When I stepped down from SSE earlier in the summer one thing I was interested in was getting involved in some small companies and my involvement in Linknode represents the first move in this direction. It is also, for those people who know me, an apparently strange first move. After all I am the person who never had a PC in their office, believes that using calculators in exams is really cheating and spent most of his career trying to reduce IT spend. So why do I now appear to have got religion and got involved in an app developer?
My journey started three years ago when I bought my first iPad. Suddenly here was a piece of technology I both ‘got’ and could work. It made my life easier and changed how I went about doing business. I even bought my wife one for Christmas I was so taken with it. As a result I started looking more deeply at the digital revolution we are experiencing. I have read about digital disruption and big data and have bought numerous apps that give me, at my fingertips, information I find useful. The journey continued a year ago when I launched and judged the EnviroApp competition for Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group. Actually it was even my idea. The competition was to develop an app to improve SME engagement with sustainable development and there were six finalists. Linknode didn’t win but I was really impressed with their idea.
I stayed in contact with Crispin, George and the team as they developed VentusAR. The software involves the powerful combination of location, visualisation and mobility to allow you to see what a proposed wind farm (or indeed any other type of development) would actually look like from where you are standing and holding up your tablet computer. It beats the positively ancient static photo montage on all counts. It’s cheaper for the developer, better for the local community who can see what they really want and more reliable for planners. What’s not to like?
As these discussions continued, the idea of me taking a stake and becoming Linknode’s first non-exec emerged. I heard about some of their other ideas such as HistoryLens and got even more interested and so when I eventually left SSE it was easy to accept their offer.
So that’s how a technophobe came to be invested in a technology company. I believe that digital is truly disruptive of many aspects of our modern life and wind farm development and planning are no exception. I hope to help Linknode develop its existing products as well as new ones allowing the creation of meaningful and sustainable jobs. Small, entrepreneurial companies are the lifeblood of our economy and if I can play a small part in helping some be successful that will be a source of pride and enjoyment.