Business leader Mashukul Hoque is the founder and MD of Datacentreplus, the independent hosting provider.
Datacentreplus provides a range of cloud hosting, cybersecurity and data centre solutions, and was founded in 1999 by Hoque, who has also launched a number of other IT companies.
He has more than 20 years of experience in digital and tech, having worked as an analyst programme and systems engineer within a range of organisations. He’s also heavily involved in a range of charitable, community and mentoring projects to give back.
We found out what lessons he’s learnt.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
I love going for a walk every day, I think it’s so important to get daily exercise for both body and mind, especially during lockdown periods.
What’s been your luckiest break?
Winning a large contract with a major bank in the week that I set up my first digital business! This ended up being a very lucrative contract that lasted more than 10 years and enabled me to diversify the business early on.
What’s your best failure?
I always thought that I would end up in an academic career and initially my ambition was to get into medical school. However, my grades weren’t quite good enough and my ‘fallback’ option was to study computer science, which I guess ended up being quite fortuitous!
What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?
In terms of a financial investment, I would have to say that the £10,000 I needed to invest into my first digital business had quite a high return on investment.
How would you describe your work/life balance?
At the moment, it’s probably tilted more towards work than it should be but it is something I really enjoy so it’s not a big issue for me currently. In the future, I would like to balance it out a bit more and perhaps spend a bit more time travelling.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
George Orwell’s ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ is a book I seem to come back to over and over again. Despite the fact that it was written in the 1930s, many aspects of the book could just as well describe the current time. The poverty and lack of opportunity Orwell witnessed in some Northern towns really scarred him and he later campaigned to improve the lot of these communities.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
This is a difficult one – where do I even start? Probably the best overall piece of advice I could give would be to say that there is no need to be afraid of failure, whether in business or personal life. Failures, provided you learn from them, can be very instructional and mould your later life.
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
Although I’m tempted to mention individuals, in reality the biggest influence in my business life probably is the existence of the internet. I wouldn’t have any of my digital businesses without it!
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
I have a fascination with vintage synthesisers – mostly from the 80s. I couldn’t really afford them back when they were around but have managed to pick a couple up recently and have been spending far too much time tinkering with them.
What does success look like to you?
I guess different people will measure success in quite different ways, but for me, it simply comes down to happiness and contentment in what you are lucky enough to have and what you can give to others, rather than in the value of material things.