My name is John and I am co-founder and director at DTSQUARED, where I look after our overall sales strategy and senior-level client relationships.
After deciding to leave school at fifteen, I landed my first real job in the post room of a stockbrokers. It was during my time there that I really developed the ability to hold a good conversation, as I would talk to everyone from traders and asset managers to the Chief Economist and Chief Investment Fund Advisor on a daily basis. I found that the trick was to listen more than you talk as I had a lot to learn from people at that age, but then I think that still rings true even today.
I then began my career in sales in the eighties. I started in recruitment doing contract sales, before moving on to work for a consultancy in Switzerland. Here I focused on the English-speaking market in Germany, which consisted mainly of banks or oil companies, and went on regular trips to Hamburg and Frankfurt.
After getting a taste for travelling, I decided to take a sabbatical and spent a year in South Africa – six months in Durban rather unsuccessfully learning to surf, and six months in Cape Town perfecting my horse-riding skills. This experience was invaluable for me, and I returned to the UK having lived a life more interesting because of it.
It was at this point that I set up my first company, Concise Software, in the Sybase and Powerbuilder market, which is a highly responsive database system specific to financial services. We grew this business to the biggest UK reseller of Sybase and Powerbuilder products, then branched out into training and product accelerators before selling the business.
Following another sabbatical (this time to North America) and founding another business (this time in recruitment), I went on to set up DTSQUARED with Toby Pearson in 2014. We agreed that the market was right for a consultancy business and believed we had enough contacts to make it work, and so we did.
I reached out to one of my contacts about what a proposition would look like, and he gave us a ‘cost-cutting challenge’ as an opportunity to prove our value. He was over the moon with what we presented back to him, so helped to onboard us a supplier despite not having any turnover whatsoever. And just like that, we were delivering a cost reduction programme for a major global enterprise.
As we built out both our team and our client base, we started to notice that data was the most prominent theme in everything we were doing. We soon learnt of Collibra’s data governance platform and were blown away – it was different, innovative and brought a whole new perspective to the world of data. We jumped on a plane straight to the USA and pitched our capabilities to the partners of Collibra who bought into what we could offer and brought us on as part of the Collibra European implementation partnership. This is what started to shape the DTSQUARED of today.
We always aimed to grow the organisation, but we didn’t realise that it would be in such a fertile and competitive market. We began to realise that our long-term journey would likely centre around our cross capabilities with another organisation, which is what lead us to join Projective Group earlier this year. Of all the propositions we received, this was the only one we felt complemented DTSQUARED perfectly and that we thought would benefit both our staff and clients the most.
Outside of work I am a father of three, an avid Arsenal supporter and firm believer that I am the best golfer in the world – that is until I actually hit the ball. In all seriousness, I am very passionate about golf as it brings a strong spirit of competition and comradery which I love. I completed an IRONMAN back in 2016 and have quietly (until now) promised myself that I will do another one in Barcelona next year. No going back now… I am the type of person who likes to try anything, but in all areas of life I am mindful that I calculate the returns on my effort so I know it is a good investment of my time.