07 November 2023
John Diamond, senior solutions architect, product, Park Place Technologies
Which law would you most like to change?
The Blue Laws … these are antiquated laws in parts of the US, including in the county where I live, that prevent useful shops such as DIY stores opening on Sundays. I’ve been to a food store on a Sunday morning where the aisle containing the rice cookers and kettles was cordoned off until noon. Can you imagine the frustration when you need another pipe joint halfway through mending a kitchen sink and have to drive to a neighbouring county to find an open hardware store on a Sunday afternoon?
What was your big career break?
I started my career working for a computer subsystems manufacturer which is where I also got my opportunity to move from the UK to the US. I then took an opportunity to move from a development role to a customer facing technical sales position at a different company and this was also when I started with network management, and I’ve never looked back. I find it rewarding to see how your actions can directly help customers improve their working lives and business productivity.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I had to take public transport to get to my high school in the UK and there was a time when I wanted to be a double decker bus driver. By the time I needed to look for a career, these dreams had been replaced by an interest in electronics and computing which lead directly to the world of software which is where I’ve happily continued for the last 30 years.
If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would you choose?
Having been instrumental in the introduction of web accessibility into the world of network management, I’d cherish the opportunity of talking to Tim Berners-Lee. His work at CERN to connect information repositories with the users that needed it in a way that related documents could be arbitrarily linked, opened up the previously arcane subject of information science to a world of users that didn’t even know what they’d been missing out on before.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
If you don’t like the tone of an email or feel someone is being disrespectful or unreasonable in their communications, pick up the phone and have a chat to them … nine times out of ten it’s a misunderstanding, especially if there’s a cultural difference. These differences are especially subtle between the US and UK and can easily be overlooked. There’s so much truth in the statement that these two countries are divided by a common language.
The Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
The Beatles, without hesitation. When songs can be played on a piano without a stage, band, amplifiers and theatrics and it still gives you goosebumps you know you’re dealing with truly magnificent musical creations. I remember taking my family to a Beatles exhibition in Montreal, Canada where we found a piano sitting in the street outside. My younger daughter, a teenager at the time, regaled us with a rendition of Eleanor Rigby and a passing kindergarten class stopped and applauded when the performance came to an end.
If you had to work in a different industry, which would you choose?
Wooden boat building. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats,” said the Rat in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows and I couldn’t agree more. Mixing two of my lifelong interests, woodwork and boating would be a dream come true.
What’s the greatest technological advancement in your lifetime?
I think it would have to be the internet. I thought about nominating microcomputing, high speed networking, data storage, display technologies and other crucial developments that underpin our modern lives, but the internet is what brings these all together to give a result that exceeds the sum of the individual contributors.
What would you do with £1 million?
I’d buy a canal boat and a canal side property with a mooring in the UK. The biggest challenge could be that it might be a tall order for £1 million. My wife and I love pottering about on the British canal network where the earliest days of the industrial revolution are still evident in the 250-year-old technology which is still being used today.