Vapour CEO, Tim Mercer, has today embarked on a gruelling 286km challenge in aid of the charity Borne.
The five-day feat will see Tim complete 13km of runs, 20km of rowing and 211km of cycling, as well as the 42km Yorkshire Three Peaks climb in only eight hours!
The bold quest has been shaped to raise money for the charity that helps prevent premature birth. It forms the latest in a series of events organised by the Vapour team, as colleagues collectively strive to hit their £23,000 target, before the middle of next year.
When Tim first signed up for this mammoth challenge, he actually expected to be heading to the Caribbean Sea, to make his way west across Costa Rica on foot, bike, kayak and raft.
His original adventure – which was billed as testing the limits of participants’ physical and mental endurance – would have seen him traverse remote jungle routes, reach heights of up to 3000m, and pass coffee and sugar cane plantations, before reaching the Pacific Ocean.
But while Covid-19 put a halt to these once-in-a-lifetime plans, he was determined the pandemic would not impact on his fundraising. So, he’s swapping the jungle for the gym, and tackling most of his 286km at Reform – the on-site facility at our Huddersfield HQ.
“When I first signed up for the Costa Rica coast to coast expedition – which would have seen me tackle the 286km with the likes of Will Greenwood MBE – I knew it was going to be tough. But if it was easy, why would people sponsor me?” said Tim.
“I don’t like to do anything half-heartedly. I’ve been training for months and didn’t want the planning and effort to go to waste. So, I put my thinking cap on, and have planned my own version of the challenge, which matches the Costa Rica itinerary as closely as possible – just with slightly different scenery!
“I really hope people will dig deep and support me, whether they donate to the JustGiving page or turn up to run a few kilometres alongside me!”
Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer will take to the stage later this month, as he heads to Technology Live in London.
The one-day channel partner event will see providers from the cloud, MPS, voice, SaaS, storage, UC, security, and AI worlds – among others – gather to discuss emerging tech and opportunities.
And Tim has been invited to the Business Design Centre as a panellist on the ‘Making a Success of Diversification’ debate.
As the Technology Live programme highlights, technology convergence, changing customer requirements, and competitive pressures, have all made diversification possible and desirable, but what is the best approach?
This is exactly what the speakers will explore on the day (28 September).
Tim will therefore share his personal opinions and experiences from the helm of Vapour, as the discussion unfolds.
Elaborating on the session topic, he said: “As a business, we’ve been very open about the role of channel collaboration, as our company’s journey has unfolded. There’s usually very little value in being a ‘jack of all trades’, but when the expertise of true specialists comes together, the result is often a very powerful solution for the customer.”
“There are challenges with this approach of course, not least sourcing best of breed partners who will commit to the same standards as you,” he added. “As we’ve diversified Vapour’s offering over the years, we’ve therefore thought carefully about who we partner with and when, and we’ve evolved many of our own capabilities too, to deliver end-to-end support and plug any market gaps that may otherwise leave a customer exposed.
“This has naturally made us more resilient as a business too – if we’d stuck with the delivery of cloud voice, networks and storage alone, for instance, we wouldn’t be having half the conversations we’re currently having with progressive organisations keen to futureproof themselves in the evolving world of hybrid working. Technology is an enabler after all, but it is up to providers to showcase what it’s really capable of.”
Technology Live is free to attend but pre-registration is advised: https://technologylive.co.uk/register
We’re already well into Q4 of 2020, which shows just how busy things are at Vapour HQ. But what’s been going on behind the scenes over the last three months, and as we prepare for the final weeks of the year, where will our attention lie? Tim, it’s over to you…
The start of July feels like a lifetime ago, so reflecting on what has happened over the past three months, is actually not an easy task.
We’ve always been a fast-paced business, but due to the events of 2020, we’ve ramped things up even further. In fact, it feels like we’ve crammed 12 months of work into three, so it’s unsurprising that everything feels a bit of a blur.
Going ‘back to school’
Myself, our head of ops and compliance Carol, and our sales manager Alec Stephens, successfully completed our scale up programme in association with Barclays Bank and Cambridge Judge Business School last month, and I think it has played a big part in giving us such a great deal of energy, over the last quarter.
We’ve got big plans as an organisation, and I truly believe that Covid-19 has not derailed these. In fact, if anything, it’s brought the future into sharper focus. As a team, we’ve talked more than ever before; we’ve been sharper on the organisation and delivery of huge tech projects we’ve wanted to get over the line; and we’ve been clearer on not just where we want to be, but how we want to get there.
Going ‘back to school’ to formulate our thinking, was fairly daunting, not least because of the volume of work we had to undertake (and we don’t believe in doing anything half-heartedly!) But I’m incredibly proud of the plan we have compiled and the feedback from the course tutors. Now all eyes are on us implementing it, into 2021 and beyond.
Welcoming new faces and new fixtures in the calendar
There are a couple of new faces at Vapour HQ since my last post, with the appointment of James Hartley and Tim Stableford, and boy have these chaps made an entrance! We’ve another colleague due to arrive in mid-November too, plus talks are already underway about some potentially exciting hires for 2021. Just you wait and see…
This boost to our capacity – and hunger for our cloud tech knowledge – has seen us launch a new series of virtual events. We began our Webinar Wednesday initiative in September, and feedback to date has been really positive.
Focusing more on the sharing of insight as opposed to selling our solutions, the sessions have seen us cover everything from our cloud subscription service for Avaya, through to an effective remote working tech stack and 10 steps to building a disaster recovery strategy. I’m particularly excited about welcoming Tom Davies, CEO of Robiquity, to the mic, for our 4 November slot. There’s still time to sign up for this free event, if you’d like to learn how robotic process automation (RPA) could benefit your business in 2021.
Between the Eyes podcast goes live
I’ve gone live with a new podcast series too – Between the Eyes. We’re now on season two in fact, with the first episodes having proven a massive hit, taking us up 200 places in the entrepreneur chart, to position 30 in only a couple of weeks!
Designed to encourage straight-talking conversation that I think is so often lacking from modern debate – not least in the tech sector – the show covers the stories of real people who have overcome adversity, achieved great things and/or made some pretty tricky decisions along the way. If you haven’t heard what all the fuss is about, I’d love you to have a listen. We cover everything from leadership to lacrosse, and futurology to foundation for men!
Doing our bit
Elsewhere, we talk a lot about being a principled company that truly cares about people – a commitment that admittedly feels a little trite in the business space nowadays. But we know it’s an authentic part of who we are, and I think there are some wonderful examples of that passion, in action, in this last quarter.
These are just some of the things that matter to our colleagues, so they’re now permanent fixtures in everyday Vapour life.
Oh, and then there’s everything we’re working on for clients, which is last but absolutely by no means least. Away from all things Covid-19, we’re working on some really cool projects for clients in the automotive, construction and healthcare sectors at the moment, and we’re particularly excited to reveal details of a comms automation project with machine agents and NLP at its heart – watch this space!
With so much packed into July to September, many of us are getting ready for a recharge, but there are just nine weeks of 2020 remaining and some exciting opportunities left to grasp, so we’re aiming to go out on a high.
We’ve just launched our A-Z of Workplace Technologies in 2021 – a phenomenal piece of work which isn’t just a testament to the efforts of the Vapour team, but the many partners and friends of the business who are each genuine experts in their own fields. I think this has the potential to be a real must-read for so many organisations next year.
Nobody has a crystal ball, but given the rate at which a number of companies have undergone digital transformation this year, I think we’re going to see further great changes afoot in 2021. The adoption of video in only a matter of months is what many technologists expected to see over three to five years, for example, so it’s a very interesting time to be in this space, as we look ahead to the next quarter and beyond.
When it is time for that recharge, I will relish the opportunity to reboot over Christmas with the family – especially the two little people for whom it’s all about. Oh, and I’ve an expedition to Spitsbergen to prepare for, on the fringe of the Arctic Ocean. But more about that next time…
There’s a lot to do before the year is out. Stay safe everyone
A few months ago, we revealed the launch of a straight-talking new podcast, brought to you by our CEO Tim Mercer. In only a matter of days, Between the Eyes quickly rocketed up the entrepreneur charts, and we were soon inundated with people asking when the next episodes would drop.
We’re delighted to confirm that the wait is over – back by popular demand, the first interview of season two is now live on Spotify and iTunes, with a new episode airing each consecutive Sunday.
Between the Eyes – Tim’s brainchild – was launched back in July, to provide listeners with an unfiltered and honest insight into the twists, turns and challenges facing businesspeople at varying stages in their careers.
Armed with a strong line up of interesting guests – from Dragon’s Den star and founder of makeup brand War Paint for men, Danny Gray, to trailblazer Harry Bliss, founder and #CEO of
Champion Health – the popularity of the series was evident as it soared up the entrepreneur podcast ranks by 200 places, to reach number 30 in a matter of weeks!
Commenting on the success of series one, Tim noted: “It was fantastic to see receive such a great response from our listeners. We set out to make the podcast as frank and interesting as possible, without skirting over sometimes uncomfortable topics.
“This new series is no different, as we uncover some of the biggest obstacles confronting the business world in the current climate, and some of the ‘chewiest’ leadership challenges people encounter. There’s everything from futurology to the Special Forces. I’m excited for our followers to listen for themselves.”
The first guest to step up to the mic for series two was Wayne Hoyle – a Yorkshireman who went from a council estate in Halifax, to encountering every major conflict since the mid-80s and receiving the Queen’s commendation for bravery.
Also set to feature on the show are Jamie Coan and Richard Peck, founders of Eison; Nicola Millard, futurist and principal innovations partner for BT; Jacob Hill, founder of Offploy; and onetime coach and captain of the England lacrosse team, Rick Cotgreave – who also happens to be the former school teacher of Vapour’s sales manager, Alec Stephens.
Tune into series two via your preferred streaming service:
Members of Vapour Cloud’s management team rolled their sleeves up this week as part of our ongoing efforts to raise funds for this year’s chosen worthy cause, CLIC Sargent.
We announced our 12-month pledge to dig deep for this hardworking children’s charity, at the start of summer. And as September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it seemed the perfect time to get the whole business involved.
So, following our usual Monday morning meeting, the whole team headed outside for a pop-up car wash!
Vapour’s CEO Tim, head of operations Carol, sales manager Alec, finance manager Jill and head of engineering Craig Holmes got to work cleaning colleagues’ vehicles, in return for a £7 donation per car.
But the senior team didn’t stop there. They also promised to more than quadruple the funds they would personally donate, if an employee got to work on their car!
“It was a nice way to kick off the week,” commented Vapour’s charity champion Emily Potter. “At times there were bubbles everywhere, which naturally raised a lot of smiles as well as more than £200 for an organisation we care a lot about.”
With plenty coming up on Vapour’s fundraising agenda, the team is particularly excited about taking part in the Huddersfield Santa Dash and Reindeer Run with families, at the end of the year!
He spends at least half of his working week talking to, helping, and getting to know people in business. And now, Vapour Cloud’s CEO Tim Mercer has taken his passion for sharing knowledge – and having a chat – one step further, with the launch of a new podcast series.
Between the Eyes has been months in the making, but with the support of a former BBC sound engineer, an impressive line-up of guests and backing from Vapour, the first episode is now live on Spotify and iTunes.
Five further programmes have also already been recorded.
Designed to get under the skin of businesspeople at varying stages of their career, Between the Eyes centres on having frank, honest and straight-talking conversations about the twists, turns, challenges and – at times – extremely emotive decisions that have gone on to shape the personal and business lives of the guests.
First up is Danny Gray who turned his experience of being bullied at middle school, into the driver to set up War Paint for men. The make-up brand took social media by storm, not least when Danny found himself negotiating on BBC’s Dragon’s Den. In this initial episode, he talks body dysmorphia, raising funds, building a brand, being bold, changing perceptions, educating the market, and giving men a choice.
Commenting on the idea for the series, Tim said: “I know podcasts are nothing new – in fact there are so many out there, it can sometimes prove hard to find the good ones.
“I’m pretty open-minded as to the ones I tune into. Sometimes they’re delivered by people I respect, other times by people I’ve never heard of – occasionally even by people I disagree with quite a bit, but of course that still stimulates my own thoughts. I suppose this actually gave me the push to start Between the Eyes.”
From the very beginning he wanted this podcast series to be different.
“I’ve worked hard to ensure the conversation isn’t ‘vanilla’,” he elaborated. “There’ll be points where the listener thinks, there’s no way he’s going to ask that, surely, and of course, I do. Respectfully, though.
“Before each guest joins me, I’ve done my research – and then some. If they’ve given up the time to share their story with me, I want to show how much I appreciate that, so I put the effort in beforehand so we can have a really impactful conversation in the 40 or so minutes that follow.”
Also set to feature on the show are Harry Bliss, founder of Champion Health; Hugh Campbell, founder of GP Bullhound; entrepreneur Dom Waterson, founder of www.healthbunker.co.uk; founder of johnpc.co.uk John Cunningham, a sales transformation specialist and coach; and founder of Whiteboard Strategies Mark Edwards – a man who once you’ve met, you never forget.
“Podcasts, for me, have become a regular feature of my commute to and from the office,” concluded Tim. “So I’m hoping these will make people laugh, think, learn and develop too.
“It was a genuine pleasure to ‘interview’ some people who have played a really important role in my life. I look forward to seeing what listeners think of their stories and Between the Eyes overall – and of course, I want them to be honest!”
Tune in via your preferred streaming service: