do you think the Australian IT industry will be in five years?
The medium-sized multinational vendors are disappearing. The bigger guys are getting bigger — but there are smaller guys starting up all the time. That is a sign that innovation continues to thrive, not only in Australia but the rest of the world also. Two years ago I would have said that cloud was going to be a five year fad.
But not today. I am very sure it is here to stay and five years from now will be pervasive. That represents an ideal opportunity for the BMCs of the world to automate the complex management processes that go on behind the scenes in the cloud. But it also represents an opportunity for a whole host of new applications to be brought to market — for both big businesses and small individual personal use (think Apple iPad!).
5. What/who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?
It is difficult to single out one particular person. I tend to soak up as much inspiration from a lot of people I have worked with over the years. Whether it is a CEO, a direct manager, my peers or other people I work with — no matter who they are you can find something they do well that makes you think and take stock of your own situation and learn a few valuable career and also life lessons along the way.
Image credit: BMC/Gary Mitchell