This month we interviewed Matthew Thompson, GCOMM’s Business Development Manager and another one of the team members that has been with the company for well over 10 years.
When and why did you join GCOMM? Tell me a bit more about the early days. What were your plans back then, considering you were very young and just starting your career?
I started at GCOMM (then called Data FX Online) in early 1999. I was just completing my undergraduate studies at Griffith University and wasn’t exactly sure the direction I was going to take but knew I wanted to be in technology. Having spent some time with Pete and many other staff over the years I had developed some good friendships so it seemed a natural progression. The business had just really started growing in the Internet and hosting space. It’s an area I was interested in. I remember plenty of clone servers housing different operating systems such as Linux and Windows servers, banks of modems connecting simultaneously and plenty of parties.
What roles have you been involved in over the years at GCOMM? What is your focus now?
All of the roles that I have had have been in business development and sales. I started with inside sales and cold calling, progressed to initial onsite appointments and then to account management. I naturally find it is what I enjoy, talking to customers and approaching new businesses. I love understanding how certain businesses operate, working out how they gain their strategic advantage in the marketplace. My focus now is introducing channel partners to our model, on boarding with our exceptional products and services and helping guide the successful integration of private networks, Internet and cloud platforms for their customers.
What is your experience regarding working with your brothers? One of them, Peter, founded the company, and the other one, Dan, joined around the same time as you, correct? What have been some of the major challenges over the years of working together?
Yes, Peter started the company and Dan joined a month after I did. Interesting questions. Overall, it’s been a positive experience. It’s fair to say I have done a lot of growing up both personally and professionally since I have started working and both of my brothers have been supportive in that growth. The great benefit I have had is a level of openness to express ideas, thoughts and strategies without feeling I am out of place.
Some of the major challenges at least in my mind have been losing the little brother tag and getting respect for my career. I have had to work hard to gain that. As the company has matured and grown, this has become less of an issue. I more feel a part of the vision, direction and team at GCOMM. Driving growth, developing partnerships etc.
Additionally it can be hard to separate our personal lives from the business; it’s very easy to lead conversations back to work. It hasn’t been easy but we have a good understanding now.
What are some of the main reasons you stayed in the company for 14 years?
One of the main reasons I have stayed at GCOMM is that the company fits in with my personal and professional goals. GCOMM is such a dynamic, evolving entity. It is growing, improving and striving to be better at everything it does – it’s a great culture, people are friendly and we really work as a team. It’s really all I have known as well, so it’s hard to compare, but I certainly feel like I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do the things and express myself the way I do elsewhere. Additionally, we have a real purpose – to be the best service based telecommunications provider in Australia and as a company we are only just starting to hit our straps. The next 5 – 10 years I see very bright things for the company and I want to be part of that.
Favourite aspects of working at GCOMM?
I really enjoy working with the people at GCOMM. Everyone is just easy to get along with. I enjoy working with customers and designing complex network solutions. I enjoy solving complex problems and helping to make a difference to our partners and customers businesses. Helping them take their businesses forward, delivering value.
In a broader sense I actually enjoy the industry. There are amazing things happening in the IT, networks, gaming and Internet industry. It has and will continue to, revolutionise the way we work. Every industry is facing major challenges whether it’s through new global competition and new players competing at a fraction of the cost of traditional business models.
You relocated to Sydney 2 years ago. How has this influenced your job? Did it make working with the team located on the Gold Coast harder?
Sydney has been a very interesting change personally. Workwise it is not easy to move from an office environment to a remote office environment. It took a while to get my head around it and to feel that I was staying “connected”. Over time it has become easier. We use video conferencing, instant messaging and Salesforce Chatter to keep updated. Also, I tend to fly up once a month to catch up with the team. In sales our job is to be out there meeting people so I spend a lot of time with my partners. The key is discipline in your job and knowing when to turn off.
Do you like living in Sydney?
I heart Sydney. Sydney is an amazing city, amazing harbour, amazing energy. Beach is close, scenery is incredible. It is one of the most expensive cities in the world however it’s been a huge life experience to move here from the Gold Coast. For example the Vivid Festival has just started here this week and last night my partner Alexis and I we were down at the harbour on the foreshore having cheese and a glass of red watching Opera House and Harbour Bridge light up like some sort of technicolour dream. Life is good.
What are some of the biggest trends in the IT industry currently? How is GCOMM adjusting to these?
For me, the move to infrastructure from both traditional vendors and service providers into offering cloud and mobility are big trends. Cloud computing has really started to be taken seriously by business and what once was seen as radical is now seriously getting the attention of CEO, CFOs and management. Although we have not seen a huge uptake of everything hosted, we are moving in that direction. We want to have what we want, when we want it, accessible from whatever Internet connected device we have.
Also devices, whether tablets or phones, are now Internet connected devices. I recently saw a report that showed in India, mobile Internet traffic has already surpassed desktop traffic. Amazing.
GCOMM is well positioned as a service provider to connect and partner with vendors that meet changing needs. We understand the value is not so much the network but it is how that network performs and delivers the services and applications that business requires in a timely manner that is important.
What are some of the things you like to do in your free time/hobbies?
I really enjoy writing and playing music. I have just joined a band down here in Sydney. I have a passion for cricket and have spent many days at the SCG watching the players sweat it out. Also I enjoy discovering and exploring where I live. There are some fascinating walks and views all around the harbour.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans short term is really to continue developing my professional business skills. Anthony Robbins calls it CANEI (Constant and Never Ending Improvement). I want to stay in Sydney and build a life and future here. Longer term, I want to build some positively geared assets and generate passive income through business, property, shares and maybe even a song or two!♦ End