Mark Williams began working part-time at the Apple Education Centre as a Mac technician while at university.
“By the time I’d done my third year of university, I ended up working full-time for another Apple reseller as a computer technician. After that they quickly realised I was quite sharp at sales so I’ve been in sales roles ever since.”
Linksys is a subsidiary of Cisco and Williams has been with the company for two years.
“The role involves looking after the Linksys brand in New Zealand. It’s all aspects of the brand, from the resale business to channel.”
A self-confessed 'gadget head’, Williams says networking is the most exciting and interesting sector in IT. “It always pays to do a job that involves something you’re interested in.”
Williams has worked in the industry for more than 10 years, but took a break in 2001 to teach English in Japan.
“Japan was pretty amazing. The technology blew my mind, but also the scale of everything. The lifestyle was quite different and learning to live in such a small space was definitely an eye opener for me. Getting an insight into the Japanese culture and people was a great experience.”
When Williams returned to New Zealand he took a role at Ingram Micro where he was product manager for Cisco and Linksys. “I’m very familiar with the brand.”
Away from IT, Williams is a keen traveller.
“Travel is one of my hobbies and I really enjoy going to check out different places. I also spend a lot of time with friends around Auckland and generally enjoy the outdoors, especially in summer time.”
Next on his travel list is Iceland.
“There are so many reasons to go but the main reason is the scenery, which I’ve heard is absolutely spectacular.”
The most memorable destination he visited is one of the last outposts of communism, North Korea.
“They have government tour guides with you the entire time making sure you don’t run off and talk to the locals. It was very interesting to go and see a country that’s in the state that it’s in at the moment and to see their take on being an isolationist country compared to the rest of the world these days.”
Williams says he also likes revisiting destinations such as London and New York.
While he doesn’t play team sports, Williams skis during winter.
“Normally I go to Ruapehu in the North Island. Last time I went skiing was in August last year which was great.”
He is so interested in networks that he admits to tinkering on one at home. The centrepiece of his home network is a current network Linksys DMA 2200 Media Centre Extender.
“I’ve been playing around with the plug-ins that are available for the media centre on the internet. There are a lot of plug-ins available in that home automation space. It’s quite amazing what you can do with a media extender and your home network. The network is constantly evolving too.”
Although not a gamer, he admits to indulging in karaoke on the Playstation Singstar.
“That’s my semi-competitive sport. I wouldn’t say I was very good, but better than the people I challenge.”
Williams plans to stay with Linksys for a while, saying it treats employees well and has good products in the market.
As the only local Linksys representative, Williams says he gets plenty of support from the Australian office.
“I’m also quite lucky that I work with the local Cisco team and they’re supportive as well. They’re very enthusiastic about the success of the Linksys brand in New Zealand.”
Williams spends a reasonable amount of time on the road visiting customers.
“There are a lot of smart and switched-on people in the industry and it’s always a privilege to meet a lot of the real innovators out there.”
Although hesitant to name just one mentor, he says the Cisco team has provided a lot of knowledge.
“In my previous role at Ingram Micro there were a lot of good things learnt from that experience as well. In both cases it’s a reflection of working for two good companies.”