Who had a big influence on you?


I don't normally go in for the tagging memes but I think this is a good one and Rob asked me to answer it - albeit a while back but it has given me time to think about it 🙂

There are lots of people who have had (and still do) a big influence on me and I actually couldn't choose which to write about as many of them read my blog and I couldn't choose between then and leave others out. Like Rob, I decided who had an impact maybe in a more unusual way - not so much support or mentoring but almost the opposite.

In that case I have to thank a chap called Mr Money (seriously) back at Wirral Grammar School which I attended from age 11 to 17. As we reached A level stage I couldn't really decide what courses to take and in the end plumped for geography, history and business studies (I think!). I was a bit disappointed there wasn't A Level computing but this was the era of the BBC Micro at my school and one Acorn Archimedes. We'd just got a PC at home so I figured I could learn computing stuff at home.

After about 2 months of Business Studies I decided to give up on it. I just wasn't learning enough and in one spectacular moment of petulance I remember saying to Mr Money that I was learning more reading The Sunday Times from cover to cover than I was attending his classes. Needless to say he was non too happy about this and advised me to consider changing courses. I promptly did and took up the computing AS level (which also meant I had to take Science and Technology in Industry as a complementary AS level). Both course turned out to be great and I got to spend time in a small class with my mates Richard Jones, John Kirby and our manic computer teacher Robert <forgot surname>. He was a loony who regularly battled with the establishment of the school and we loved it. He taught us Cobol, computer science stuff and we had a great time. I think I ended up with an A for that course which is not surprising - in fact it's easy when you enjoy something I think.

That choice to ditch Business Studies in favour of an AS level in computing is probably why I am sat here today. As well as some fantastic teachers at Loughborough University (Derek Stephens I salute you).

[update] forgot to tag some folks: Paul Fabretti, Sharon Richardson, Jas Dhaliwal, Katie Ledger & Frank Arrigo

Comments (3)
  1. gareth_horton@datawatch.com says:


    I had a BBC ‘B’ at home. That was after the ZX80 and 81 that me and my dad built from kits.

    Elite was never as good on any other platform.

    I suppose my dad has to be the influence, as he gave me the computer bug.  I never did anything at school or uni with computers, did Physics, Economics and German at A level, then more International Business and German at uni.

    Of course, plenty of computing as a hobby, but I always thought it was just that.

    First job – software sales (financial desperation!). Second job – sales & technical support. Third job –  software product management.

    As you say, "it’s easy when you enjoy something".


  2. Jaysus – I was the other way around.

    King James’ in Knaresborough got funding for a new course B.I.S. – Business Information Systems (read: Business Studies and Word Processing on Amstrads).

    As such, they decided that BBC Micro’s weren’t the future and cancelled as a GCSE, Computer Studies…think the deputy-head is serving fries in McDonalds now…I ended up going down a road of Business, Econimics, French…but not computing.

    BIG pisser for me.

    BIG pisser.

  3. Joining Dots says:

    Done! Somewhat belatedly (don’t ask – work and house renovation got in the way) – http://www.joiningdots.net/blog/2007/12/who-had-big-influence-on-you.html

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