Doing business with Rob Forsyth of Sophos

Doing business with Rob Forsyth of Sophos

His brother gave him the best piece of advice: 'Get on with it. Whatever you’re doing, do it.'

Rob Forsyth Company: Sophos

Position: Managing director Asia Pacific

Age? 60.

Where were you educated? Melbourne, Australia.

Where do you live? I live in Manly in NSW, Australia. However, Sophos has offices all over the world including one in New Zealand, so I get to travel quite regularly.

What are your interests away from work? My three biggest passions outside of work are my family, rugby and cooking. I try to spend as much time as I can with my family. I’ve always enjoyed playing and watching rugby and for about 20 years, I refereed. In a previous life, I also used to own a seafood restaurant and I try to cook whenever I can find the time.

What are you reading? I read lots of books and simultaneously, as well. At the moment, I’m reading, ‘The brain that changes itself’ which is about neurological science and how brains can be modified. The other book I’m reading is called, ‘After the ice’ which is about mankind before recorded history.

What’s your favourite movie? One of my all-time favourites is ‘Touching the Void’ which is ultimately about human heroism and is a based on the true story of two mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who narrowly escaped death high in the Peruvian Andes in 1985 when Simpson fell and shattered his leg.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Sandy Holloway in the lead up to the 2010 Olympics said, “Do it, delegate it or dump it.” In the same vein, my brother once told me, “Get on with it. Whatever you’re doing, do it.”

Professionally, who do you admire most? I admire small business owners that have the courage to stand on their convictions and forge their own paths. These people are the motor of our economy and contribute to society in more ways than we ever expect.

How long have you been working in IT? More than 40 years. I started at AMP in the era of punch cards in 1967 however, I have worked for a broad range of companies over the years including the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) and ASK Solutions Group. I’m also deputy chairman of the Internet Industry Association and the Director of the Internet Society of Australia. Previously I was a member of the branch executive of the Australian computer society.

If you weren’t working in IT, what would you be doing? I would love to be in archeology investigating Aboriginal history. I would also like to own a Jamie Oliver style restaurant employing disadvantaged youth.

What was your first job? At AMP as a clerical assistant.

What’s the most memorable place you’ve been to? Why? My wife and I were lucky enough to make the 14 hour drive from Puerto Montt in Southern Chile to Bariloche in Argentina one summer. I also loved visiting Dubrovnik in Croatia as it’s a city full of hugely resilient people and deep history.

What’s the best thing about working with IT executives? Technology is ever evolving and IT executives can play a big part in helping societies meet human challenges through innovative technology.

What’s the worst? By our very nature, IT executives are driven by commercial gains and this can inhibit cooperation amongst technology companies.

What’s your favourite networking situation? Sophos holds many signature lunches every year for existing and future customers in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne and other capital cities across Asia Pacific. These are terrific lunches that allow people to delve into issues and ask questions in a non-confrontational environment.

What will you do when you retire? Pursue my interests in archaeology or build a not-for-profit restaurant employing and mentoring disadvantaged youth.

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