Panel Profile: Photobox Group CTO Richard Orme

We get face-to-face with one of the IT Pro Panellists

Welcome to the IT Pro Panel Profile, where we talk to the CIOs, experts and IT leaders that make up the IT Pro Panel, and discover their top tech, pet peeves and IT inspirations.

It’s tricky, getting the perfect gift for someone. Nobody wants to get their loved-ones a generic, boilerplate present or card, but how do you find something unique and heartfelt without either spending a small fortune or running yourself ragged looking for it? For many people, the answer is personalisation.

If you’ve ever opted for this tactic, there’s a good chance you’ve used one of Richard Orme’s services. As CTO for Photobox Group, Richard is in charge of IT strategy for personalised gift brands like Moonpig, which means he’s responsible for delivering people’s heartfelt condolences, well-wishes and birthday greetings.

This brings its own set of IT challenges, on top of the existing trials of managing the IT strategy for five separate online businesses across Europe. What kind of person does it take to cope with these challenges? Let’s find out...

Richard Orme

CTO - Photobox Group

Describe your role in 20 words or fewer. 

I work on innovating new customer experiences by bringing together the latest technology with the emotional aspects of gifting.

What was your first computer? 

My first PC was the old Sinclair ZX Spectrum - a classic!

What do you like most about working in IT? 

I’ve worked with a huge range of businesses over the past two decades, from super high-growth scale-ups to publicly listed or VC-backed businesses. The pace and variety found in the technology industry is incredible, I can’t imagine another sector where I would have been able to work with the same range of talent or the same scale of projects. I’m naturally curious, and diving into new ideas, new ventures and new technologies on an ongoing basis is why I love working in tech.

If you could magically get rid of one piece of technology forever, what would it be, and why? 

Microsoft Office Clippy. It was a great idea but the technology at the time wasn't advanced enough to solve the problem. In the end it created a bigger problem than what it was trying to solve.

What future tech innovations are you most excited about? 

I am really interested in how AI and what we call ‘emotionally intelligent technology’ will come to play a more important role in helping build, rather than replace, those human moments that matter most. Gifting is a great example of this.

Who’s your biggest inspiration in the world of tech? 

Alan Turing – his profound genius in developing an entirely new branch of science to solve what everyone thought was impossible ended up creating modern ideas of computers and technology.

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If you're a senior IT decision-maker and you'd like to apply to be part of the IT Pro Panel, please email panel@itpro.co.uk

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