Posted by Matt Edgley on 30-Jun-2020 12:01:42

20 years in the making…

Anna - James zoom anniv

All eyes on our marketing team for a double celebration at TeleData this month...we’re honouring two Team TeleData anniversaries as Anna celebrates one year with the company and James celebrates a whopping TWENTY years as part of the TeleData story! 

We caught up with them, to find out how they’re getting on, and how it feels to be part of the TeleData Team…

James - marketing 

I was part of the 1st Easy gang - long before the TeleData acquisition - and officially started in May 2000 after around 6 months of work experience. One of my first memories working for 1st Easy is having to take it in turns with my colleagues to get online! I can't remember what the connection speed was, but it was probably around 56k!

Back at the start, I was mainly designing websites, using Microsoft FrontPage (!) and then Macromedia Dreamweaver, before I moved onto CSS and a text editor. Flash introductions were everywhere on websites (with the ever-present "Skip intro" button) while Apple OS lozenge-effect buttons, excessive drop shadows and bevels were staples in most design toolkits! SEO involved trying to simultaneously optimise for different search engines before Google won the battle: Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Excite, Yahoo and not forgetting the somewhat dubiously named "HotBot". Algorithms weren't what they are now - and getting to the top of the rankings seemed to be a constant, clandestine keyword-stuffing battle - before the situation improved and more ethical practices invited reward (not to mention more useful results for users!).

On the hosting side of things, shared hosting was our core service, and it was a big coup if a customer wanted a dedicated server in the early days - Sun Cobalt RaQs with 256Mb of memory and 20GB disks! In many cases, resilience was often on-board the server itself, with RAID disk arrays and back ups; we kept "hot spares" in stock, ready to restore customer images and data if hardware failed - not the kind of instant failover that we're accustomed to now with Active-Active cloud! Server provisioning took longer as well: with some of the (at the time) high end servers, we'd need to order from the manufacturer, wait for delivery, install at the office and then physically take the kit to the data centre where we rented space - which at times was several hours drive away. It was a major leap forward when we could offer same week setup - a far cry from the instant, self-service provisioning that we have today.

The fundamentals and ethos have remained the same though: make sure the service is reliable - maybe even more important these days, when online activity truly is at the heart of modern life and business. Make sure friendly expert technical support is there and easily accessible when it's needed; and help customers to confidently make the most of the technology that's available. But technology aside, it's the human side of TeleData (and before that, 1st Easy) that has always been a draw for me, and I'm sure, our team and our customers who it has been a pleasure getting to know. It's great to be involved with a growing and friendly, hard-working team that you can feel proud to be part of, and one that you know is appreciated too.

Anna - marketing manager

As one of the newest members of the TeleData Team, it’s really interesting to hear James’ story and understand how the business has evolved over the years. I’ve worked in tech since 2002 when I was 1st line tech support for IBM. I’m not a techie, but a degree in French and German meant that I was useful for the support teams, translating end user phone calls and emails for our resolver groups, supporting businesses across Europe. I definitely started to pick up a few bits of technical knowledge though, and was well and truly bitten by the tech bug. 

A relocation led me to a role at a branding agency, followed by a PR agency and my career in marketing began. By chance, I ended up managing the agency's tech accounts, and after 5 years made the move in-house to a Microsoft Partner. This is where I really got to grips with the industry. Lots of time spent at Microsoft, in the UK, Canada and USA gave me a massive insight into their world, and their vision of technology as an enabler. It was all about the cloud by now! 

After 10 years client side, I jumped back to agency life - again looking after tech clients - before the opportunity with TeleData arose. After 10+ years marketing data centres and the cloud, to actually come in and work for a data centre provider was really exciting, and as much as I would still never call myself a techie, I get myself into our data centres at every opportunity and love giving tours to prospective clients and groups of visitors. I like to pretend I know what i’m doing in there :) 

A few things struck me about TeleData as a new starter. The security for a start! I still think that actually getting into the building for my interview was my first test ;) How sound the company’s offering is from a technical perspective compared to other companies I’d worked with, and just how welcoming the environment was, also stood out to me. The biggest thing for me though, has been the flexibility. I’m completely empowered to work how and where I want to, to get the job done. I’m trusted to use my skillset to make a difference and as a working mum with a lot to juggle, this trust and flexibility has actually been a game changer for me.

Ultimately, I was massively impressed with what I saw when I joined TeleData and knew I wanted to be a part of, and contribute to the company’s journey. I’ve been welcomed by a great bunch of dedicated, hardworking and friendly people and my first year has flown by. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months brings, and helping to drive the business on to bigger and better things.

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