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From dating agency to data-centre optimisation

From dating agency to data-centre optimisation


Richard Muirhead of Tideway takes the Finextra Q&A

Date and place of birth: London, 24 January 1972
Residence: London, UK
Marital status: Single
Education: MA in Engineering from Cambridge University
Career path: Entrepreneur-in-residence at Accel Partners; co-founder of Orchestream; senior strategy consultant at Monitor Company

Current posts: CEO - Tideway

Q: What was your first job?
A: When I was younger I worked for my mother's home law firm and a telephone dating agency. I was also a burger delivery boy (on my bike no less).

Q: Who is or was your mentor?
A:  I have several: Peter Williams, John Hunt, Sir Anthony Bamford and my mum and dad.

Q: Which business leaders do you most admire?
A: Marc Benioff at for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Hawaiian shirt Fridays.

Q: If you weren't in your current job, which company would you most like to lead?

Q: Do you read books on management theory? If so, which has influenced you the most?
A: Michael Porter - Competitive Strategy. It's helped me throughout my career to recognise and act on market signals and learn how to overlay my gut instincts with structured frameworks.

Q: Which competitors do you benchmark your company's performance against?
A: We don't. We find it better and more relevant to benchmark ourselves against other innovative companies that are also taking a new approach to enterprise software.

Q: What has been your best experience in business?
A: There's no specific experience. I get a buzz each time a customer chooses us when we've worked hard to earn their business. Nothing pleases me more than when we solve one of our customer's problems. That and getting great people to join the team.

Q: What was your biggest mistake in business?
A: There have been a few, but I'm a firm believer that we learn from our mistakes. A few things I've ‘learnt' from are caring too much, trying to do too much, trying to do everything myself and not taking time off.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A:  Too much coffee - and jet lag.

Q: How do you relax?
A:  Boxing, rowing, hiking, yoga (though never at the same time - that was a painful mistake I learnt from!)

Q: What was the last gadget you bought?
A: MacBook Air/Apple TV

Q: Favourite Web site
A: Such a simple idea, yet the impact it's having on business and society is phenomenal. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing I'd had a go at implementing it.

Q: Desert island disc/book

A: For a book I'd have to go with Jared Diamond, The Third Chimpanzee; I can't decide between two discs so I'd take Prince: The Hits/The B Sides and smuggle in Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet.

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