My Working Life
and founder of event
Coconnex talks RnB,
Alan Partridge and how
exponential tech will
drive global change
My family originally came from India, via
Africa, before settling in England. am very proud to say is now one of the leading
event tech innovators in the industry.
I grew up in Birmingham and went to a really
rough, inner-city school which had very
low academic expectations. Despite that, I
managed to get into Nottingham University. I have always been into design. This led
me to starting up two hybrid creative
companies, creative community Artlab and
multi-disciplinary consultancy The Creative
Mix, which combines art, technology,
architecture, lighting and design.
Between studying Physics (yes, I did
understand rocket science once), I presented
a Uni RnB radio show - where hopefully I was
more Greg Edwards than Alan Partridge.
Like Alan Partridge I have a love for cars and
with hard work and my IT consultancy, I
managed to save for and buy a Ferrari before I
was 25. Not bad for a boy from Brum!
For many generations, my family have been
goldsmiths and jewellers. I even had a go
myself, running a designer glass cufflink
mail order business – my first foray into
entrepreneurship, but not my last.
I founded a design-led gallery in
Knightsbridge, and through this travelled to
design expos in Milan and other locations. It
wasn’t just the products that caught my eye,
but the opportunity to design a real-time
floorplan system to help organisers improve
the whole experience. This idea is one of the
many reasons I founded Coconnex, which I
One of The Creative Mix projects we have
worked on included an installation for James
Bond, Quantum of Solace which appears in
the film. It’s probably not enough to demand a
Hollywood star but it was still pretty cool.
My grandparents were a huge influence on
my childhood and the lessons they taught me
on integrity, living with passion, helping one
another and respecting the world we live in,
have very much stayed with me to this day.
Often people see entrepreneurs as just being
about making money with little thought for
anything else. It’s a common misconception,
but one I understand. Whatever business I
develop, I passionately believe in running
companies that are driven by innovation,
vision and values.
I am a firm believer in utilising exponential
technologies to drive global change, which
is why I mentor entrepreneurs and have
started companies that are highly scalable
and profitable, while making real positive
impacts on society. For each piece of
business or interactison we have with clients,
or with potential clients at Coconnex, we put
money into social impacts that benefit the
communities we live in.
I am a second-degree Black Belt in Kung Fu. I
often use the mental training techniques (not
the physical actions!) from Martial Arts and
apply them to business.
Naturally, I am quite a reserved, strategic
person, which I think helps in business, so
in the main, hair-raising experiences don’t
worry me too much (and from my picture
you can see why). However, I did once fly
upside down in a jet – think Top Gun but
without the shooting! EN
14 — September