Five minute interview: Tim Marston, 10gen

Opinion

Five minute interview: Tim Marston, 10gen

Tim Marston_ Channel Manager.jpgThis week, Tim Marston, EMEA channel manager at open source database software specialist 10gen, answers our probing questions

Tell us what you do for a living
As the EMEA channel manager for 10gen, I am responsible for building and managing our ecosystem of partners and alliances across the region. 10gen are the creators of the leading non-relational open-source database, MongoDB.

Why are you the right person for this job?
MongoDB is an open-source technology, and that's my background. It's also a technology that has been particularly well-adopted by agile software development teams, and in my earlier career, I had established the first specialist recruitment practice for agile teams in the UK.

My previous role was spent building the partner ecosystem for Red Hat in EMEA, and it is great to take the lessons learned from a $1bn company like that, and use them to scale the sales of 10gen most effectively.

What gets you up in the morning?
Our market opportunity. We are in a very fortunate position as the reputation of our technology and the community install-base is growing at a phenomenal rate. We therefore find ourselves limited purely by our own capacity, which is why building an effective channel is so important. Oh, and my son. He gets me up in the morning too!

Who helped you get to where you are today?
My former boss, Petra Heinrich at Red Hat, was a pivotal influence for me. Truly inspiring leaders are rare things.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received, and from whom?
The best advice I ever received was that you make your own luck.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in IT?
Look carefully at the background of the companies you are considering working for. Although the big brands may have an allure, they can often not give someone the breadth of experience that will build a good foundation for a career.

Will Windows 8 be the new XP, or the new Vista?
Microsoft are finding themselves increasingly challenged across a number of their traditional markets, and it has been good for everyone in forcing better innovation from them. They are trying to steer a super-tanker, so it will be interesting to see whether they can maintain relevance. With end users increasingly moving to mobile devices, and businesses moving to cloud services, some further re-invention is required.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?
Many vendors are introducing more direct sales channels through the medium of cloud services, so it is clear that channel partners cannot stand still. Some software and services companies are introducing new incentive structures with on-going commission for partners after an initial deal closes, so it will be interesting to see if that trend spreads.

Tell us something most people do not know about you
My first career was in archaeology.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?
Writing a decent book. I'm pretty sure I have one in me somewhere.

What is the best book you have ever read?
This regularly changes. Right now I would say it is Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.

And the worst film you have ever seen?
Meet Joe Black. It was te only time I have been so frustrated by a film that I left the cinema part-way through.

What would be your desert island MP3s?
Probably some calming classical music, like Brahms. It would have more longevity if my stay was going to be a long one.

What temptation can you not resist?
Aubergine parmagiana. I don't know why, but I just love it.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?
A Citroen 2CV. Life is a lot more automated these days, and there's something distinctly less exciting about not needing to surf the slipstream of lorries to get along a motorway.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with, and why?
Michael Moore. I would expect that he wouldn't stop talking, and after a while that could be frustrating.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?
A bee. It would be fascinating to understand what enables such fantastic efficiencies of collaboration.

If you could represent Great Britain (or your home country) at one event in the 2012 Olympics, which would you choose and why?
The heptathlon or another multi-event sport. They seem to be the truest demonstration of a rounded athlete.

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?
Sun Tzu. I expect he would prove quite resourceful in a difficult situation.

A grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?
Neither will come out of it looking like a hero.

This was first published in March 2012

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