Breakfast of Champions

In case any of you noticed, I was out of the office yesterday morning attending an event in London, at the kind invitation of our PR agency, Champion Communications. They were hosting an event called ‘Breakfast of Champions’, which was at Shoreditch House. The event centred on a Q&A session with an author called Luke Dormehl, who has just written a book on algorithms, called ‘The Formula’. It was certainly an intellectual way to start the day!

After making my way from Surrey all the way into town (sweltering on the tube as I went), I arrived to see the Champion team buzzing around the room making sure everything was in order as the guests arrived. It was great to see the team in action, and soon the room was filling up with guests, clients, and journalists.

Breakfast is served

After chatting with some friendly faces, and having a bite to eat, we were given a brief introduction to the event by Champion’s director and founder, Richard Cook, who explained why they were hosting this event; which was to provide a stimulating breakfast networking environment, and also to give some food for thought for us all as business people, in whichever capacity that is.

Once he finished his introduction, the presenter and author took to the stage to discuss the book and give some insight into why he chose to write it. ‘The Formula’ is a book all about how algorithms are used in business and society, and soon the audience were asking questions ranging from how this affects policing through to search engine results on Google.

The event in full flow

The event in full flow

I must say that it was a different, yet very thought provoking way to spend a morning. Data collection, data mining, and the analysis of this data are becoming an increasing part of society, with both pros and cons. What was apparent from much of the discussion is that common sense, from a human perspective, is always necessary, as data cannot always be relied upon to solve problems. The human brain is something that cannot be underestimated!

Presenter Richard Kilgarriff and author Luke Dormehl


Once finished, we were lucky enough to get a signed copy of the book. What struck me, from an MTI perspective, is that throughout my career I have always preferred to live in the real, not virtual world – getting out there, doing business face-to-face, and not relying on a computer to give me the answer when faced with a business problem. Yes, computers have their place, but often you cannot underestimate the value of one-to-one interactions in the business world.

Silverstone Grand Prix

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited as a VIP guest of our business partner EMC and Team Lotus to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. After getting out of bed at 4.45am, an ungodly hour especially for a Sunday, I made my way to the event in order to get there for 7am, so I could immerse myself in the full Formula 1 experience.

My access all areas pass

My access all areas pass

Ian Parslow and Craig Russell were also invited, but I can’t say for sure that I saw them there at 7am or even 8am for that matter…probably arriving at 8:30am.

As the day got underway, I got called away from all the excitement to go and rescue two executives from Telefonica and Visa International who had forgotten to pick up their passes and were stuck in the Paddock car park. I was lucky enough to have been given an access all areas gold pass, so naturally, I was elected to get these two back into the Paddock Club at the Lotus hospitality suite. It didn’t take long before they were back where they belonged – some twenty minutes later. Sometimes it helps to have an operational outlook in other areas of life!

Team Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado

The fun started when I was fortunate enough to meet ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Pastor Maldonado, one of the Team Lotus drivers, who was kind enough to sign a mini Team Lotus helmet for me and get a picture taken with him. This was all facilitated by a lovely lady called Beth O’Neill, who is the hospitality events manager for Logan Sports Marketing, which supports EMC in these sorts of events. Beth and Logan Sports Marketing, which looks after EMC with their sponsorship of events, from rugby through to sailing, were fantastic hosts during the day, letting us meet some of the drivers and get down in the paddocks during the race.

Following a super lunch and as a special VIP treat we were escorted down behind the scenes by Aimelia Herbert (Johnny Herbert’s daughter) giving us access right into the to the Team Lotus garage area where the real action happens, where we were able to watch the technical teams behind the race work (listening in to the radio as the cars zipped around, and watching while electronic adjustments were being made to the cars as they raced).

Aimelia Herbert and I

Aimelia Herbert and I

Ian Parslow, Craig Russell and Phil Cook also had a great time, and got to experience the action first hand. You can see a picture of us all alongside some of the Team Lotus memorabilia.

Ian Parslow, Phil Cook, Craig Russell and I

I would like to say a big thank you to all the EMC executive management for inviting us out to such an exciting VIP event, in particular Jonathan Martin, SVP, CMO for EMC, for setting up the day & hosting us and converting a Formula 1 novice, such as myself, into a die-hard fan.

MTI take over the Oval

As most of you will already know, last week we held our annual cricket summer social event, and what a success it was. Surrounded by customers and colleagues, I could not have asked for a better evening.

The Oval

The Oval

The afternoon proved to be a great place to meet with a lot of different customers, and I was excited to catch up with many who I often don’t get the chance to speak with. Events like these are always great places to build relationships, and I can definitely say that this year’s was no different. It was great to chat with different customers and friends, build new relationships, and strengthen existing ones.

I must give another big thank you to everyone who attended. It was great to see so many members of the MTI team representing our company, and making sure customers were having a good time too. For those customers who couldn’t attend as well – next year we will have to make sure to take more seats!

I was especially delighted to see that we broke our record with 150 people attending, 30 more than last year. In our 8th year hosting this event, it’s good to see that we’re going strong – even growing. Seeing so many customers enjoying the day with our teams is what makes hosting this type of event worthwhile. 

As for the cricket itself, for those who missed it, Surrey won, just like last year. However this year the umpire faired slightly better, managing to avoid getting knocked out, which I’m sure he was pretty happy about.

It was fantastic to see such a positive response from our customers as well. I have received a wave of emails since the event saying how much they enjoyed themselves.  What made it so special for me is that many of them, particularly some of the newer customers, have commented on what a great team we have here at MTI.

Events like this one are so important to our business because, after all, MTI is all about people. You can’t operate a service business effectively without putting in the effort with regards to face time. This is what builds relationships, and ultimately trust, which we all know is at the core of MTI. 

The event was co-sponsored by our friends at vArmour, and I must say thanks to them for coming along. For those of you who don’t know, vArmour is a leader in data defined perimeter security, and lent their support whilst we were putting together such a successful evening.

This event demonstrates the hard work of our team, and also the trust that our customers put in us. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this possible and to all those who attended – I’m already looking forward to next year.