Flying high in mobile after pilot plans crash

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Daisy Distribution MD Dave McGinn discusses life inside and outside of the workplace

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
As a child I really wanted to be a pilot, either domestic or air force but that dream didn’t materialise as at the time. I didn’t like Physics as a subject at school and that seemed to be a pre-requisite to be able to become a qualified pilot.

What was your first job?
My first job was in a carpentry and joinery shop as an apprentice carpenter and joiner, qualifying to making doors, windows, sashes, stairs etc.  All the training to learn my trade there did not pay off however as now even the most basic DIY seems to be a challenge!

What made you seek a career in telecoms and where did it all begin?
It all began with me reading an article in the London Evening Standard featuring Harry Ramis, titled ‘Harry’s Making Loads of Dough but now it’s the bankable kind’.  Harry was a former baker and had entered the telecoms market, successfully running a company called Intercell.  I subsequently made contact and started working for Intercell in their single retail outlet that grew to a chain of 12 shops.  At the time mobile was relatively in its infancy, but was a rapidly growing market and I just could not believe how easy it was to sell a mobile phone.

What was your first ever mobile handset; favourite all-time device, and what do you choose to use now?
My first handset was the Panasonic P90 – commonly known as the ‘Transportable’.  My favourite handset is a difficult one as at the time of using it my current device is always my favourite.  So on that basis my favourite handset now is the Nokia Lumia 1520.  This device is larger than ones I have used previously, but is packed with features and functionality and because of its size it has allowed me to move from two devices down to a single one for the first time since mobile email became a reality.

Proudest and lowest moments in your career?
Some of the proudest moments have been in leading the consolidation of the distribution sector, something we are still very actively pursuing.  In making and successfully integrating our two astute purchases and forming the business that Daisy Distribution is today is something I am personally very proud of and I am also proud of the team that work with me for their effort and determination to make the acquisitions a success.  As a more general point I am always proud when I am able to deliver an on target performance back to whichever Board I am working for.

My lowest moment would have been around the acquisition of Anglia Telecom by TTG and the difficult times that were damaging to our business. However I am incredibly proud of being able to preside over repairing that damage and laying the foundations for the business as it is today

Biggest wow/innovative moment you’ve experienced?
My biggest ‘wow’ moment was winning a sales incentive with Nokia and having a helicopter delivered as the prize.  The thought of jetting around the country to meetings was incredibly appealing and may even have fulfilled my childhood ambition to become a pilot.  Sadly common sense prevailed and the helicopter was sold!

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The most exciting thing about my job has to be the people that it brings me into contact with.  Meeting people within the industry, the people that work within our business and our partners brings a vibrancy and life to my role.  Mobile is the only industry I have been in where everyone seems to know each other, where competitors engage and there is as much personal interaction as there is.

Funniest and most entertaining moment during your career?
The funniest moment is unfortunately one that I was on the end of.  I was in London with my then and current finance director attending a function when there was a mix-up over room allocations, meaning that we had to share for the evening.  During the course of the night I woke and joined the wide awake club and with nothing else to do began sending emails of which quite a few were to my FD.

The next morning we were in the lift with a group of other people and my FD was reading my emails on his BlackBerry when he remarked ‘I can’t believe you were sending me emails when you were in the bed next to me all night!’  Trying to explain to the other people in the lift only served to make the situation worse.  At the time, it was very embarrassing, but on reflection very funny.

There is also the instance of one of the other MDs within Daisy getting up to sing at a karaoke evening to John Lennon’s Imagine and not knowing any of the words – even the opening one that is the title to the song.

Who has been your biggest inspiration/role model during your career?
I find inspiration every day, from people I meet and work with, from current affairs and programmes I watch detailing the achievements of many amazing people. To name a single person is incredibly difficult, but of definite inspiration to me is Matt Riley, Daisy Group plc CEO from the confidence and trust that he places in the Distribution arm of the Group and the unequivocal backing he offers for us to be able to go out and acquire the other organisations that is driving the channel consolidation.

If you hadn’t taken a career in mobile, what do you think you would be doing instead?
Is there really a career outside of mobile?  As the industry is changing perhaps it should now be called ‘mobile technology’ given the incredible pace of evolution and development.  Maybe there are other jobs perhaps that I could have done, but after 22 years in the industry I can’t see anything that would be as all-consuming, exciting and absorbing as what I do now.

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