Q&A with Tony Lock, Programme Director, Freeform Dynamics

April 28, 2011

Tony Lock shares his views with the Countdown team in this Q&A. Our sister blog Countdown2MobileWorldCongress has published a Q&A with Dale Vile, Managing Director of Freeform Dynamics, available here.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I am a horse-riding, book reading, fountain pen loving, Cockney born, Chelsea fanatic who happens to be an IT industry analyst.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in data storage.

Freeform Dynamics is an analyst house that undertakes research studies of real world main stream organisations to find out not just what they are doing but attempts to discover why companies do what they do. We also try to work out what is inhibiting mainstream organisations from starting other projects.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year?

Outside of vendor marketing I am not sure that anything is exceptionally hot, but this applies to all areas of IT not just storage. All facets of “storage management” are growing in importance and organisations are slowly recognising this.

Q. How many storage events do you attend each year? Which one are you most looking forward to?

I get along to a very large number of events each year. I also take a great many briefings. Most events and meetings have something of value. It is the events where real customers stand up to give their real experiences that stand out the most.

Q. What types of companies are likely to attract your attention this year?

We talk to vendors of all shapes and sizes, not just the big companies.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week? 

I rarely give more than one interview a month. 🙂 That said, I do take part in many briefings every week, usually between five and ten, occasionally more, unless there is a major research project taking up time.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a company to you?

Face to face is always the most effective way of introducing a company to an analyst, but that is not always possible, especially if I am the analyst as I rarely have a more than a day or two in any one location. As a consequence I use the phone extensively.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

I have to admit to not being a big reader of blogs as I am usually too busy to take in more than a few. Clearly Freeform Comment and Dale Vile’s Open Reasoning are the ones to which I most often turn.

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

Of all of the technology I get to see and use, the ones that appeal to me the most are my Pelikan Fountain Pens plus my analogue watch. That said I would find it very difficult to live as well without my Insulin Pens and Blood Glucose testing technology.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in storage to date?

The most important development in storage to date beyond the spinning disk is the one that has not yet taken place. Storage management is crying out for a simple to use data discovery and classification engine to allow good meta data to be created and exploited. Only in this way can the huge growth in data creation be managed cost effectively and securely in line with business requirements.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

Talk about the benefits of using the technology, not the bells and whistles of the solution itself.

Q. What was the best business trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

The most memorable business trip was to New York for the first analyst meeting of a now well-known storage vendor. On the way out I got an upgrade to fly on Concorde. The worst would be to the opening of an archiving centre in Mexico and a major storage conference in Las Vegas, but only because Chelsea lost in the final of the Champions League whilst I was away.

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

I adore good simple food in large quantities. Curry, fish and chips or some East End Pie and mash work for me every time.

Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

I am not a big social media activist but I am on LinkedIn and Twitter, and have been so for a very long time.

Q. Tell us something no one knows about you.

I have no secrets that I would like to share here, after all there is such a thing as being too open. My only claim to fame is that I am known to talk about almost anything to excess and will almost always react if anyone tries to qualify the word “unique” in any way. Failing that, I have also taken briefings and journalist calls whilst out horse riding. Nothing special.


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