Where did you grow up?
I was a Dorset boy until leaving University, then, after 40 years in London I now split my time between London and Dorset, perfect.
What was your first job?
Selling fire extinguishers door to door in 1979. For that job I was partnered up with school study mate, and future Antiques Roadshow expert, Rupert Maas. I remember emptying his fire extinguisher before one demo he did in a couple’s house. He set their carpet on fire and last thing I saw was him being chased up the road, pursued by an angry woman with a frying pan.
Did you have any particular childhood ambitions?
I wanted to drive. My dad had some cool cars and motorbikes and was a rally driver, so whatever I’ve done, driving/riding has always been a part of it.
Who do you look up to / who is your hero in life?
Sounds corny but my dad, he was a stand up guy who was prone to allowing deals to pass him by if he didn’t feel comfortable. The first person I can remember thinking I’d do anything to meet, and sadly never did as he was killed, was Ayrton Senna. I remember clearly where I was when he died.
Who has been most influential in your career?
Two people, Andrew Langton from Aylesford – cool guy, still is forty years later, who’s pursuit of the deal and innovation rubbed off, just a little bit, on me. The other was the late Rebecca Read, simply the most upright and honest agent I’d ever met, working for her taught me that you never forget which side of the fence you’re on.
How many roles have you had in the property industry and which have been your favourite?
I’ve only ever been a neg and a manager. I was a mediocre negotiator but came into my own as a getter of business and motivator of teams. Later I was part of the founding team of OnTheMarket and served on the board of The Property Ombudsman for ten years. I still service on its Industry Forum.
Being an office manager in Chelsea was by far and away the best part of my career.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
There’ve been two, discovering that I really could manage a major office for an exciting big name company. The second was realising Viewber was turning out to be a good commercial idea and was being backed by many in an industry notorious for its conservative and cynical attitudes to change.
What’s been your hardest challenge in your career?
Without a doubt moving from a large office environment to working on my own. Coming through the 88/89 and 2007/8 crashes were mere bagatelles in comparison.
How were you inspired to set up and become a co-founder of Viewber?
It was an idea I’d had with my wife three years ago. The main issue being that our weekend (read Saturday, forget Sunday) diaries at Douglas & Gordon used to fill up by Weds/Thurs, and weekend staff were a nightmare to manage. Our idea was for a service that agents could dip in and out of when they needed a viewing done. We agreed it was a great idea, and the pivotal moment came when I mentioned it to an old friend, Marcus de Ferranti. At that stage I realised it was worth having a go and there was a changing of the guard imminent at Douglas & Gordon so it seemed an apposite moment to try it.
What’s your ambition for Viewber?
For Viewber to be seen as the weekend and out of hours viewing service of choice for the property industry.
What do you do your spare time / do you have any hobbies?
Luckily I’m happiest when pottering about at home with my wife. Apart from that I’m heavily into motorbikes, have a collection of several and do lots of UK and European track days every year with at least one trip to the Alps/Pyrenees or Picos in Spain. Otherwise it’s fishing or lying flat out on a beach.
This is a real voicemail forwarded to us by a frustrated buyer... he subsequently asked the agent why they don't use Viewber - they do now!
So, what do you currently spend on sending staff out on viewings?
How does booking a viewing with Viewber work? For clients, it’s as simple as clicking a button but here we also explain what happens after the booking is sent.