My Working Life by Thomas Standley

The managing director, Technology, CloserStill Media on being an Essex boy with a Suffolk twist, his love of cooking and having a potty mouth. 

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I’m an Essex boy with a Suffolk twist. I was born in Colchester but was swiftly driven back in my dad’s Morris Minor to a sleepy little Suffolk village called Bures.


My family are an eccentric, argumentative bunch.


My dad was a solicitor – a very good one, until my mum gave him an unmissable offer of retiring, once she secured a decent job, which she did when dad was only 45.


Mum became one of the UK’s leading Family Law experts and many solicitors still have her book on their shelves.


I yo-yoed at school. I was bright, but bit of a late starter in the academic department, learning how to misbehave first (which seems to be a genetic trait, as my boy, Charlie seems to be ploughing a similar furrow).


I didn’t keep the most suitable friends, but realised at sixth form college smoking in graveyards, rather than studying for A-levels, was not really that cool or grown up. But I managed to turn things around, get decent A-levels and a degree.


My first real job was selling advertising for Sterling Media – I read a script, used my dulcet Essex tones and that was it, I charmed them.


In my second job on the second day, selling software, my potty mouth was so bad they installed a ‘swear box’ in the office in an attempt to bring me in line – it didn’t really work.


I once had my own exhibition business (with a business partner). It went pop after a long, drawn out due diligence process by Koeln Messe, who was trying to buy it. I learnt a lot from failure and still carry the lessons with me today.


I love to cook, I’m pretty good at it too, my big belly is the sign of a man that does what he loves (outside of exhibitions of course).


I miss skiing, as the kids have put that on ice (excuse the pun) for a year or two. I love speed; if I wasn’t colour-blind I’d love to race cars. I used to ride a motorbike to CloserStill each day, but being dumped on the floor by a builder’s van on the way home put paid to that.


My wife would probably divorce me if I got another one – I smashed my elbow to pieces and had 56 staples in my arm.


I really look forward to our German tech shows; it’s an exciting market and a country I love working in. It’s somewhere we should be doing more in, especially now too many mugs voted to leave the EU.


Cloud Expo Europe has won the AEO award for Best Trade Show twice – that was a huge honour.


However, this wasn’t solely down to me. We’re a great team that pulls for one and all, and the founding directors are truly gifted; Phil Nelson in particular has helped me sand off a number of rough edges. I owe CloserStill a lot.

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