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Doing business with Tim Dacombe-Bird

Doing business with Tim Dacombe-Bird

VMware NZ exec talks about the generational change in ICT.

Name: Tim Dacombe-Bird Company: VMware

Position: Regional manager New Zealand

Age: 45

Where do you live? We live in an old villa in Seatoun, in the eastern suburbs of Wellington — a seaside suburb — great for kids, close to the city and importantly, very handy to the airport.

Are you married? Kids? My wife Marie and I have been together for 18 years — married for 11. We have two daughters — Charlotte 3 and Ruby 18 months.

Where were you educated? Porirua and Wellington.

What are your interests outside work? I am a keen golfer, although my handicap has blown out since fatherhood. We have a beach house north of Wellington that has been our renovation project over the past few years. I’ll watch pretty much any sport on TV, although I refuse to watch another NPC or Super 14 Final involving Wellington.

What are you reading at the moment? Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers — with the pressure of work combined with sleep deprivation caused by a young family, a book about stress management is a must. Cats — The Nine Lives of Innovation helps me to understand the true potential of the business I work in. Because virtualisation is leading a generational change in IT, sometimes I find myself constrained by my traditional thinking.

Professionally, who do you admire most? I have been fortunate to work with a lot of great people in my career to date but Russell Hewitt stands out as one of the most influential. I worked with Russell at ComputerLand and Compaq and admired his focus and passion for the business, his ability to quickly make the right decisions and always look like he was enjoying himself.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? More of a mantra really but [professional golfer] Gary Player once said: “The more I practise, the luckier I get.” This is a reminder to me that to be successful I have to keep working at it.

A lesson you’ve never forgotten? Treat others as you would have them treat you.

How long have you been working in IT? Twenty-seven years. Mostly in sales roles although my first eight years in IT were technical. Whilst I no longer consider myself technical, it has been very helpful in my career to have a technically inquisitive outlook.

What was your first job? Telephone technician at the NZ Post Office (pre-Telecom days) working in the Porirua Telephone Exchange. It was a really good job with formal training and certification. In those days the exchanges were electro-mechanical, so a very different world — we even studied valves in my polytechnic training.

What’s the best thing about working with IT executives? We are living in a time of tremendous change — the evolution of IT where virtualisation is fundamentally changing the role of the IT executive. To be working with innovative executives who are leading this charge is very exciting

What is the worst? The very executives leading this charge are often incredibly time poor!

What is your favourite networking situation? Sporting events typically provide an environment for everyone to be themselves and generally without discussing IT

What will you do when you retire? Having kids later in life might rule out retirement in the traditional sense, but when I leave IT I would love to become a builder. I have a nephew who runs a building firm and have talked to him about an apprenticeship. When that gets too hard I’ll cash the pension cheque in for a small boat and spend my days fishing off the north end of Kapiti Island.

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