Cloudflare TV

Legends of Tech

Presented by Chris Georgellis, Josh Hannaford
Originally aired on 

A weekly podcast where Chris Georgellis, on the Customer Development Team, interviews people across the tech industry. From veterans, to hall of famers, day to day tech industry people as well up and comers. Get to know them as individuals, find out what drives them, how they got into tech, and what they see now.

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Transcript (Beta)

G'day everyone, welcome to Cloudflare TV, Legends of Tech. Today, we are joined by a superstar legend himself.

He's an account executive superstar of the ANZ market. He's an actor, he's a muso, he's an overall champion bloke, one of the best humans I know.

Please welcome Josh Hannaford. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

Good to be here. Good to be here with you. How are you, my friend? Good, mate.

How are you, mate? How's things? Good, good. Yeah, hanging in there, my friend.

Recently, I had a fight with a barbecue, you know, or not a barbecue, I should say a pit fire out while camping.

So, trying to get over some third degree burns after a bit of a skin graft.

But, mate, doing well other than that, doing very well.

It is, mate. So, how the hell did you get burned? Can I hear the story? Oh, mate.

Well, look, you know, it was just one of those things. My wife had never been camping before.

So, it was one of those things. So, I had to indoctrinate her into the life of Australians, really.

You know, you've got to get out and get camping, right?

So, she's Irish. So, it made sense that we needed to go out and do that.

And likewise, what accompanies with, you know, when going out camping is a bit of drinking.

So, we did a little bit of that. We had one of those Bunnings campfires that was a pit.

And, you know, and it was sort of raised above the ground.

And so, anyway, me being me being deep and meaningful in conversation and whatnot, I had my Ugg boots on, was all rugged up and whatnot because it was quite cold.

And lo and behold, someone is mucking around with the fire, stoking the fire.

And then one of the fire coals or embers manages to fall off and onto my Ugg boot.

Now, I didn't feel that the coal hit my boot. And so, it just stayed there and managed to burn through the Ugg boot until it got to my foot.

And because you're warm, you're around a fire, you've got the Ugg boot on, it's like you don't really realise it until it's actually burning your skin.

So, ended up with some third -degree burns, my friend, which wasn't pretty.

But look, we're getting there. Oh, and so what?

So, did they have to put a graft on to fix that up? Yeah. Yeah. That was the worst bit.

So, when you get a third-degree burn, you actually lose the sensitivity in the nerve endings.

So, the burn itself didn't really hurt too much. But when they did the graft, that was the, you use a cheese grater on your thigh.

That wasn't the nicest thing to get over.

But look, we're getting there. Oh, I'm getting there.

They take a patch of skin from your thigh and they stuck it on your foot.

Yeah. Stuck it on your foot. Yeah. Use a bit of glue, stuck it on the foot. And you've just got to keep it dry.

So, the worst thing you can do is get it infected because then it becomes an issue.

So, mate, needless to say, I'm really looking forward to having a full-body shower come Friday.

I'm sure. I'm sure Nora will be happy about that one.

I think she will be too. Yeah. She'll be happy. Yeah.

All good, mate. Well, mate, speedy recovery. You're like a stuntman. You've broken shoulders.

You've broken ankles. You've burnt your foot. Mate, you're on fire now.

Yeah. Yeah. That's right. Pretty much, I love your story and your backstory in terms of how you got into IT, mate.

So, mate, you've got an illustrious career. You've worked for some companies and you work for a good one right now.

Been quite successful. But like all things, mate, how did you get into the tech industry?

I'd love to hear the story and the background around it.

Yeah. Well, look, I mean, as you mentioned, I did some acting back when I was fairly young and finished up from a performing arts school here in Sydney and then went over to Los Angeles for a couple of years, about three and a half in total.

But I went to a conservatory, a theatre academy over there, LACC, and had a great time.

Really loved it. We were studying, I don't know, 12, 14 hours a day, five, six days a week type of thing.

And doing the typical actor thing, I was working in restaurants.

And over in the US, you can make some pretty good money in tips.

And that was sort of how I put myself through college over there.

So it was great. Really loved it. Learned a lot over there. I was pretty young, studying with a lot of more elderly people, but it was great.

Really good. Then I came back and I found it difficult because I didn't have the same sort of network of people that I'd studied with over there.

Difficult to continue doing, I guess, my passion and the thing that I really was keen to do, which was to act.

So I did a play, did some teaching and things like that.

And then I was just doing odd jobs, restaurant work and whatnot, and just got tired of doing bad and low paying jobs.

And so I managed to get into sales and my first sales gig, which is not on my resume, was actually going out and knocking door to door, selling mobile phones.

So that was an experience. And I think I would encourage anyone that wants to challenge themselves to have a look at stuff and doing something like that.

It's not for everybody, but it certainly takes a bit of cojones, as they say, to go up and knock on some random people's doors to try to sell them something.

But look, I had a bit of success there and then sort of worked my way up to selling into businesses, doing the same thing for mobile phones.

But then I guess the pivotal moment for me, I did a little bit of service provider work for a reseller.

And then after that, I then managed to, I don't know how, but managed to sort of flag my way into working for an integrator.

And this particular integrator was fantastic for me.

I learned a lot along the way. I think I was pretty much out of my depth when I first signed on.

And look, it was an interesting journey.

I think I almost got fired twice, just because it just wasn't what I knew.

And I learned this later down the track. But obviously, with going through that experience, I learned and picked up the skills along the way and then had a lot of success in that organization.

And I then went to a vendor and remained with them for the next five and a half years.

Worked on some pretty large projects, which was great.

Then I went and worked with you for a while, or for you, I should say, which is great.

Really enjoyed it. And that was an interesting experience as well.

I think we sort of pushed ourselves into a different avenue that we hadn't gone down before.

I'm not sure how you want to look at it. And then now I've ended up at a software organization, which is sort of the direction that I really wanted to go in.

That's amazing, mate. I just find it fascinating.

I think, and I had this conversation with a lot of people, IT is not a traditional path.

It's not like you grow up, I want to become an IT, I want to move into the tech sector.

When we were growing up, these companies that we worked for didn't even exist.

And then there's no clear path to this. So it's just interesting to hear your story, being an actor, studying in LA, working in restaurants.

I mean, you can argue customer service sort of transfers between what you're doing.

But I guess the thing I'm curious about, how has acting helped you do your job?

Not saying that you're a bullshit artist. All I'm saying is, I guess, like all things, you've gone into a role, like you said, you're out of your depth, you have no clue what you're doing.

And I think a lot of us have had that moment where it's like a shit moment.

Did that help you or did that actually help get you through the early stages of your career?

Yeah. It's funny, right?

When you say that you're in sales to someone, they typically, and particularly if you then mention, well, I studied acting first, they go, ah, no wonder you can bullshit.

And it's like, no, it's a very different thing.

And it's very different. And it's quite comprehensive what we went and studied, what I studied over there in LA.

I remember for the first year, I wasn't allowed to talk or perform on stage in front of, or do sort of a live performance in the theater.

We had to, some of the first exercises that we had to do was just to literally go up onto the stage and say your name, where you're from or your age or what have you, and then walk off.

And from which leg you led with, in terms of keeping open to your audience, to the mannerisms that we all innately have that we've been brought up.

And we have just from what we've learned in society, all of these things play a factor in terms of you getting down to being an instrument.

And I think when you compare that to sales, it's about, well, not only doing that in terms of what you're doing from a performance perspective or education or a conversation or a presentation side of things.

It's also the analysis of your colleagues or peers that are going up and doing those exercises and then coming back and critiquing them on that.

And I think just from an analytical perspective, it's very interesting because you can apply a lot of that to business, to people, to just reading situations, reading, and I think ultimately having, with sales, you want to have an outcome in terms of where you want it to go based on what it is that you're trying to do.

But I think some of the challenges that we face in sales and salespeople is listening to where the customer actually wants to go and then aligning to that.

And I think that just, yeah, using those soft skills, I would say, is a big thing.

So you're saying pretty much doing acting and learning, I guess, the craft of acting has given you the ability to read, I guess, your audience, which in this case, your customer or your colleagues around you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, certainly.

Yeah, absolutely. And I think also from a presentation perspective, I think there's some elements to be gained from acting.

I know that there's a lot of people within business that go and do short courses at the National Institute of Dramatic Art here in Sydney, NIDA, because there's a lot of benefit that you can take out of it.

I think it's quite interesting when you see the walls that we as humans and as individuals put up around ourselves to define who we are.

And you see those crumble and you see vulnerability, or you see a sense of humanness.

It's a very different experience, particularly when you see that and you can engage with that.

That's amazing, mate. Like all things, they're the skills that I think we're probably losing touch of, especially during the last six months.

How have you found, I guess, having your background and now a lot of our meetings are now virtual or Zoom or whatever platform we're on, I guess, have those skills helped you in this situation at all or has it had any issues for you?

I'm not really sure that it's helped me. For me, I've not done a lot of film.

So looking at yourself in a camera and looking down the lens of a camera isn't really my forte and it's not really something I like.

And since COVID, I've actually just gone about and shaved my beard off because I can't stand, you know, you're doing so many Zoom calls, you just can't stand the look of your face.

You've got to just change it up, you know, and whatnot.

So it's actually kind of funny when I did that.

My wife had never seen me without a beard. So she was like, who am I with today?

She thought she was cheating on me. But I guess to your point though, how has it impacted in COVID?

I think for anyone that's, I guess, needs to be surrounded by people, a people person, I think COVID has been quite challenging.

I think there's some great things that technology is enabling with Zoom and with all the other applications that we can use to collaborate and connect, which is great, but there's nothing like having that one-on-one or one-on-multiple connection with others.

You get the delays that come through, you get the, you know, and just I think everything else that's going on outside of just this screen, you know, I think that's all those little mannerisms and things you can't pick up on.

So I think from a customer engagement side of things, it's changed and it's different and it's harder, but I don't think we've necessarily fully identified how to do it well yet.

I think it's something that will probably continue to evolve as we do more of this.

Absolutely, yeah. It's funny, we did our first conference last week in the city.

So, you know, all conferences have been banned, you know, Sydney being not in a bad position in terms of the outbreak and whatnot.

It was just amazing how people just wanted to just chat and talk. Yeah, right.

It was like, I don't know if you remember, you know, after being away from school for six weeks, you get back to school and there's a bit of awkwardness because it's the shaking hands that we elbow.

But literally, like all things right, vendors being at these conferences, it's hard to get, I guess, the full attention of people because they're distracted or they're like, you know, what my boss has sent me, you know, I don't actually want to be here.

But generally, every meeting we had, people just wanted to be there.

And it's not to talk about Cloudflare or us, they just wanted to interact.

Yeah, yeah. It was quite amazing.

Like we had these 30 minutes, they call them speed dating sessions. And like, you know, the first half of it was just talking about how they've dealt with the pandemic and how they've miscommunicated with people and the challenges that they've been having with their staff and trying to do new projects.

So it's quite amazing to hear, I guess, the customer side of the situation and hearing them about how us vendors were behaving as well around.

Yeah, so what was their feedback on that?

I'm curious about that. Since then, like they're, you know, LinkedIn, they got like 30 emails from, you know, 30 different vendors.

They're getting spammed on email all day.

So he goes, what happens after after time, you just switch off and you ignore things.

And it's not that we're ignoring you as a person.

It's just we just get inundated with things. I'm trying to get my job done, you know, unless I need something.

But he goes, what happens as well is it's like all things when you ignore something over a period of time, then it's literally you forget about it.

So something may come up. And if you don't know who that person is, you're just going to completely ignore it.

So it was just interesting to hear their perspective, how they're sick of webinars and sick of, you know, the pandemic, you know, sales pitch and all this sort of other nonsense.

But it was good to just see people just wanting to interact.

Like I think everyone, as great as it's been, you know, there's convenience and communication.

I think just everyone just wanted to reconnect with people and actually, you know, start to do that.

And I think it just proves, you know, that's our human nature. That's, you know, we need that even if you're introverted or even if you're sort of closed in, I think deep down, we still need that connection point.

Yeah, I feel sorry for our friends and countrymen down in Melbourne that are stuck indoors, right.

And have been for what, over 100 days or something along those lines. It's pretty rough with the lockdowns and whatnot.

But so it was a good turnout for that came along.

I mean, there would have been about 150 people there, I think. Like it was quite good.

I think everyone's just happy to see a bit of normality come back. Yeah.

But it was interesting to hear the conversations around how people were managing their teams during this time.

So, you know, because all of a sudden, like, you know, if you look at our company, we've had, you know, half our team joined during COVID and we haven't met people face to face.

So how do we engage with these individuals that they're on their own?

It's different when you're in the office, you can just pop your head out and say, hey, Josh, can you help me with this?

Or hey, whereas, you know, these poor people are sort of in their own little world, and maybe they feel a bit shy to come out or ask questions or do that sort of stuff.

So it was just interesting to hear the perspective of how they were engaging their teams.

I had a lot of feedback around, if things were already in flight, they could close things out pretty quickly.

But people found it hard to get new initiatives going.

Yep, yep. Because, you know, everyone's distracted, and you can't get everyone into a room together to talk about boys and girls, this is what we're doing, here's where we're heading, this is what we want to do.

So yeah, just interesting around that perspective.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens when, you know, when we get back to normality, whatever normality is going to be.

I'm really interested in that end state at some point. But it'll be interesting to see what happens with these large metropolitan areas, where they've got these massive, you know, offices and the likes.

How are we going to collaborate in these areas?

Because obviously, we've proven that the business can continue, it's different, it's challenging.

But, you know, it's going to be interesting to see what happens when, well, do we use the office for a collaboration, you know, as a collaboration tool or tool to collaborate internally, externally, because there's not really necessarily a need to be working at your desk 24 seven, but eight, nine to five, but there's this, it'll be interesting to see what companies actually do around that, I think, you know, so get together for a few hours to collaborate, then go and see customers or go and go out and see your partners or whatever it might be.

It'll be interesting to see what happens there. Yeah, I think definitely, it's going to be a hybrid world, I think, moving forward.

But, you know, how do you collaborate if you've got a bunch of people in a room, and people like, you know, I mean, it's going to be just, it's going to be a different way of dealing with it.

But yeah, that's, that's a good point, mate. We just moved into a new office just before lockdown and literally there for a week.

And then it's like, all right, we can't go back to the office anymore.

So well, we've got for the company I work for, we've got a brand new office, I don't even know where it is.

Yeah, I don't have a swipe card yet.

I have not been. But yeah, I mean, look, I've not been there since, well, back to the old office since March.

But yeah, it's interesting.

Yeah, it's interesting. So yeah, it's pretty good. So how have you, I guess you as a as an individual, have you dealt with, I guess, you know, going through this whole scenario?

And I know you live up, you know, you live up on the coast there.

How's it been for you personally? Has it been good, bad? Have you?

Yeah, look, it's been, I think, it's been good and bad. I think there's, you know, I used to really enjoy working from home.

I think now working from home is quite different.

In some respects, it's a little bit like Groundhog Day when your weeks meld into your weekends and things like that.

But look, for the most part, I think, you know, we're pretty fortunate to have a bit of space in our house that we live in, which is great.

And so I generally go from room to room to lounge room to dining room to whichever room just to vary up the day, right?

And just make it a bit different.

But I think, you know, I would love for normality to come back. I really miss going and seeing customers.

I miss, you know, spending time with the partners.

You know, I think there's that disconnection a little bit between that. It's even though we work in IT and our whole business is around communication and connectivity and collaboration and all that sort of thing.

But, you know, it's different online.

It's different. And I think, you know, that for me has been quite, it's been pretty challenging.

And I think it has been for a lot of people. Yeah, it's a different world, right?

And we've just got to make do with what we've got and see how we go.

Use the cars that you dealt with, right? That's all we can do, right?

Mate, if you look at your life, are there, were there, I mean, you mentioned a pivotal moment before, but did you have any, I guess, those sliding door moments that sort of propelled you?

Yeah, sorry. Sliding door moments. Yeah, I'm thinking of Jim Carrey, you know, with Agentura.

Well, you could have got into that train, but you didn't.

In your life, like, you know, can you look back and go, okay, if I didn't do this, I wouldn't be where I am today?

Oh yeah, look, yeah, interesting.

It's a good question, Chris. I, you know, I honestly think that if I didn't pursue acting, then I wouldn't be where I'm at today, you know, 100%.

And I have my grandmother to thank for that.

She was a speech and drama teacher up in Bulguga, which is north of Coffs Harbour.

And she was a fascinating woman who went and got her HSC when she was in her mid -60s because she wasn't legally able to teach kids how to act.

And fascinating woman. She entered us, me, myself, sorry, me, myself, and Irene, myself, my brother, and sister into some of Stedford's and had good fun doing it and won a bit of money doing it.

So it was one of those things that if it wasn't for her coming down and us, you know, practising and rehearsing and getting things together, that I wouldn't have really ever explored it at all.

And from that, it just opened up other doors, you know. But I guess from a business sense, there was one moment where I felt like I belonged in IT.

And that moment particularly was a good friend of mine and also who was the guy that gave me the chance in business was George Boulus when we went out to a customer meeting.

It was a pretty important customer meeting, large, big customer with, you know, a cast of quite a few people that were around the table.

And I was still fairly early on in my career within that integrator.

And he said to, when we left that meeting, he sort of said, mentioned to me, he goes, mate, he goes, every time I went to step in and say something and suggest something, he's like, you're already over it.

And for me, that meant a lot, you know, for me, it was, it meant that I was on the right path and that I was sort of pursuing and going down the right trajectory is what I felt.

Yeah. So I think that for me, I gained a lot of confidence out of that.

Yeah. That's great. I mean, it's always good to have those moments, right?

Where you go, George, I belong somewhere. And a lot of people don't find that in their careers.

You see a lot of people are in doing things that they don't love or they hate it.

But yeah, it's great to be able to identify a point in your, I guess, in your career to say, this was a point that I had that just took me to that next level.

Yeah. I think the other thing for me personally was, you know, I've been surrounded by some very talented individuals and very, very amazing people at what they do, whatever field they do.

And I think for me personally, I used to get frustrated at not being the best at something, whether that be acting or music or, you know, sales, for instance.

You know, working in IT, you'd see these other, you know, legends of tech, right?

Who would just be sensational.

And for me, I'd go, why am I not at this level? And particularly earlier on in my IT career.

And, you know, it was pointed out to me that, you know, what I'm probably good at is not necessarily being the best at one particular thing.

It's actually being pretty good at a lot of different things. And once I realized that, then I was okay with it.

And it sort of made sense within my head that, okay, I can be a good generalist, you know, and be okay at a lot of different things.

So that for me was another sort of sliding door moment, if you want.

Yeah, that's good. So you're quite a competitive person, I know that. So what does, what motivates Josh?

What gets you pumped up, fired up and flying out of, I guess, your bed in the morning to do what you do?

Yeah, another good question.

I think, yeah, well, like you said, I don't like to lose. I used to be a pretty bad loser actually.

But I've tried to rein that in because it's not really attractive or it doesn't, it's not very appealing either.

So, yeah, look, I mean, so for me, it's winning.

I think, you know, I really, it's something that I like to do.

I do enjoy seeing, you know, from a customer engagement side of things, just the, you know, when you see customer outcomes, particularly if you're given a customer who, or you're dealing with a customer that's going through issues and problems, being able to, once you can get around them or show that your intent is to help support them, it's fascinating to see what happens once you get around it.

But in terms of motivation and the likes, I mean, I'm motivated to, for my family, like my wife and the likes, I'm very much motivated to support them, make sure we have a lifestyle and that we like, that we can do the things that we want to do.

That really is a big motivator for me.

That's great. That's awesome. In terms of your career, are there any, I guess, are there any highlights that stand out to you?

Like, mate, like that, you know, any proud moments or achievements that you've, that you've, that you look back on and go, wow, that's pretty amazing.

Yeah, look, I've had, yeah, some pretty, pretty, yeah, interesting times, I think, and fun times.

One of the, probably the most enjoyable was I was working for a company, Alcatel -Lucent, who I'd worked for for quite some time.

And there was, no, actually at the time, no, I lied.

Sorry. I was back at the integrator. And Alcatel-Lucent was sending over all of the top salespeople over to the Mauritius.

And fortunately, the guy that was beating me in terms of the sales of Alcatel-Lucent wasn't able to go to this particular event.

So I was the second, which I don't really like to be, but I was second.

And anyway, so the boss at the time decided to send me over to the Mauritius.

And I got to go over there, you know, and it was all expenses paid. But look, it was, it was just phenomenal that, that trip over to Mauritius was just out of control.

We swung along some zip lines that just went along across gullies and, you know, like just went for miles.

It felt like we went out into the ocean and did wakeboarding and did some really cool underwater stuff and got to hang out with some tigers and leopards and whatnot.

But one of the coolest things was on the final night, they got up to present all the awards from people from all around the world that had sold a lot of stuff for Alcatel on behalf of Alcatel.

And yeah, at the end of that dinner, we were all pretty exhausted because it'd been a pretty jam -packed itinerary.

And they had all these African people come out and start playing the jambes and whatnot.

And they said, follow us. So a couple of hundred people were following these guys through the dark, you know, little wilderness, if you like.

And we get to this tree and we get inside the tree and all of a sudden the lights go on inside this tree and the DJ starts playing.

And you're like, this is like something out of Avatar.

This is like, I've never seen anything like this before.

So people were swinging on vines within the tree. It was just phenomenal. One of the best experiences I've ever had working in IT.

You know, you just go, it's fantastic.

Why am I not doing this more? So that was definitely a highlight in terms of opportunities or deals that I've done with customers.

There was one particular one that was a multi-million dollar deal for a large government department, which was a global deal, which I've managed to secure.

So that was from a job perspective.

That was probably one of the highlights that I had. Yeah. And what did you, I guess, how did you achieve that?

And how did you win that? You don't have to talk names or customer names or whatnot.

What was your process for that one?

Well, the process for that one was, we had a bit of work to do to actually try to recover a bit of brand issue within that particular account that we had.

So there was a bit of that.

We got through to the right people. We got through to the right executives that were able to help influence what was actually happening in light of the fact that we weren't able to directly respond to the tender that was out.

It meant that we were able to have those discussions, which was great, which really made a difference.

And yeah, look, I think it was the fact that we had, well, it was just through the engagement with those execs, I think is really helpful.


So that was, I guess, engaging and I guess probably listening and driving the outcomes, right?

Yeah. And we also created something new at the time. So I think what I was fortunate to be able to do at that particular time was actually change something.

We did something that had never been done at all within this particular vendor that I was working for.

We set up, I guess, a cloud-like pool of licenses, which the customer could use.

So it meant that they were able to leverage a lot of their existing infrastructure and that kind of thing.

So it was a matter of, like you said, listening to the customer, finding out what are your challenges, what do you actually want as your end state, and then being able to work creatively and work in an organization that actually did listen.

It took about, I think about, I don't know, about six or seven calls late at night, talking with the overseas colleagues to eventually get that through, particularly for when you're dealing with an organization that was quite risk averse.

It was great to see them listen and listen to what we needed to do to win the business.

And they did it, which was great.

Matt, it's amazing. That's great. It probably would have been a good feeling, right?

Yeah. Yeah, it was good. It was a very good one. That's brilliant. If you look back at your career, are there any, I guess, valuable lessons that you've learned on your journey that, I guess, that sort of remind you of things or help or has sort of galvanized you on today?

I think the listening piece is a big piece, right?

You know, and being a creative and emotive person as I am, I think, you know, shutting up is a big key to shut up.

It's a big thing, right? And just truly listen. And I think that, for me, has been a big lesson learned.

And it's still, it's not something that I'm perfect at.

It's something that I have to continue to work at.

So yeah, that for me is a big lesson learned. I think, you know, I think sometimes we can also overthink things.

I know from early in my career, I used to get really technical because you're trying to absorb all this information.

And so you're absorbing all of the stuff that's coming from your technical colleagues.

And that's their job to manage the technical aspects of things.

And that was another little lessons learned for me as well.

Don't get too caught up in the technical side of things and listen.

Listen to the customer, focus on the outcomes that you want to achieve and how you can support them.

Pearls of wisdom, Joshy. Pearls of wisdom, mate.

Outside of work, mate, what do you do to relax and, I guess, to get your mind off things?

Yeah, so look, so I play a bit of music, so a bit of the saxophone and the likes.

I've actually just gone out and had my saxophones repaired, which is never a cheap thing to do.

But look, it's good to have them back. A bit of that, look, I'm a very social person.

So lots of barbecues, going to the beach, you know, taking the dog out and that kind of thing.

So that for me is relaxing.

My wife and I, we live a fairly busy lifestyle. So most of the weekends are generally booked up with events and things like that, that we're going out to do and see.

Love to get out and listen to music as well. So going to different gigs or what have you.

We recently went to a Van Gogh exhibition, which was really cool down in Sydney.

That was good fun. It was nice to see some arts coming back into our lives, which has been so dormant for a long time, you know.

How did you get into saxophone?

How did that? Oh, mate, it was just one of those things that, yeah, I was in year seven at the time, and I heard someone playing the sax and I just went to mum and dad.

I was just like, look, I'm learning the sax. And they didn't have much money or anything at the time.

And they went out and got us a second hand sax.

And that's actually one of the ones that I still played now. And I've hammered it because I used to do some busking in the streets down in Berry when I was a little kid.

I'd take my little boom box out and go and plug it into the PowerPoint and I'd play along.

And for me, I was just sort of I would rehearse like I was at home, but out for people.

And I had my little case out and it was unreal. I mean, this is back in the late 90s.

And I was I think I was making about 20, 25 to 40 dollars an hour.

And I'd do like two hours on a weekend. I don't think they'd pay me so much these days because, you know, as a little kid, you're a bit more cute and all that sort of stuff.

They certainly wouldn't pay me that kind of money now. And I don't think I'm actually very good anymore.

But look, you know, I can fool enough people to think that I'm OK.

Fair enough. So have you always been into music from, I guess, from a young kid?

Yeah. Yeah. Look, so probably I developed it more from a playing side of things.

Yes. From a listening or going out and seeing gigs and things like that.

That was probably something I developed later in life, probably from about 21 and onwards, and then been fortunate enough to go out to quite a few amazing concerts and the likes, which which which I for me, that's really, really enjoyable.

Really, really good. That's fantastic. And I guess learning the sax, how was it easy for you?

Was it hard? Yeah, look, it's I think I put my family through hell, like through hell, like the sounds that come out of that that that that instrument is just, you know, it's it's horrible.

It's really bad.

But once you start to do it, it was one of those things. Again, it was just practice.

Right. It's like anything. I think whether you're looking at any music or sport or, you know, whatever it may be, sales, acting, it's it's having that practice and getting in there and really doing it.

I'd rehearse an hour a day every day.

That was my my thing that I'd do. Now I struggle. I struggle because I don't have the embouchure like I used to have.

And so now I get like bleeding gums, which is not that great.

But it's it's fun still. That's good. Any other instruments? Do you play anything else outside of the sax?

Oh, look. Yeah. So I play a little bit of guitar and bass and the likes, but, you know, I'm just a bit of a hacker at those and was in a band for a little while, which which was good fun.

We used to go and smash out a bit of music and have a little studio that we'd we'd play at every week.

And that was a lot of fun. We didn't ever end up going performing, but it was it was good for the soul.

It was good for the soul and it's good to be able to play play music.

And yeah, it's it's something that I think when you particularly when you're playing in a band, when you have that, you know, that that connection and you're all you're all just right riding that wave that you're on that level.

It's it's it's it's unreal that the feeling that you get out of that, you come out buzzed and really just very excited.

It's very cool. That's awesome. And you find, I guess, doing creative things helps with your day-to-day life or work life as well.

How does that interact with the way you operate as a in a business?

Yeah, from a business context, I think I do enjoy getting creative when it comes to dealing with customers or dealing with the issues or challenges that you tend to face.

I think the more creative that you can get around how you spin it, how you work on it, I think that helps.

I find a lot of what we do kind of boring, to be totally frank.

I mean, there's a lot of process and stuff associated with with what we do.

And that's not necessarily creative. I think for a lot of my old colleagues that I used to study with and whatnot, I think that they're all pretty stunned at what I do now because it's just so left of centre to what they do and the worlds that they live in.

So yeah, you kind of do creative things in a business context, but it's certainly a lot different.

Does it help? I think it does. I think it does.

But yeah, it's different. And I guess, does it help? I mean, everyone's got their own vices in terms of whether it's music, sport.

Is music for you, I guess, your relaxation or something to get away from things?

Yeah, a bit of an escape of sorts.

Yeah, it can be. To be honest with you, I've not gone to the gym. You mentioned sport.

I haven't gone to the gym or done anything from an activity side of things for a long time, just due to a couple of injuries that I've managed to pick up along the way.

And I'm talking maybe probably eight years since I've been to the gym.

But recently, up until my burn, I was going to the gym. And I'd started off with my wife, and I found that that was a really good breakup.

Despite the fact that I really did hate the gym, I found that just going there just while we're in these COVID times, and particularly working from home and spending a lot of time from home, I think going to the gym was a great, really, really good thing.

It was something I actually really looked forward to. It was nice to see changes in your body as well and your mind.

I think it was healthy on a lot of different aspects.

We changed our diets and things like that. And it was stuff that I've not done before, but it was really good, really been enjoying it.

So I'm looking forward to getting back into that, I think, once the foothill's up.

And what's the turnaround on the foot recovery? Ah, look, I think it's a couple of weeks away yet, but it shouldn't be too far away.

In terms of, I guess, people in your life, you know, both personal and business, how important, okay, is it just a Josh show or there's some key people that you surround yourself with?

Yeah, look, I think, you know, it's easy to, particularly when things are tough, to get down, you know, and to really kind of just feel it and you question yourself, you question, you know, am I doing the right thing?

Am I on the right track? Am I focusing on the right things?

Am I making the right calls? And I think to have, you know, your trusted advisors or your people that are within your life that you can talk to, you can rely on, you know, and I think I've got a mix of some amazing people in my life, personally, that come from a range of different backgrounds with a lot of different views on things.

And so, it's kind of, it's nice to have that variation in perspective to really just shine a light on things.

I think, for me, personally, as well, you know, having my wife, she's got my back 100% of the time.

So, at times, being able to just, you know, talk through those moments of, you know, whether that be insecurity or uncertainty or whatever it may be, to work through that and to have that support, that backing, I think it's something that's critical.

Well, it's critical to me. So, yeah, I think, and from just a close-knit, you know, people that I trust, when you get their input, I don't really then listen to the noise of what everybody else may be saying at that particular time.

So, yeah, it's important. That's good. I guess it's a really good point having diversity around you as well.

I know you're a pretty diverse person. So, I think, naturally, you just attract that anyway.

So, I mean, it's good and it's probably good to balance, I guess, your thought process out that way as well, right?

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I find that, particularly when, you know, you can be running in the rat race that we all sort of end up in, you know, and if you're followed by multiple rats that are running along and you're all doing the same thing, it's like, well, you're all thinking in the same sort of, you know, you've all got the same sort of mentality.

So, I think to break that up sometimes and get people that are running a completely different race to come in and just shine a bit of a light on things, that helps with perspective, I think.

That's perfect. Hey, what's your advice for people that want to get into the tech sector?

Yeah, look, don't be afraid to take a risk.

Don't be afraid to take a chance. Be honest, be true.

Yeah, I think, you know, put customers first. I think that's a big thing, particularly when you start to get into larger organisations and global organisations, there's a lot of internal discussions and, you know, things that happen internally from just a day-to-day operational side of things, you know, and I think sometimes we lose sight of customers and really who we're there to serve and work with, you know.

So, that for me was probably a bit of advice I'd recommend.

Yeah, and I guess when you made that jump yourself, you said you were out of depth, what did you do, I guess, personally to, I guess, to start feeling more comfortable?

I mean, did you have to play a process or like, yeah, what was your mode?

How did you deal with that? I asked a lot of questions, man. I just asked a lot of questions.

For me, I befriended the technical guys, like a lot of the solutions engineers, befriended them and just became good mates with them and then would just ask dumb questions.

I remember one of the questions I asked is, what's a WAN?

You know, what's a WAN? You know, just silly things like that, right? You know, you just, you know, like these days you go, oh my God, how did you even get the job?

But, you know, it's good. I think there's never a dumb question, just keep asking questions and yeah, have a punt, you know, have a punt if you think you can do it.

And look, you know, once you start to get a grip on what it is that you're talking about and what it is that you're doing, I think, you know, once it all starts to align and it starts to make sense, it's quite enjoyable, right?

And then you can really enjoy the ride and enjoy the fun that you have then with customers and all that.

And did you have any self-doubt going through that process? Oh yeah, lots and lots of self-doubt, you know, around, you know, maybe I shouldn't have done this, is this, you know, it's boring.

I'm like, I'm surrounded by people like, just the antithesis of me, you know, like these people are just, you know, a lot of ego that was surrounded with what I saw and it was, yeah.

But then I remember there was actually another sliding door moment where I went over to one of the guys and I saw that he was listening to a lot of the same music that I like, and I went, oh, okay, all right, okay, maybe they're not, maybe they're not aliens.

It is interesting, there's always a perception of, you know, what the type of people are, but then once you start to get to know each individual, you probably sort of figure out, hey, at the end of the day, we're just all people, everyone's got maybe similar interests, right?

Yeah, yeah. I mean, my wife still looks at me and goes, I still don't understand what you guys do.

I mean, personally, like I just say that I do, I'm in computers, right?

Because that's the easiest question.

I think my mum today, yeah, she would like it, trying to explain to her, I'm like, mum, I just, I work in computers, it's all good.

I mean, how do you, you know, when people ask, when you have a barbecue on a weekend and it's no one from our industry, how do you, how do you explain to them what you do for a job?

You do.

Mate, I revert to what my wife always says, which is I'm Chandler Bing, no one knows what the hell I do.

I'm just, you know, no one outside of the IT space knows what I do.

But, you know, look, working in software and things now, you know, I try to keep it simple and just say I work in sales, in IT sales.

That's pretty much where I keep it.

Then you get some people going, well, can you come and fix my computer?

And you're just like, no, maybe not. I maybe know someone who can, but yeah, I probably can't, mate, sorry.

But yeah, no, no, it's, but yeah, how do you manage that?

I think, look, it's just, I just keep it pretty simple in terms of what I do.

I think the more you try to explain it, the more people's heads just kind of go, well, you know, but yeah, it's good.

Cool, mate. So when you see, you know, we've, you know, we're going through a situation that we probably never, well, our generation or, you know, once in a hundred years type of thing being this pandemic, we probably haven't seen the full, I guess, outcomes of what's happened over the last six, nine months, whatever it is.

I mean, what's your prediction on business?

I guess, how are we going to be interacting as, you know, as just as humans and people over the next couple of years?

What's your view of the world and how do you see things sort of rolling out?

Yeah, it's a tough one. I'm not exactly sure what the end state is going to be.

I don't really, I couldn't really say, to be totally honest with you.

If I'm to have a stab at it, I think business is waiting. I think there's, I think the stuff that has been happening, well, there's certain aspects of business.

So there's certain cloud providers and things like that, that are just going gangbusters, right?

And they're doing, they're absolutely smashing it.

There are other, you know, other providers or other, you know, IT infrastructure, componentry, if you like, that goes into supporting businesses, that it will be put on, just held on pause, you know?

And I think there's a lot of sort of delayed decisions that I'm seeing at the moment in terms of, unless there was, you know, even if there was budget and a process of approved to what a customer wanted to go and achieve, lots of them are holding off at the moment, just to see what that end state is.

I think for us, with where we're at in Australia, we've got the stimulus that's associated with supporting people that are out of jobs and things like that.

But I don't, until that stimulus goes and we say we're back to normal, I don't, I think that organisations are actually holding out to see what actually happens then, you know, from our local economy.

I think there's other geopolitical stuff that's going on around the world, which is also going to play a big part in what happens with our global economy, but then also that affects us locally as well.

Great. A lot of uncertainty, that's for sure. Who knows? Yeah, yeah.

We actually have a question in from a viewer. Amazing. Yeah. Jason, he made, this guy calls in every week and he actually asks questions every, so his question to you, Josh, is what were the biggest crowd favourites when you were busking with your saxophone?

Are you a fan of the late great Clarence Clemens of Bruce Prinsing and the E Street Band?

Yeah, yeah. I like a bit of Bruce. Yeah, yeah, no, for sure.

Gosh, what was my, so I'd say probably Summertime was a track that was pretty good.

I kind of enjoyed, yeah, it was good fun to get out there and play it.

What I typically do is play, you know, a verse or maybe a bit of a verse and a chorus and then, you know, rip off and do some improv.

And so that was, now I don't, I can't really remember all the songs that I used to play when I was a kid.

Now it's just a lot of improv these days, but yeah, no, it's good fun. It's good fun.

I find, you know, now I listen to, like I used to listen to a lot of jazz and play a lot of jazz, but now I find jazz like hectic.

So now I've gone down a bit more of the blues kind of flavour, but yeah, that's good, good fun.

Are you a fan of Clarence Clements?

Clarence Clements, yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. There's a bunch of good sax players as well that just, well, I actually had a friend over in the US who said that he used to play with The Temptations, actually.

He's since passed away, which is unfortunate. In fact, his grandfather, his mother, so his mother's in his nineties or was in her nineties, and she sent her his two bass guitars over to me and my brother, and the trumpet went to him, my brother as well.

So the trumpet he used to play with The Temptations in, which was good fun.

But listening to that man talk about Hollywood and Sunset and the music that would go on down in LA back in the day, it sounded like so much fun, sounded like so much fun.

We've got a follow-up question for you, Joshy. Have you ever seen the mullet of Scott Page, who has played with Pink Floyd?

No, I've not seen the mullet, not in person, anyway.

No, but I'd say that there's probably a few mullets being grown in lockdown at the moment, I would imagine, with just doing the shaves, where you can do the shave up the side and grab it back, right?

Or business up front and then all ratty down the back, you know?

It's made a massive comeback.

I just can't believe the NRL, the mullets that I've seen on the weekend. Jesus.

Everyone's doing it. See, I can't do it, mate. I think I need a yarmulke. I think I need to turn Jewish or something, because I've got a balding spot up the top of my head.

So I just can't do a mullet. I can grow plenty of hair down the bottom. I just can't do a mullet.

I'd look terrible. That's brilliant, mate. Thanks, Amy, for the question.

Great question. So she's saying you must check it out, because apparently it's quite amazing.

So I'm going to have to check it out as well, Amy.

Thanks for that. Mate, what are your predictions for the grand final this week? Who's playing?

Yeah, look, Melbourne's just annoying, because they're all Queenslanders players anyway.

So I've got to go the riff, go with Penrith. I think I'd like to see them get up.

It's been a long time for them. What, it's 2003 since they last won the grand final?

Is it something like that? Yeah. So, mate, obviously we'd like the Dragons in.

That's not going to happen. We need to rebuild there.

But look, I'd like to see Penrith get up. Melbourne's just done it too many times, man.

They've been in the finals too many times. I think, yeah, time for Penrith.

I think, yeah, I think the craziest mullets are going to win, mate. So, man, what about Andrew?

What are we going to do with these guys? What are we doing?

Mate, I don't know. Pull the pin. Something needs to happen. I don't know. What do you reckon?

I mean, because you could actually be coach, I reckon, mate. I don't think so.

I'll probably sack everyone at number one. Look, my personal view is we've gone and hired a coaching staff that have proven nothing.

So we've got Griffin, the assistant of Brisbane Broncos, who came last, and then Matt Elliott, who's up, I think, in the NRL.

No offence, guys, but, yeah, being a passionate Dragon supporter, I think it starts from the top.

And I'm not very inspired by the coaching staff, but I think, personally, we've just lost out who we are.

Mate, we should be killing it. Yeah, we should be killing it. We've got all stars, remember?

Yeah, we're a club that's got so much history and tradition and passion.

And it's like we've forgotten all that. We've got all these players that think they're too cool for school.

And it's like everyone's over-privileged, and, oh, yeah, look, I'm an NRL player, and that's it.

But I just don't feel like everyone's having a dig.

You get paid a lot of money. Being a tragic fan, being born into the Dragons institution through my brothers and my family, it's quite frustrating, mate.

And I think we're on the Dragons forum, which we see the best of us around that as well.

Yeah. Oh, mate, it's not good. Not a good state of affairs, mate.

Mate, all good, mate. Well, look, Joshy, it's been an absolute pleasure today.

Thanks for having me. You know what? I've known you for a long time, and I've got a lot of respect for you, my man.

But I've learned quite a fair bit about you today, even though I've known you for so long.

There's a few different things that I've learned about you today, mate.

So hopefully we'll be able to get you back on again in the future.

But, mate, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thanks for taking the time out of your day.

Mate, thanks for sharing some pearls of wisdom.

I think what I'm finding, and I get feedback from people that sort of tune into Legends of Tech, we do have maybe one or two people that watch it.

I think the crux of it is hearing what other people are doing and how they deal with things and what everyone else is doing.

I think if one person can get one thing out of from this conversation, I think it's great, and I think it's really important.

So I appreciate you sharing some of your motivational tips and things that you do, and some of your highlights and your lessons.

I think it's really important. It's great to hear about it as well.

No, good stuff, mate. Thanks for having me. No dramas at all, mate.

All the best. Good luck with the rest of the year, and I'll see you soon, mate.

All right, everyone. Good one. Have a good one, mate. Good morning, good night, and see you next week.

Bye. Thanks, buddy. Bye, mate. Bye.