Exclusive: Richard Paul of SnapperNet – Part 2

Richard Paul, SnapperNet director and owner, talks to Heather Wright about industry changes, the founding of his company and life beyond technology.

Paul says his management skills have been picked up on the job.

He enjoys reading about the Mad Butcher. “He’s very clever, very astute. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done and how he’s done it.

“Because essentially he started working in a butchery with no skills and no education to speak of and taught himself everything. He’s somebody I admire.”

When it comes to his own management style, Paul says he’s acutely aware of the numbers, ‘but they don’t rule me’. He reads industry publications and talks to ‘a relatively wide group of people’ to help identify trends and make sure SnapperNet is ‘pointing in the right direction’.

When it comes to managing his team, he’s somewhat of a micromanager, and says he’s ‘guilty of having to always know what’s going on, while being able to leave it up to individuals to do what they need to do’.

“The size of the business [with a team of eight] still lends itself to me being a little bit of a micromanager.

“I don’t know if the staff enjoy that or not,” he quips, “but it does mean I can still step into any of the roles in the company and do a half-decent job at filling in for anybody if they’re away.

“That said, the more my staff know and the better they are at it, the less I have to do and I’m really enjoying this point in the business where my team can essentially run the business themselves. I don’t have to be there all the time – though I want to be there all the time!”

Sixty hour weeks are the norm and Paul admits even when he hands the business over to a general manager, ‘I’ll still probably do 60 hours a week, it will just be different stuff’.

“I enjoy getting out of bed in the mornings and going to work. While it has its usual stresses, I don’t ever dread going into the office.”

Outside of work, he loves to be involved with his two sons’ sport, with one playing rugby and one playing soccer. Until last year he coached rugby, having played until he was 35.

His competitive side makes him an ‘occassional’ runner. “I go through stages where it’s three or four times a week and then I push myself too hard and get an injury and that’s it for six months.

“Even if it’s a casual jog around the block, if I see someone in front of me, I have to pass them. That’s me, competitive in everything I do!”

A beach house provides a break away from everyday life, while his wife’s love of food sees the couple eating out and checking out new restaurants whenever they’re travelling.

“While it’s her thing, I’m enjoying supporting her in it.”

Looking to the distant future, Paul says retirement may just bring some of the tertiary education he passed up on earlier.

“It will be something completely useless of course because it won’t be something I’ll be using in my career, so it might be something like history.”

For Part 1 – click here.

This story was originally published in the April issue of The Channel Magazine, click here to subscribe

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