Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why are you doing telecoms consultancy?

Well, I could echo Willie Sutton and agree that that's where the money is!

Beneath the surface, there is an intellectual continuity between computer science, IT, telecoms and strategic marketing which forms a path for my career. After my teenage obsession with theoretical physics, and my excursion into Marxist politics in my twenties, my thirties was the period when I discovered the wonders of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. This may sound weird, but the really fascinating areas of computer science for me are in programming language semantics, computational logic and mathematical logic itself (proof and model theory). This was my Ph.D. topic of course, as well as the subject of my completed first degree (with the Open University). So when I had a chance to do software research at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in Harlow in 1982, I was over the moon - paradise!

Telecoms was what I did in my forties. I first learned about telecoms when STL was acquired by Bell-Northern Research (BNR) in 1990 (BNR was the R&D arm of Northern Telecom and Bell Canada). From computer science I went through a whole new learning curve looking at the design of SDH and fibre systems, Frame and ATM networks, then voice and IN network design, and finally IP network architecture, design and engineering. This was high-touch consultancy, leveraging the vast experience of BNR in North America to advise new carriers in Eastern and Western Europe how to build modern networks. My first encounter with customer-facing consultancy and it worked for me.

Since leaving Nortel and setting up Interweave Consulting, I have had the experience of freelance consulting, which is a personal growth experience when it comes to personally carrying out sales and marketing!