Life Lessons: Keep it simple and put yourself in your customers’ shoes

Simon Wilson of Aruba

Simon Wilson is chief technology officer for Aruba UK & Ireland , a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. In this role, he works as a brand ambassador articulating the Aruba vision for experience-driven infrastructure.

Simon also works closely with Aruba customers and partners across all markets to design smart and secure workspaces that maximise business productivity.

Here, he shares some of the Life Lessons he has learned from a successful career working across multiple disciplines in product management, marketing, and channel operations roles. His experience also includes network design and electronic engineering.

IoT Now: As a child what job did you want to have when you grew up?

Simon Wilson: My computer studies teacher would say I was ‘bitten by the micro big’ early on, so I guess working in IT was something of an inevitability. However, my childhood dream was to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and join the Royal Air Force. Sadly, my eyesight was not good enough to become a pilot, so I investigated becoming an Air Loadmaster. That’s the person you see pushing air-drop supplies out the back of transport aircraft like the Hercules. Not a pilot but still flying.

IoT Now: If you had one business lesson to share with your younger self what would it be?

Simon Wilson: Oh, many, many things. Although that being said, it might just be my background in engineering making me analyse the things I do and figure out ways I could’ve done them better. However, both the business and personal sides of me tries to always move on. If I have to pick one thing – and this is more of a wondering than a lesson – I think it would be to have committed to running my own company.

Back in the 90s, I ran a small IT reseller business but eventually sold out when I got an offer to join Bay Networks. Although I don’t regret my time with Bay, in fact, those years were amongst the best in my career, I do wonder where life would have led me if I’d stuck with my own business.

IoT Now: Without naming and shaming, tell us about your worst ever boss?

Simon Wilson: This one is easy. Some years ago, at a previous company, I was placed in the terrible position of having to lay off some of my staff. My boss at the time demonstrated a lack of leadership, was not supportive at all and thought shouting was the best way to get things done. The whole event was traumatic and affected me for quite a while. While I’ll never forget that boss, he did teach me how not to behave as a leader. I’d like to think I benefitted in the long run.

IoT Now: Which Internet of Things (IoT) use case has recently fired your imagination?

Simon Wilson: I’d have to say it’s use in home automation. I think it’s a really exciting area that could help people live their lives in a healthier way as well as help us as a society reach our goals for sustainability. The challenge though is that big tech companies need to get it absolutely spot on. Too often there are instances of an exciting start-up being acquired by big tech, only for said ‘big tech’ to change direction and leave early adopter consumers high and dry.

IoT Now: What has been your most memorable business travel experience?

Simon Wilson: I was living in California with my young family and had travelled to Winnipeg in Canada for a conference when 911 happened. Like everyone at the time, we did not know what the full extent of the attack was or would be and we couldn’t get home. I remember being ‘stuck’ in Winnipeg for a week before I could get home to California. Memorable, but not for the right or nice reasons.

IoT Now: What lessons have you learned from doing business in other countries or organisations?

Simon Wilson: Keep it simple. Using long words and acronyms isn’t clever if the person you are talking to doesn’t get it. And, if they don’t it’s your fault, not theirs. We all need to listen more and take the time to make sure we understand and are understood. Especially when crossing cultural or language barriers.

Also, as a technology industry, we seem obsessed with talking about features when what customers really want to know is what’s the benefit to them. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Can you see the benefits, and would you buy it if it was your own money?

Simon Wilson joined HPE in March 2014 with more than 25 years’ experience in the networking industry. Before this, he was with Nortel/Avaya for 16 years where he worked across product management, marketing, and channel operations roles. His experience also spans network design and electronic engineering. Simon led the EMEA product marketing team and worked in Nortel’s Global product marketing organisation in North America. Prior to that, he had worked in the SMB reseller market and in distribution. Simon holds a BTEC in Engineering from Croydon Technical College in the UK.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow


9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

Wasabi Technologies and Axis Communications partner on interoperable cloud storage for modern video surveillance

Posted on: January 28, 2022

Boston, MA, USA. January 26th, 2022 – Cloud storage company Wasabi Technologies, is partnering with Axis Communications, a specialist in network video, to deliver cloud storage for AXIS Camera Station (ACS) VMS.

Read more

IoT permanent roaming connections to reach 825mn globally in 2026, says Kaleido Intelligence

Posted on: January 28, 2022

London, UK – Kaleido Intelligence’s IoT Roaming: Market Strategies & Forecasts 2022 report predicts a 27% average annual growth in permanent roaming IoT (Internet of Things) connections between 2021 and 2026, as market demand for sensing, monitoring and telemetry applications grows following on from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more