Get to know: John Nolan

I once assumed that someone with a PhD in computer science is an expert. In a lot of cases they are, but I have met some that cost me money.

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Get to know: John Nolan
By  Manda Banda Published  December 30, 2013

I once assumed that someone with a PhD in computer science is an expert. In a lot of cases they are, but I have met some that cost me money.

John Nolan, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, MI-TOKEN INC

What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?

I have worked for the last 20 years in IT Security companies both publicly listed and start-ups. I learned the ropes with McAfee and later joined nCipher Thales to ramp their EMEA and APAC channels. I then joined a University spin-out PixAlert as CEO before setting up my own security business. I rejoined old colleagues from nCipher three years ago in Mi-Token and moved to Dubai.

If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?

I would like to introduce resellers and solution provider partners to a sales process and methodology that would help them optimise their time on the most profitable opportunities. I use a CHAMP sales methodology that is simple to use and works well and would improve any channel partners business.

What product or technology should the channel watch out for this year?

Biometrics is a technology that is time has finally come and is now much more affordable. Through our strategic partnership with MicroLatch, we have integrated biometric and identity assurance solutions that use the same technology as Apple but is available for integration into enterprise networks.

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

Taking a university start-up, commercialising an invention, raising $2.5m venture capital and growing it into an internationally traded business now used by all the big risk practices that include: Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Focus on customer development not product development. I am a big fan of Steve Blank and his book ‘Four Steps to the Epiphany’, which is a real practical business book.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market?

I once assumed that someone with a PhD in computer science and information security was an expert. In a lot of cases they are, but I have met some that cost me a lot of money.

Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why?

Apple, I love their design and usability focus. It’s another fantastic milestone that they have introduced fingerprint reading technology into their new iPhone range.

What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel at the moment?

Getting customer buy- in to cloud solutions and re-assuring them that they are secure or can be adequately secured. We have designed a system to ensure authentication seed files are not stored in the US or Europe.

What would you say is your favourite thing about the company you work for?

We are taking two complicated technologies encryption and authentication and removing complexity and making them easier for customers to integrate in their existing infrastructure without a major overhaul of their systems.

What sort of interests do you have outside of work?

I am a keen golfer and spend most of my spare time playing or practicing.

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