Snapshot : Anthony Goonetilleke, chief technologist & head of Product, Amdocs
VanillaPlus: What was your first job?
Anthony Goonetilleke: Do you want to know my honest answer? A friend of the family owned a local butcher store, and on Saturday mornings, he needed help with cleaning.
As a 13-year old kid, it was the coolest, and perhaps the grossest, job you could possibly do. I had to clean all of the fat, blood, bones and guts off the equipment. If anything was going to make me a vegan that was it! However, I live in Texas and love a good steak, so I guess it didn’t scar me that much.
VanillaPlus: What led you into a career in telecoms?
AG: It was completely accidental. I used to be a UNIX geek, and was involved in the early days of Linux and IP networks back in the early ‘90s. After working in the public sector building out heterogeneous networks in Melbourne, Australia, I found that government jobs didn’t pay a lot of money, so I moved into the private sector. 18 years later, including five moves across different countries and continents, I am naturally embedded in telecom. I feel like connectivity is the basis of our existence, which may sound a bit melodramatic, but it’s true!
VanillaPlus: Without naming and shaming, tell us about your worst ever boss
AG: So, how many people will be reading this, exactly? In all honesty, I’ve had many amazing bosses including my current one who has an incredible ability to dream big about ‘moonshots’, talk intricately about algorithms, and motivate the heck out of everyone all in the same sentence.
Many years ago, I did have a questionable boss who drove me nuts, but I’m a strong believer that you can learn from the good and the bad. I think I am a better leader today because of that one bad boss.
VanillaPlus: What has been your most memorable business travel experience?
AG: This is a loaded question as I basically live on a plane. However, I always appreciate great food and local cuisine. I’ve eaten food ranging from rattle snake cakes (they taste like crab cakes) in Colorado, to fresh pita bread in Jerusalem pulled straight from a clay oven that was over 100 years old. To answer the question more succinctly, my most memorable experiences always seem to revolve around great food and great friends.
VanillaPlus: What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
AG: I live for the journey as opposed to a single moment, and look forward to getting out of bed each morning to get an idea out of my head and moving. Seeing an idea come to life energises me, and watching teams that have worked so hard on a project (or sales goal) succeed gives me enormous pride – similar to being a proud parent. As you progress in your career, proud moments become less about you and more about equipping others to reach their full potential.
VanillaPlus: Where do you see yourself in five years?
AG: I’d like to say retired on a beach back home in Australia, but we live in such a golden age of technology and business model disruption, I wake up every day thinking about something new we should do. That ensures one thing for certain; I will wake up five years from now thinking about something new, and always thinking that five years in the future, the beach would be a great idea. I suppose the beach will always be n+5.
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