60 seconds with... Kevin Evans
1. What was your first job?
My first job was at a local newsagent in Harrogate where I grew up. It involved waking up at an ungodly hour... I’d say I reached my lifetime quota of early starts by the tender age of 19. If there’s one thing I learned during that job it’s that I’m definitely not a morning person.
2. Who’s most influenced your career, and why?
An aspirational one would be Bill Gates. He’s brought more change to more people than anybody else in the world. I’ve always admired him and wished to emulate his success, although my realistic expectations of becoming a billionaire are looking increasingly slim!
3. What’s your greatest business achievement?
The first project I ever worked on was a real baptism of fire. Working for a German bank in my early 20s I was part of the team tasked with the transition from the Deutschmark to the Euro. It was a fairly manic time, using systems I wasn’t familiar with and speaking to people who spoke languages I really didn’t speak. Plus with Y2K going on that same time, it was a masterpiece of bad timing. Other crises pale in comparison now and it’s given me a sense of perspective.
4. What was your worst mistake – and what did you learn?
My worst mistake was accidentally updating everybody in the entire bank’s balance to zero. One of those terrible “sinking feeling” moments that you never forget. Fortunately after a day of incredibly hard work we managed to get (almost) everything back... not too bad for a bank! We learned from it and improved that procedure so that it couldn’t happen again.
5. What gadget can’t you live without?
My iPhone. It’s the worst phone I’ve ever owned in that it’s rubbish for making calls and texts. But it’s great for apps, emails etc. and everything else is brilliant.
6. Which one person would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Do I have to bring the missus? It would have to be Mr Bill Gates again. I’d love to pick his brain. I’m fascinated by how he went from a bloke in a garage to a company that turns over tens of billions every quarter. There are plenty of people who have had the same opportunities as him, but few who have had the same success. He seems like a nice chap too.
7. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Become a newsagent.
8. And the best?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Own it. Learn from it. Move on.
9. Describe your perfect day off
My perfect day off would be somewhere nice and warm. It would involve the classic Mediterranean experience of walking around, eating good food and drinking good wine.
7. 10. Tell us one thing no one knows about you
Most people know I’m a big diver but not everybody knows I wrote a book about it. It’s called Recreational Trimix Diving and it’s available on Amazon (hint hint).
11. Claire Palmer, the last 60 seconds… interviewee wants to know: What’s the worst nickname you’ve ever been given?
I grew up ginger so you can probably glean a lot from that. My dad called me “maggot” but I like to think it’s a term of endearment.
12. What one question would you ask the next person in SBS’ 60 seconds with… hotseat?
When was the last time you saw Martin Hawkins smile?