Friday Five: Scinaptic’s James Fox


Every Friday we profile a prominent figure from Australia’s IT, telecommunications or video gaming industries in the Friday Five.

Like many executives, Scinaptic chief executive James Fox started work early, with a job as a paperboy at age 10. These day’s he’s focused on different things — the company’s OnePlaceMail product connects various Microsoft products like Outlook and Office with SharePoint — but he still has that energy and drive to get him up in the morning. Fox is this week’s guest on the Friday Five.

What was your first job ever?

My first paid job was a paperboy at age 10. I was a paperboy for about 3 years and it provided me a great opportunity to learn the basics of building relationships and selling to people of very diverse backgrounds.

At the time, I built up the paper round to sell confectionary, magazines and cigarettes (in the bad old days). I was responsible for providing my opinion of the ‘best’ paper of the day: The Daily Mirror or The Sun. As it turns out, I made more money from selling confectionary than papers (If I didn’t eat the profits).

What do you most like about working in the IT/telco/gaming industry?

The IT industry never sleeps. I don’t think I have ever looked at my watch to see how long we have left in the day! If I do, it is in disbelief that it is that time already!

As an industry, we are capable of achieving so much; completely transforming business processes and creating whole new business models. The part I like most about the industry is the opportunity to engage with so many different types of business, learning how they operate and understanding the people who make it happen.

What’s your hobby?

I really enjoy participating in all sorts of sports. I have been an active member of surf lifesaving for about 8 years and enjoy catching a few waves. I have a young family and really treasure time with my wife and kid/s (another one on the way). Travel will always be in my blood

Where do you think the Australian IT/telco/gaming industry will be in five years?

Australia is in a unique and desirable position to lead the world in high-tech solutions. We have some of the brightest and most entrepreneurial people in the world, and as a country we have already built respect with trading partners in the UK, USA and Asia. With proximity to Asia, we in an ideal geography to benefit from the growth in this region while not forgetting the opportunities available to us in our other markets.

Assuming we get the basics right around continuous quality education and providing the ideal broadband infrastructure, Australia will benefit greatly by supporting businesses in their ability to design, build and market intellectual property for export. The IT industry within Australia will continue to innovate and lead by example with these basics in place.

What/who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?

I think travel has been my biggest inspiration. Through travel, I have been able see so many places and people. You could not experience this by reading a text book or on the internet. With such a short amount of time to do so many things, and contrary to the stereotypical image of the IT person, the IT industry provides a real means to travel, meet people and ultimately work in any industry you wish.

Image credit: Scinaptic