An interview with… myself

On Thursday 1st October, I officially started my new role at Exa Networks. Over the last few weeks, I’ve encountered similar kinds of questions from people I’ve met on my travels and so I thought it might help to answer some of them here. If you’ve got a question I’ve not answered, try me.

What do Exa do? Exa Networks [ http://exa.education/ ] are an Internet Service Provider for education and business; if you work in a school, there’s a very good chance that your school is already a customer of Exa Networks but you probably don’t know that as they look after thousands of schools throughout the UK. Since Exa’s network has 100% up time, it’s likely you’ve never needed to know the name of your school’s ISP – I find that people don’t usually shout about the things that just work all the time. For example, how easily can you name your electricity or gas supplier? In fact, you’re far more likely to have heard of Exa’s competitors either because they need to shout about what they do or because their customers shout their names in anger!

So will you be marketing Exa’s services? One thing that’s been made clear to me is that I won’t be joining the sales or direct marketing teams as they’re already doing a great job. I know that I won’t be asked as part of my role to tell people for example that “Exa provides award-winning, excellent quality broadband to a quarter of all schools” or that their “customer retention is close to 100%” since the quality of their service really is their best advert.

What exactly is your new job then? That’s a question I’ve been asked a lot. To begin with there will be some ‘business as usual’ as I continue to support digital maker events around the UK and provide in-service training to teachers (CPD) but a significant amount of my time will be devoted to exploring what the role of Exa Foundation will be and how that will manifest itself. If you have any thoughts on this, I’d be interested to hear what you have to say.

What is Exa Foundation? Exa Foundation will exist to:

  • inspire & engage digital makers
  • support Computing in school
  • promote safe, secure and appropriate use of technology

The foundation will be running lots of events, large and small around the country for Exa’s customers & partners. Many of the events will be open to all schools regardless of whether you’re an Exa customer or not.

Is Exa Foundation a charity? It will act as a not for profit part of Exa Networks. Exa Networks is a for-profit commercial business – I like to think of Exa Foundation as the heart and soul of Exa. As such, Exa Foundation can support activities with no commercial benefit.

Where can I find out about the Foundation? Nothing exists online yet, there will be a site, a logo and social media presence when they’re ready. Expect to find out about resources, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, events, conferences etc. At the moment, I’m running a CPD roadshow where I travel to schools and offer free, sponsored training events. You can read more about the roadshow at [ http://exa.foundation/roadshow ] and track the events I’m supporting at [ http://exa.foundation/events ]

Will you travel to…? I’m still keen to support digital maker events and Computing education. I’ve got a [busy events calendar] which appears here for the moment. If you want support for a specific event and if I don’t think I’m the best person for your event, I’ll more than likely recommend someone else to you.

Can you help me with…? Probably. Although I’m getting better at responding to email, if it’s not a personal/private issue, try asking me on [Twitter], [Facebook] or [here] and I or a someone else will try to help you.

What’s happening with JamPackedUK? JamPackedUK was a grant funded, time-limited project which has now finished. If you want help organising a jam or event, then I can probably still help you or direct you to someone else who can. The [JamPackedUK] website is still live and contains lots of [resources].

 

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