Paul Anslow – Meaningful Connections
Written by Joff Alexander-Frye
Photography by Nick Hook
Exeter is a connected city. Many people refer to it as a ‘big village’ and, if you ask me, its compact geography is one of its key strengths. You never have to travel far to find likeminded people and, also, being in such close quarters holds people to account in a unique sort of way.
Of course, as well as personal connections, a key challenge for Exeter is its connectivity from a communications point of view. As the internet behemoth continues to rumble on, gathering momentum and reach, despite the feeling that it surely must have to saturate at some point, the importance of connectedness becomes more and more vital every day. We live huge chunks of our working lives over the internet now, from networking and work meetings to recruitment and external communications. Just think for a second…how would your business function if you lost your internet connection for a week? Seriously. Think about it. Or maybe stop thinking about it if that thought is making your heart beat a little bit too fast and you can feel your neck tensing up.
So, when I recently met with Paul Anslow, the MD of Triangle Networks, I was meeting with a man who lives to provide secure, reliable and fast internet connections to businesses around the country. It probably helps that he is a natural-born salesman too or, in his terms, a ‘Full Fibre Evangelist’.
Born in Bristol and brought up in North Somerset, Paul was never a real academic, despite growing up (in his words) between two taller, heavily academic brothers. Always a little fidgety and distracted at school, Paul related to his Dad who worked in computer sales and, later, owned a Sales company. He struggled to engage with his teachers who he felt only valued ‘the best grades and the best universities’. Paul stopped and pondered, with a twinkle in his eye,
“I think my motivation comes from a combination of middle-child syndrome and small-man syndrome or something!”
Eventually leaving school to attend De Montfort University, Paul got a degree in Marketing. And it was here that he met and got engaged to his now wife, who he has three children with, aged nine, seven and three. Whilst his friends were studying for final exams or just ‘out on the piss’, Paul had started his career in telecoms, was getting engaged, getting his first mortgage and settling down. As he talked about this time in his life, I had the sense that, whilst Paul doesn’t regret a second of the path that he has taken in life, he does occasionally think of what life would have been like if he had followed a different one. It did of course all lead to marriage, fatherhood and running a business. I am, likewise, happily married with three incredible kids and I can relate to that sentiment too.
Fifteen years ago, after Paul graduated, he set up Triangle Telecom (now Triangle Networks) as a spin-off of the family company. Paul explained,
“The two must-haves in business are a great product and the ability to sell it well. “Every business requires a sense of purpose when building its offering and its revenue streams.”.
One of the things that I found most endearing about Paul during our time together is that he unashamedly identifies as a salesman. The ability to sell is an often-maligned skill. In some cases – think estate agent or car salesman – there are even specific generalisations and stereotypes of what being a salesperson is. Obviously, these are largely unfair and untrue and, in my opinion, it is people like Paul who has the ability to break those false perceptions, creating a fairer, more aspirational narrative around being good at selling a product. In other words, people don’t necessarily dislike being sold too, they simply dislike being sold to in certain outdated ways.
It was, in fact, this strong sales ability which, a few years ago took Triangle Networks up a few gears. Paul made the strategic business decision to establish a key partnership with a company called CityFibre, the fastest-growing ducting and infrastructure company in the UK right now.
CityFibre own large ducting networks in Bristol and Exeter (amongst other locations), which are full of fibre connections, as opposed to traditional copper connectivity solutions. As copper degrades over time, it is a fatally flawed method of connection as connectivity diminishes as the copper degrades. Full-fibre solutions, which run a fibre connection directly to your premises, do not degrade at all, meaning that they are reliable, future-proofed and unaffected by things like inclement weather.
And so, Triangle Networks is now in the process of rolling out these superb full-fibre solutions to businesses all over Exeter, in an attempt to turn Exeter into a ‘Gigabit City’ (a city where gigabit fibre connections are the norm). Triangle, as well as Grow, believe that the better connected we are, both personally and technologically, the more chance we have of succeeding in life and in business.
So, I suppose the question is, as Exeter becomes a truly ‘Gigabit City’, will you join the Gigabit Revolution?
You can follow Paul @paulanslow on Twitter