I first saw Peter Bonfield in action at ICL 16 years ago promoting the ridiculous concept that everyone would soon have a dedicated PC on their desk. I well remember how journalists and IT professionals saw his predictions as nothing more than hype. As we all laughed, Bonfield laughed all the way to the bank. Today he is CEO of BT.
So it was with great expectation that I awaited his BT Insight Executive Briefing at the British Library. However, his transition from go-getting, rising IT executive a decade and a half ago to avuncular, urbane captain of industry still has a way to go.
His text was the globalisation of markets and it would have been easy to get buried in a script which sounded as if it had been prepared for him. But credit to him. Bonfield sounded a clarion call against the tide of demonstrations and negative press that globalisation has received in the past few months. He had statistics on his side. In developing countries over the past 10 years those with relatively open economies enjoyed 4.5% growth compared to 0.7% in those with closed economies. Free trade should be kept alive, the key to this was the internet and, of course, BT would be playing its part.
As a presentation, it wasn't his best. He spoke too quickly, there was not enough pausing between changes of theme and his hand movements were mannered and underwhelming. Bonfield's favourite word is phenomena. The trouble is he uses it recklessly as singular and plural. Someone should tell him the difference. But there, I just have.
Key moment: The revelation that 90% of internet traffic is in English.
Key lesson: Get across your material especially if it has been written for you. That way you'll be less prone to waffle.
Silver tongue or foot in mouth?