Computerworld: How did you get into information technology?David Gold: I joined Looksmart right out of business school. I was always an early adopter of new technologies and was very interested in the Internet right from when it started. An Australian company taking on the world in what was then the 'new' Internet industry really excited me and that's how I got my start.
CW: As a child, what did you want to do when you 'grew up'?DG: I was one of those kids who were never quite sure. I knew ultimately that I wanted to start my own business or work for myself, but was never sure in exactly what industry. I only made that decision much later.
CW: How do you think the Sydney Olympics might affect your business?DG: The main issue for us is ensuring we can deliver products within the Sydney metro area. Outside of that it probably will not affect us that much. We are not clear on whether it will be a quiet period because people's time is taken up with the Olympics or whether it will be busy as people don't want to go out and do their shopping and would rather buy online.
CW: On average, how many customers a day do you get?DG: In the hundreds.
CW: What preparations have you undertaken?DG: We have put in place an infrastructure that will allow us to deliver products within Sydney.
Our main warehousing is in Melbourne so Sydney is our only concern. We are confident the systems we have in place will ensure reliable delivery.
CW: Describe an average day at work for you.
DG: Usually I tend to spend about 30 per cent of my time on e-mail, 30 per cent on the phone and the rest in external or internal meetings. It's generally pretty hectic and I end up working till late most evenings - but with the advent of modern technologies I can do this just as easily from home and so still spend time with my family.
CW: List your three favourite things about your job.
DG: Fast paced environment, freedom to make quick decisions and a sense of being a pioneer in what we are doing.
CW: What - if any - is the downside of having IT as a career?DG: The main one is how changing technologies affect your business. This is probably true across most industries but it probably hits you more quickly if you are in the IT sector.
An example would be the introduction of broadband, wireless and interactive services. These will change the way companies go about basic day-to-day things.
IT companies need to be at the forefront of this change and therefore change more quickly.
CW: What do you believe are the hottest technology trends right now?DG: I think it's wireless Internet access, new-generation personal digital assistants, mobile phones and interactive digital TV.
CW: Describe the most interesting task you have undertaken in your career?DG: I think building dstore from an idea into what it is today. This has been a tremendous task with very significant challenges but has also been the most rewarding.
CW: How long did it take to form dStore - from an idea to a reality?DG: It took eight months from the time dStore was conceived till the time the company was started, and then another five or so months till the site was launched. One needs to do a lot of research to prove the business model and then go about raising funds.
CW: Is there any part of the IT industry that you would like to learn more about?DG: I am no tech guru but I think I'd like to learn more about programming languages and product development work.
CW: What do you imagine life would be like without computers?DG: Probably more relaxing! Clearly though, computers do add significant value in streamlining otherwise laborious tasks.
CW: Where do you see yourself in five years?DG: I would like to see myself in a leadership role at the forefront of whatever industry I am in. Most of all I want to be enjoying what I am doing and having fun.
CW: What is the best tip anyone has given you?DG: Don't be afraid to take risks - you will achieve greatness only if you do.
CW: Name five people (living or not) whom you would invite to a dinner party and why?DG: Madeleine Albright - she has a fascinating history and is one of the most influential women in the world. Michael Johnson - to understand what it takes to be the best. Albert Einstein - to get a feel for how his brain works. Barbra Streisand - to entertain. Sam Walton - the king of modern retailing.
CW: What is the best compliment you have received on your work?DG: A visitor to our site wrote: "I was on the verge of suicide and was mucking around on the Net and through visiting the dStore site I found a link to a site called Reach Out that deals with young people going through tough times. That one click literally saved my life."CW: What ability do you wish you had?DG: To be able to see the future.
CW: What do you like to do in your spare time?DG: I like to spend time with my wife and walk our dogs. I enjoy going to the movies as they provide a great escape mechanism.
CW: What is your favourite fantasy?
DG: Retire and spend the world travelling - meeting new people and being introduced to new cultures.