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From the Duck to the Ducting

For our first blog post of 2023, we wanted to welcome our new team member Ed Montgomery to the team. He was given the Clevernet typewriter to write a few words and this is his story, over to you Ed:

I wanted to share a story in a blog post to reflect on my recent career move to Clevernet from Aflac.

The Duck in the title of this post is a reference to the mascot of Aflac (a Fortune 500 American Insurance company). The story behind how this came to be is masterful marketing genius. The CEO of Aflac (Dan Amos) wanted to increase the company’s name recognition in the United States.

So, how did the duck get the deal?

The agency who was working on the pitch for Aflac was sitting in a park having a coffee, thinking and watching the world go by when they heard some ducks quacking. The noise made by said ducks sounded like “Aflac” and the quick-thinking creative made the executive decision to add this to the pitch. Genius in action, inspired by nature!

So, why am I talking about your former employer in the opening sentences of this blog?

I had a fantastic two years working with the team at Aflac Northern Ireland in Belfast. Aflac selected Belfast to be the city of choice for its new innovation centre, housing Digital Services and Security experts. The teams are driving change, bringing innovation to key areas of the business as well as protecting customer and Aflac data and systems.

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) is also a key focus for Aflac and I was on the Environmental Committee, or “Green Team” as we were called internally. This is a passion of mine and working for a company that takes this issue seriously, right up to C-Level is important to me.

Last year we added new committee members, matured our ways of working, brought in new recycling bins, raised awareness on green issues with CSR green days and trained 15 staff in responsible plastic management (RPM) training. The Committee also achieved its target of RPM Certification (I can’t take any credit for this) in Q4 of 2022, something we were all proud of!

Recycling Bins
Ed during his Green Team days in 2022 with his former colleague Josh

Let’s get back to the title of the blog and hopefully I have explained the reference to the ‘Duck’ and I will now move on to the “Ducting” element (#seguetime) :)

The first 11 years of my career were spent in Telecoms and I love this industry (hence the ducting)! I sold one of the first broadband connections for BT in NI in early 2003 (20 years ago this month?!?), braving the freezing and icy conditions on the roadshow sales team in the greater Belfast area.

Sales roadshow from 2003 in Lisburn's Bow Street Mall
Ed selling BT Broadband in 2003

That connection was sold to a Doctor who wanted to work from home more and needed a faster internet connection than his ISDN line (128k). He could see the benefits right away by switching to ADSL and was a true tech pioneer!

1. Going from 128 k to “up to” 512k (entry level download speeds in 2023 are 36 Mb with residential customers able to get 900Mb now on Fibre).

2. It was also cheaper (I can’t remember but think ADSL was £25 per month and maybe 40% cheaper than ISDN).

After our initial chat in a shopping centre (probably in Connswater), I drove round to his house, later on, that week, and he signed the order form for sale #1!

Right, back to the present day…

When I heard about my contacts and friends, formerly of Bitbuzz, were now in the Wi-Fi and Energy space, I was very interested and we got chatting last year and I left the Duck to go back to the world of Ducting. I have sold to the guys at least twice over the years and they know what to expect from me! #badpuns

The company is Clevernet.

The founders started this during lockdown in 2020, sharing a vision with businesses and helping their future customers to be prepared for the end of lockdown and a return to “normality” somewhere down the line.

The persistence of my founding colleagues to persevere during challenging times paid off!

What Clevernet does is the confluence of two passions of mine; telecoms and tech (Internet of Things/IoT actually).

Clevernet also ticks the box for Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) with their Energy business.

We have customers in Ireland and across the UK and you too can be a “clever clogs” future customer of Clevernet.

We would love to chat with you over Zoom, or even better, in person 😊

Call me or drop us a message if you want to join the Green Building Revolution – we can help you to reduce your CO2 emissions and save you a lot of money, who doesn’t want to cut their energy costs this year?

My personal motto of “connecting and protecting people for over 20 years” continues.

Let's talk soon,

Ed CPO (Chief Pun Officer)


N.B. Pictures and words are Ed's own and he didn’t use ChatGPT at all for this.

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