Q&A: Lastminute.com founder on eBay, mobiles and tech hates

Brent Hoberman, lastminute.com co-founder

Brent Hoberman is a man synonymous with the dot com boom and his involvement in lastminute.com, one of the great online travel success stories of our time.

Fast-forward almost two decades and he has now got many fingers in many pies. He's an ambassador for the UK tech industry and wants us to be able to compete more aggressively with the big players in Silicon Valley.

We caught up with Hoberman at the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 handset to talk tech, entrepreneurship and his work with the UK government.

What made you get involved with this launch?

I'm a big mobile phone fan and have been ever since before mobile phones with the Psion device. I'm basically addicted to them. I have a healthy interest in them as a heavy consumer and for me this is a really interesting avenue.

I'm somebody who has two devices and I'm looking for a time when I can have one device, which basically marries the playfulness of the iPhone with the seriousness of a BlackBerry.

What's interesting here is you have a device that has some of the key things for me. It has a proper keyboard with a touch screen. A touch screen is great and a proper keyboard is great and few people are managing to blend that together. Microsoft Windows 6.5 is also interesting.

First impressions [of the X2] are good and it's got a good chance of bridging that gap for people. I think it's got lots of the leisure stuff, it's got a large app economy, it's got a very good camera and as a video player it seems robust

You've admitted you're a mobile addict but have you ever encountered any tech you've really hated or not got on with?

Yes, yes! My home automation system. Instead of buying a car, which would have been a clich as my deal present to myself when we sold the company, I got a Crestron home automation system. And it was one of the more foolish things I've done because it locks you into a very expensive, closed system in an age of openness.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.