By Simon Woodhead
At the next AGM on May 17th, the London Internet Exchange will elect two Directors; one possibly a re-election, the second replacing a long-standing member who works for BT. I have been nominated to stand and wanted to reach out to our customers and friends in the hope of garnering your support, if you are a LINX member and have a vote.
Long-time readers will know how passionate I am about technology, and battling issues of market unfairness and regulatory ineptitude. What you may not notice from this forum alone, is how equally passionate I am about LINX.
We are members of many industry groups, but LINX is the one that we particularly love and I am actively involved in. Aside from a fantastic place to exchange packets, LINX member meetings and the community around them are hugely valuable and important.
LINX’s significance in the global Internet infrastructure cannot be understated – with 714 networks connected and almost 16Tb/sec of connected capacity, it is a titan. To paraphrase Chaz Michael Michaels, and absolutely true from a UK viewpoint: “LINX is the Internet! BOOM!”.
Of course, a hugely significant area of LINX’s work is its Public Affairs efforts. Rather than simply talking about issues that affect our industry and indeed our world, LINX acts and makes a difference. An example is the first Communications Data Bill, where LINX was very effective and truly changed things. I’m grateful and supportive of that in both a personal and professional capacity.
I attend every LINX meeting I can which, other than exceptions for imminent or in-progress childbirth, has been every one in the last several years. Simwood has willingly sponsored a meeting in the past, and I’ve spoken a number of times both at member meetings and representing LINX outside. Behind the scenes I’ve also been an active member of the Programme Committee working to make member meeting content relevant and interesting.
So that is LINX, and why I love it, for the benefit of anyone not a member or who maybe a member but not fully engaged. What about me?
My values of authenticity (which embodies transparency and integrity) and the pursuit of fairness are plain to see. Whilst Simwood today is the fruit of many people’s labour, it reflects my values and they are clear on this blog. We continually receive praise for our honest, transparent, approach from customers and even members of the public.
My acumen and experience are less obvious and best judged by those I work closely with, such as our Chairman Grahame Davies. Three of my former colleagues when I worked in finance (until 16 years ago), including both a junior colleague and two directors of what went on to become Barclays Wealth, are all Simwood shareholders to this day, along with Grahame and of course myself.
Self-praise doesn’t come easily to me, but my role in this business probably illustrates my USP. I fill the role of chief architect and, in the early days, hands-on developer whilst at the same time, I’m incredibly financially and business orientated. I think that makes me unique – I’m neither techy nor commercial, but both to a high standard.
I have been a director for most of my adult life across a number of industries. A number of those business I have been part of founding, some wildly successful, others less so. But I have also operated at a high level in significantly larger businesses both as an employee and influencer. I’m therefore confident in my ability to deliver on the expectations of a board member and to truly add positive value in that role. I continue to refine those skills under Grahame’s mentorship (he was after all LINX Chairman for 15 years amongst his many other accomplishments) and would expect to continue learning from LINX colleagues if elected.
It is no secret that I have been nominated for election in the past and not yet been successful. I have been beaten by representatives of large companies and have shied away from canvassing. I can go as far as my sense of appropriateness will let me with canvassing, but am not about to work for a web brand. I personally think being the leader of a 20 year old business that is well regarded in its space, qualifies me better than someone without board experience who happens to be a mid-ranking employee of a big brand. I recognise others may think differently though, and therefore appeal in part to other companies like us for support; Whether customer, partner or even competitor, I would appeal for your support. The role is to represent all members, but one’s natural position is of course more likely to correlate with those who are similar or who operate in similar areas of the industry. I feel that the LINX Board is presently composed of representatives from large members and doesn’t adequately reflect the mix of membership where the majority are relatively smaller companies like us.
Thank you for reading this far and naturally, I’d be hugely appreciative of your support if you directly control your vote, and any influence you can lend where not. Of course, I’m more than happy to answer any questions or hear your feedback.