Today’s “60 Seconds With …” interview features Paul Walk, a former speaker and participant at IWMW events who recently set up his own consultancy firm.
1. How do you describe to your friends/parents/next door neighbour what you do for a living?
This is always tricky, and I have never found a satisfactory way of doing this. I used to be safe by saying “I work with metadata in a web context” because no one had ever heard of “metadata”… but now they sometimes have heard of it in the context of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica! So now I play it safe and say I’m a “data management consultant” which will almost certainly stop any further enquiry!
2. Tell us something really cool about your job at the moment
All of my clients so far have been from outside the UK. Two years ago I had never been to Japan, now I have been five times! I’m very glad I chose to work in such a ‘global’ domain.
3. What’s the most exciting thing about web and digital in the HE sector right now?
That’s what I am going to IWMW to find out!
4. What’s your proudest moment in your career so far?
Taking the plunge and quitting my job to start my own business. I was really scared for a while, but I am so glad I did it!
5. If you weren’t doing this career what would your dream job be?
Fine cabinet making.
6. What will delegates take away from your session at IWMW this year?
I hope that they will gain an appreciation of an interesting alternative to the “Content Management System” – the use of static-site generators, with enough understanding to judge when they might be appropriate to use.
7. Any fond/embarrassing memories of previous IWMW events?
I attended many IWMW events, with many fond memories. One of the stranger ones for me was when I flew up to Aberdeen (the only time I have been there) and is was blisteringly hot and sunny – not what I was expecting at all. I’m sure I have behaved embarrassingly in the pub at IWMW events in the past, but I’m equally sure that Brian was there with me!
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am teaching myself joinery/cabinet-making with hand tools. I have just finished making my “Paul Sellers Workbench” and I am ridiculously pleased with it!
9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
10. Sum up IWMW in one word
Paul Walk is a seasoned information professional with ~25 years’ experience working in and around higher education information services. Having worked for most of his career in universities including North London, Bath (UKOLN) and Edinburgh (EDINA), Paul recently left employment to start his own company, Antleaf.