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'We have found a lot of talent and stars who are working for us in Belfast'

Published 02/06/2015

Flying visit: David Richards spends much of his time criss-crossing the Atlantic
Flying visit: David Richards spends much of his time criss-crossing the Atlantic

Every week we ask a business person how the past seven days have been. Today we speak to David Richards, chief executive and co-founder of softare company WANdisco.

This week business has been...

In a word, busy. I travelled to Belfast after flying into Dublin from San Francisco last weekend to catch up with our Northern Ireland team. I try to catch up with the team every couple of months, but it's sometimes difficult given how spread out the company is.

I'm in London for the rest of the week meeting clients before heading back to the US. Our Belfast office plays a core role in the company's global operations.

This isn't a support centre -it's creating IP, it's developing new innovations and it's all being done by local talent.

Everyone that works with WANdisco in Belfast is local and we've not imported anyone from the US to run the Northern Ireland operations. It's all about the talent we've found here - and we've definitely got some stars working with us here.

This week I've been eating...

I live just outside San Francisco in Northern California. It's pretty easy to get most things out there, but whenever I'm back in the UK I always find time for home comforts.

The food scene in Northern Ireland is fantastic and its reputation is growing in the US. I love seasonal British produce like locally sourced lamb or asparagus, which has just started to sprout.

I'm a big fan of curry and try to grab a takeaway when I'm in Sheffield or London.

This week I was socialising...

The thing I miss most about the UK is the pubs, particularly being on the West Coast of the US. I'm from Sheffield so of course I love pubs.

We're a very sociable company - one that enjoys spending time with one another outside work. Both our Sheffield and Belfast offices have a social captain, whose role is to be in charge of "having a laugh together". I was lucky to spend some time on the golf course this week. I reckon I could give Rory McIlroy a game!

This week I've been reading...

I'm a huge fan of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Turing in the film The Imitation Game) - our main conference room is named Turing and my house is called Bletchley.

I recently finished a biography looking at the impact of his life's work and impact on the IT community, which, needless to say, has been tremendous.

I'm also a bit of a history nut. My wife bought me a first edition of Keynes' The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, which has huge sentimental value to me.

Next on my reading list is Mission: How The Best In Business Break Through by Michael Hayman and Nick Giles, two friends of mine who interviewed me for the book. Featuring interviews with Whole Foods founder John Mackey and Airbnb founder Joe Gebbia, Mission argues that having a purpose has become increasingly important for today's successful companies, mapping the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs that see business as a force for good in society.

This week I've been watching...

Searching for Sugar Man. It's a great documentary about a folk musician in the 1960s who, unbeknownst to him, wound up a huge star in South Africa. Although very popular in South Africa, very little was known about him in that country until two young film-makers try to track him down to find out what had become of him. Needless to say the soundtrack is fantastic. It was also great to be in the UK to catch the end of England's first test match with New Zealand.

This week I've been listening to...

With so many flights in one week I've had a lot of time listening to music.

Two of my personal favourites are Joe Cocker and Ray Charles.

In next week's My Week, Andrew Webb of economic advisory firm Webb Advisory

Belfast Telegraph

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