In 1985 he established Taxan (Europe) Ltd, a wholly subsidiary of Kaga Electronics, Japan.
In 2003 he founded TrustedReviews.com and in 2005 he acquired bit-tech.net. Both on-line only publications quickly became market leaders in their respective sectors. Hugh achieved his ultimate goal when he sold TrustedReviews.com to Time Warner/IPC Media in 2007 and bit-tech.net to Dennis Publishing in 2008.
Hugh is now involved with several start-up organisations and companies either as a mentor and/or investor. He also works with more established companies using his experience to provide an independent voice on strategy, performance, risk and people.
He has invested in Net Communities (network and publisher), Lovestruck.com (dating), and ParkatmyHouse.com (car parking). His non-executive Director roles include Time Out Group, Dennis Publishing and MyVoucherCodes.com.
How did you decide what you wanted to do after school?
I had no idea. I considered being an airline pilot, a rock star etc. and then woke up!
You left school at 17, why?
I went to very good grammar school, however I recognised after two terms in the sixth form that studying was not for me. I wanted to experience life, I wanted to earn money!
What was your best subject a school?
Maths, I love numbers.
Was there a teacher who had a particular strong influence on you and if so in what way?
To be honest, I found teachers focussed on what I was doing wrong. In general there was no guidance or help. I recall one saying, “he will be a millionaire or a failure”. They were right!
Tell me more about you?
I play to win. I am an individualist and a team player according to the situations in front of me. I am a perfectionist, I cannot stand untidiness or mess at home or in the working environment. I am also disciplined, self-motivated and very good with money/cost control.
What was your first job?
I was fortunate, my father helped me secure full-time employment in a company where he held a senior position. The company also sponsored further education (ONC and HNC in Business Studies). Overnight my character changed, from messing around at school to working very hard and building my education with a subject matter relevant to the working environment. I worked in small computing department as an analyst/programmer, becoming supervisor of the department.
And after this?
I joined Apple in 1979 because I saw a future in personal computers.
Tell me more about your attitude to work?
This is the important part. From my very first day I worked very hard. I did my job to the best of my ability and continue to do so now. I was never late for work and I always worked beyond my finish time to complete my work ahead of schedule and perhaps to stand out. A job done well combined with hard work is appreciated by customers, colleagues, management and stakeholders.
What advice would you give someone still at school who wants to do what you’re doing now?
Be different, work extremely hard, be patient and respect the people above you. Good manners is always appreciated. Success at work will shape your life so get into the right frame of mind. Work first, play second.
Employment or start your own business?
There is great emphasis right now on entrepreneurship and rightly so. I would encourage anybody at school to consider ways to earn money during their spare time. So many businesses start with a simple idea and require minimal if any investment. Your time will be the biggest investment.
What is the proudest moment of your life so far?
Selling my company, TrustedReviews.com, to Time Warner/IPC Media.
Any further advice?
Yes, remember the difference between you and success is YOU. There are three types of people, there are those people who make things happen, there are those people who watch things happen and finally there are those people who ask what happened. Which one are you?