PMGC Technology CEO Jason Yeomans has always lived life in the fast lane. He provides us with an insight on his career from a teenager to the current day
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a racing driver. I started karting at age 14 – late by today’s standards – and progressed up through the classes, having most success at senior level. I then made the jump to motor racing as soon as I could drive. When reality struck and I realised I wouldn’t make F1, I switched to Touring Cars and GT’s [from Formula racing], competing professionally until an injury forced my retirement.
I did however make a comeback in 2013, racing for Lamborghini UK, and in June I drove for Ferrari at the world famous Spa 24 hour race. It’s for fun now though and satisfies my insatiable appetite for competition.
What was your first job?
I had three, all at once. I had two paper rounds in the morning for the local convenience store and then worked in the store itself after school in my home town of Dumfries, Scotland. I fondly remember my first wage was 90p-per-hour.
What made you seek a career in telecoms and where did it all begin?
I didn’t, it all happened by accident really. I’d always been pretty good at the sales and marketing side of whatever I turned my hand to and telecoms was very fast paced – which I loved – when I first got into it in 2006. For me though, telecoms is simply a component part of what we really do at PMGC, which is provide people with the technology to enable them to change the way they do things: communicate, work, live.
What was your first-ever mobile handset; favourite all-time device, and what do you choose to use now?
I forget the model, but it was a Panasonic something-or-other. Cost a fortune and weighed a ton, but it was great for me when I was travelling with my racing. My father could keep tabs on me! I use an iPhone now, which is great, and I also have an iPad mini which serves as my office via our SmartDesk app.
Proudest and lowest moments in your career?
Putting the deal together to form PMGC through the acquisition of Premier Mobile and Phonebox. At the time it was the biggest deal of its kind in our sector – some say it set new standards for the way the sector now looks – but I like to think that it just created a platform from which we [PMGC[ could change the landscape. Lowest moment was the recurring nightmare that it could all fall through, which it nearly did a few times, and I could lose everything.
Biggest wow/innovative moment you’ve experienced?
A few years ago when I realised what was possible with technology. Our SmartDesk proposition has been a dream of mine for a long time but 4G was the catalyst that fused dream to reality. The potential of changing people’s lives through new technology and the way we work is almost mind-boggling.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
We move at a pretty fast pace at PMGC so it’s all pretty exciting. I’d say the most rewarding though is seeing our teams create new and better ways of doing things. When innovation transcends it becomes rewarding, exciting and incredibly humbling all at the same time.
Funniest and most entertaining moment during your career?
Talking to institutional investors; the look of fear on their faces when they encounter an entrepreneur is lovely. They are a pretty staid bunch whose ideas are directly opposed to that of entrepreneurs, hence they think we’re nuts and we think they’re boring.
Who has been your biggest inspiration/role model during your career?
In racing, Ayrton Senna. What that man could do behind the wheel of a car was utterly mesmerising. Ally that to his unflinching belief and you have someone who is quite simply, extraordinary. In business, Steve Jobs – his ability to communicate was second to none.
Also, I consider myself extremely lucky to have a large, very close-knit family. Knowing that there are people there who will always support you, win, lose or fail, gives you a huge amount of courage.
If you hadn’t taken a career in mobile, what do you think you would be doing instead?
No idea, that’s why this had to work!
Hobbies outside of work?
I find the easiest way to relax is by doing something, so I used to play rugby for London Scottish in my early 30s and then, when that got too painful, I switched to Martial Arts (go figure). I achieved my Black Belt in kickboxing in 2011 and have been working on Kung Fu recently, currently a Purple Belt but finding the time has been difficult as I’ve recently got engaged and my fiancÃ©e is expecting our first child, which is fantastic.
I’ve done a couple of triathlons in the past, the odd marathon and I play golf way less than I need to. I’ve also done a few slightly more eclectic things such as cycled and kayaked the length of the River Thames, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and recently, the London to Brighton bike ride – all for charity.
In 2012 we set up the PMGC Charitable Foundation to support children’s charities in the UK. It’s great because all of our employees have the chance to get involved as well, which they love, and it gives something back in a structured way.