Getting to know James Smallman

11 March 2021

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My Name is James Smallman, I'm the Sales Director for London at RDS. I am originally from Hertford in Hertfordshire but for the past 20 years I have resided on the Essex coast in Thorpe bay.

What's Your Favourite Book, Album, Sports Team?

Humm, I don’t really have a favourite book as such. I always like to choose an autobiography either by a sports personality or a good book about wartime history, something on the Falklands war would be fascinating for me.

Sports wise, I like Rugby really, I don’t really have a favourite rugby club as such but obviously I am a big fan of England. I suppose in a previous life I could be considered a West Ham fan but I’d rather not disclose what went on on some of those away trips…

And in terms of an album, again I don’t really have a favourite, I’m a lover of all music really. Anything old school. I suppose if you were to jump in my car Kisstory would be my radio station of choice. Radio 2 if I’m on a longer journey, it keeps me awake.


What's Your Favourite thing about your role?

I’ve done this type of role in various different guises for quite a long time now and I genuinely really enjoy interacting with people. Whether that’s the sales guys, different departments, different clients. I really enjoy the day to day.

I suppose that’s why I’m in sales. I’m a photocopier salesman at my core. Its good fun, I enjoy it! 

Who would you six dinner party guests be?

(dead or alive)

I think my Grandad, he was in the army and fought alongside Montgomery, because of his training, he was obviously very strict and I never got the chance to ask him about his experiences. So now, as an  adult, I would love the opportunity to sit down with him and ask him questions about his life.

The mindset of sports personalities really intrigues me. I would love Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and Michael Jordan to be there to really understand what makes them tick. What is it that feeds their hunger that keeps driving them on to win, year in year out. I just find their mindset fascinating.

I suppose a comedian is always good value, someone like Mickey Flanigan would be good. We are from a similar area, although he isn’t as funny as me!

And finally, well I like good food and good wine so I think I would invite Jeff Bezos to pick up the tab.

What is the best advice (or motto) you have ever received?

The best bit of advice and something I try to live by is:

Don’t get affected by the things you can’t control.

It doesn’t matter if I like something or not, if I can’t control it, its irrelevant so I try and not let things outside of my control wind me up

My Motto is:

It’s All Good.

Because I’m a glass half full person, I believe in being positive and I genuinely believe it will always be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright then it’s not the end!

What is your proudest career moment to date?

I think my proudest career moment was at a previous company where I went from being an individual sales person to heading the London and South East sales division for 3-4 years. In fact, although Tim Hubbard might disagree, we were the most successful sales team that the company ever had. I was very proud to be apart of that and it was probably one of my biggest step ups within this industry and essentially what led me to this role at Right Digital Solutions.

Conversely what is your worst/ most embarrassing career moment to date?

I used to work in car sales and one day a customer came in for a pre booked test drive of the Rover 620 I Saloon. Anyway, he was at the registration desk and I went outside into the forecourt to prep the car ahead of the test drive. It was a very cold, icy day I would like to add. Anyway, I got in the car and basically, I slipped of the brake on to the accelerator and drove the car straight through the show room window.

I shattered all the glass fronted shop window, took out all the desk and crashed into about 4 cars. Luckily there were no injuries but I did have to stay there the entire night until the double glazing people arrived to board up the front of the shop. Safe to say the test drive didn’t happen that day.

If you had a time machine what year would revisit and why?

Can I go for two?

I would say 1971, the year I was born, I would like to see how things were through my perspective as a 40 something year old.

And my second choice would be the 1920’s or 30’s. People seemed to have a real sense of occasion and they always looked smart and made an effort. It was also between two World Wars and I would like to see how that impacted things.

What would be your luxury item if you were cast away on a desert island?

A never ending supply of good red wine. A lovely rioja or something like that.

What is the right digital solution for you?

The Right Digital Solution for me is definitely my phone.

In fact my daughter bought me a coaster that said – “Never known without his phone”

So I would have to say my phone.