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Doing business with William Davis of Aderant

Doing business with William Davis of Aderant

The senior director, product engineering of the legal software provider prefers a great team of diverse personalities over a ‘collection of clever clones’.

Name: William Davis

Title: Senior Director Product Engineering, Aderant

Age: 47

Where were you educated?

Birkdale (now Birkenhead) College in Auckland and then Auckland University, engineering and science (incomplete degrees in both).

Where do you live?

East Coast Bays, Auckland, a sniff and a wink at the sea in the distance while close to my office and nice schools.

What are your interests away from work?

I like to play a myriad of racket sports somewhat poorly but usually dangerously over enthusiastically. I also have a long term interest in trampolining as a sport, through my kids.

What are you reading at the moment?

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Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, which is helpfully enabling what to do with all the towels I own. I have a keen interest in current affairs, focusing on humanitarian dilemmas and politics.

What is your favourite movie? Why?

I would cite The Avengers as it has all the elements a movie should have - fast, funny, and the good guy wins in the end. The special effects and explosions and dysfunctional romances don’t hurt either.

What is the most memorable place you've been to?

Antalya in Turkey – tripping over stones that 100 or more generations have tripped over, all laying discarded and carefree, with the local community being so supportive and open with visitors.

You can enjoy your job, be nice to people and still play tough with integrity and honesty.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

A great team is made up of different skills and different personalities blending to achieve more than any collection of clever clones.

Professionally, who do you admire most?

I admire all of the people who have managed and worked closely with me over the years. There are so many great qualities that I would love to aspire to scattered through that group (with tolerance for the quirky probably being a consistent theme in that group at least). If I had to single out one person it would be two similar people who are bosses and friends that showed me that you can enjoy your job, be nice to people and still play tough with integrity and honesty when there’s no option.

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How long have you been working in IT?

27 years.

If you weren't working in IT, What would you be doing?

I was told at school I should be a priest or a politician but I actually think I would be a psychologist.

What was your first job?

I helped travel agents define what they needed from their in-house computer department. I like to think I was a BA before there were BAs (I also typed a lot of numbers into Lotus spreadsheets).

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What's the best thing about working with IT executives?

They often enjoy and believe in what they do, and if conversation dries up you can just say something insulting about iPhones.

What is the worst?

The number of awkward silences when not talking about things in our comfort zone.

What is your favourite networking situation?

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Microsoft and Oracle engineering groups over the years. I love going to our annual conferences overseas and getting a chance to interact with our clients and those working hands-on with our software. Throughout 2014 you’ll be seeing more of Aderant as we increase our active involvement with the NZ IT sector. We have consistently hired very bright graduates and I always enjoy getting to know our new starters.

What will you do when you retire?

Hopefully I will still be able to hit small objects with large racquets, and in my spare time blog some of those pearls of wisdom that I am sure are accumulating in the back of mind to inspire the world. Failing that – it will have to be Avengers re-runs in an apartment on Browns Bay beach so the kids want to visit.

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