Former colleagues are like buses

Former colleagues are like buses

You wait for ages without meeting any then two turn up at once.

I had a rush of reacquaintances some time ago. I met Mike Zealley, a former colleague from KPMG with whom I had the pleasure of working very closely about 15 years ago. After a stint elsewhere he’s now a partner at KPMG doing great things leading a Public Sector practice. Not long after, I met Roberto Moretti, CEO Europe of Oxygen Finance, for the first time. His first words to me were “Mike Zealley sends his regards.” Roberto had just come from a meeting with Mike and he’d mentioned he was seeing me. But before Roberto and I got down to business, I spotted another familiar face in the Oxygen Finance offices – Mark Hoffman, formerly of lots of businesses but most notably Sybase and CommerceOne. I last met him in 2000 at a CommerceOne event in Berlin.

It felt like it was a trend. Things were coming round in full circle. Bumping into old colleagues and business acquaintances was almost to be expected but then nothing. For ages I didn’t bump into any one – until last Friday when I bumped in to two at the same time.

Purchasing Insight logoSteve Muddiman is SVP Global Marketing at Basware. We worked together briefly in the late 1990s when I was at KPMG and he was at HP. I met him last week at the same time as meeting Esa Tihila, CEO of Basware. Neither Esa or I knew it, but our paths had crossed closely, albeit indirectly, in a previous life.

In the mid 1990’s I was working as a contractor to Fujutsu (ICL at the time) and I designed and managed the development of an internet based catalogue called ECx. No biggy in 2013 but in 1995 it was leading edge stuff. It was one of the first B2B e-procurement systems anywhere in the world. Now I take a little too much credit when I describe it that succinctly. I worked closely with a few people who share the credit including Eugene Deeney and Roy Chadwick and also a talented team of software engineers based in Kidsgrove in the UK. A few short years after ECx was built , Esa took over the management of Fujitsu’s e-commerce practice including these software engineers who supported ECx.

It was really interesting to hear Esa’s account of how the team grew and it was an absolute delight to meet someone who was familiar with the ground breaking work we did during those pioneering days of e-business.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin