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Life at full throttle for Maxnet's John Hanna

Life at full throttle for Maxnet's John Hanna

He didn’t start riding horses until he was 37 and describes it as “bone breaking”.

Looking back over his career, Hanna says two roles stand out.

“The most influential was the time I spent at Solnet [from 1996 to 2003]. It was pretty formative to work out what it took in order to build a large brand. We built a business with a revenue of $100 million.”

Hanna helped to grow the company from 15 employees to 143.

“I was responsible for sales and marketing for the company. It was my first brand build to differentiate it from Sun Microsystems because Solnet was [Sun’s] distributor at the time.”

The second is his current role at Maxnet.

“Finally, I’m working for an organisation that represents the convergence of IT and telco at a time when the market is yelling out ‘cloud’. A combination of datacentres and networks means you can do some amazing things.”

After leaving Solnet, Hanna joined Computerland as sales and marketing director, until Telecom purchased it in 2005.

“I made a decision to join IBM and run the northern half. Nick Lambert, who was general manager of IBM, had been trying to get me to work for IBM for quite some time.”

After two years at IBM he went to Simpl Group as chief operating officer, before heading out on his own to do strategy development within organisations.

“This is when I first came across Maxnet. I was doing a piece of work for North Shore City [council] baselining the digital strategy.”

He became involved with the Maxnet board more than a year ago, and began in the CEO role in September last year.

“Maxnet has been an unknown organisation so it was time to refresh the brand and get the message out there. We plan to grow that business significantly, either by strong outgrowth or acquisition.”

After nearly 30 years in IT, Hanna says it is the technology that keeps him excited.

“When I joined the industry we were sending emails via a private network around the world in 1982. The company I was working for was very tightly linked to the US Defence Force and I thought that was amazing.”

However, he believes large chunks of the industry have become conservative when it comes to new technology.

“IT organisations are not as fast to adopt new technologies as they were when the IT managers were in their 20s and early 30s. CIOs and heads of IT are now in their 50s and 60s. Some of them are embracing the changes in the industry and others are stuck in what Microsoft decided they should be working on a decade ago.”

Hanna’s currently priorities are increasing Maxnet’s managed services capability and improving its end to end datacentre offering.

“We also want to be an organisation that is able to take advantage of bandwidth and data capacity around the country.”

He didn’t start riding horses until he was 37 and describes it as “bone breaking”.

Looking back over his career, Hanna says two roles stand out.

“The most influential was the time I spent at Solnet [from 1996 to 2003]. It was pretty formative to work out what it took in order to build a large brand. We built a business with a revenue of $100 million.”

Hanna helped to grow the company from 15 employees to 143.

“I was responsible for sales and marketing for the company. It was my first brand build to differentiate it from Sun Microsystems because Solnet was [Sun’s] distributor at the time.”

The second is his current role at Maxnet.

“Finally, I’m working for an organisation that represents the convergence of IT and telco at a time when the market is yelling out ‘cloud’. A combination of datacentres and networks means you can do some amazing things.”

After leaving Solnet, Hanna joined Computerland as sales and marketing director, until Telecom purchased it in 2005.

“I made a decision to join IBM and run the northern half. Nick Lambert, who was general manager of IBM, had been trying to get me to work for IBM for quite some time.”

After two years at IBM he went to Simpl Group as chief operating officer, before heading out on his own to do strategy development within organisations.

“This is when I first came across Maxnet. I was doing a piece of work for North Shore City [council] baselining the digital strategy.”

He became involved with the Maxnet board more than a year ago, and began in the CEO role in September last year.

“Maxnet has been an unknown organisation so it was time to refresh the brand and get the message out there. We plan to grow that business significantly, either by strong outgrowth or acquisition.”

After nearly 30 years in IT, Hanna says it is the technology that keeps him excited.

“When I joined the industry we were sending emails via a private network around the world in 1982. The company I was working for was very tightly linked to the US Defence Force and I thought that was amazing.”

However, he believes large chunks of the industry have become conservative when it comes to new technology.

“IT organisations are not as fast to adopt new technologies as they were when the IT managers were in their 20s and early 30s. CIOs and heads of IT are now in their 50s and 60s. Some of them are embracing the changes in the industry and others are stuck in what Microsoft decided they should be working on a decade ago.”

Hanna’s currently priorities are increasing Maxnet’s managed services capability and improving its end to end datacentre offering.

“We also want to be an organisation that is able to take advantage of bandwidth and data capacity around the country.”


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