What inspires you about Enigma Alliance?
The scope of possibilities. We have two very different sectors that we operate in. The first is Enigma Smart Site Services – this was inspired by years of working in far-flung, conflict-affected destinations and staying in uncomfortable places. And so we’ve built up a portfolio of products that offers either an entire camp offering or that can be bought individually. The focus is on comfort and security, and I really believe we offer a superior quality of services for remote site accommodation. I’m also excited by the fact that our products are modular: our accommodation, water treatment plants and gyms are all designed within containers making them easy to transport and yet still retaining their durability.
Investing in and advising tech companies is the other arm of our business where we deliver solutions to our rapidly changing world. From chartering your own private jet and ordering a helicopter ride via your phone, to changing the way you order food, we’re changing people’s lives for the better. It’s exciting.
How did the name for the company come about?
It’s based on my years in the intelligence service and the enigma de-coding machines from Bletchley Park that helped win the war. Everything in business is a puzzle; it’s about decrypting and working out the challenges and coming at things from a different angle.
How has your life experience provided the foundations for Enigma?
I think the military gave me an understanding of how to have personal relationships and responsibility. The intelligence service opened me up to the world of analytical, out-of-the-box thinking. When I was working at a senior level in the diplomatic corps, I learned how the world is put together. It’s one thing to say I’m going to open a company in China or Iraq, it’s another thing actually doing it.
What corporate culture characteristics attract you to a potential partnership with another company?
Honesty, drive to make an impact and being prepared to evolve a product or a service. We also strongly believe that we must take a philanthropic approach to sustaining global communities: a balance between business and our role as global citizens.
We are happy to honestly share our strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities in order to understand where we can value add to each party. Conversations never hurt; they just explore possibilities.
New business partnerships are always risky. What sort of criteria do you use to evaluate potential risk?
We always look at all the influencing factors and to the landscape in which the business has been placed. It is important to fully understand the complete picture in order to undertake a strategic approach to risk.
Additionally, the ability to be flexible and adapt a product quickly if it doesn’t quite fit is crucial. Nothing is perfect, but in order to move forward, you must be capable of recognising new factors and change, and polish and modify accordingly. We also look at what the market will bear, its longevity and at what point one needs to re-invent.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing both the security and tech industries today? Is there a vision to circumvent these potential risks?
Security is one of the fastest evolving industries; we are all still trying to catch up with it and understand its change. Human factors are rapidly being replaced with technology solutions and it can be difficult to meld traditional security with technology. We have to find a way to integrate this into a whole solution, which encompasses identity, surveillance, intruder detection, cyber and data security and IOT devices.
The first company that can become a whole integrated provider, understanding the complete picture, especially from the client’s point of view, and achieving reversed-engineering solutions, will lead this sector.
Enigma Alliance has a strong corporate social investment arm, what criteria do you consider before making an organisation a beneficiary?
We can all make a difference, no matter how small. The world is full of unsung heroes who strive to find hope for people who are suffering, or who just need support when they are struggling to survive. The important thing is to give and ask for nothing in return.
What is the most thrilling part of your role as CEO?
The ability to be a true entrepreneur, not bound by traditions and able to develop frontier ideas that make a real difference.
I am particularly proud that through local charities and through using sports as a means of providing education, we are delivering hope and team building (e.g. the Cheka-Sana Foundation). Clean water for communities around the world is a forward focus for us. We want to get to the position where for every water-purifying system we sell, we donate one to the local communities where we operate.
What do you think will become the single most, valuable asset, common to all communities irrespective of socio-economic differentiation, in the next 10 years?
Access to learning and understanding in a global environment, by being connected. The sharing of information, ideas and experience is vital to the development and success of all communities. Communications technology and cyber security are key factors here.
What do you believe are the key strengths of Enigma Alliance for both clients and the companies involved?
Our people – these companies are made up of great people, with vision and drive. We’re adaptable, innovative and always willing to take on and understand new business, sectors and products. And that’s really exciting. Never give up!
What personal qualities do you admire the most in other people?
Grounded honesty: the ability to provide honest feedback, encouragement and integrity. Additionally, it is very important that people demonstrate their humanity and are able to share their thoughts and vulnerabilities.
What makes you optimistic?
I believe that no matter what the challenges are you can always build something good in any place in the world. There’s no real impediment; if you want to, you can.