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An extreme CTO

Byron Connolly | March 16, 2015
Ash Crick has many strings to his bow. He's been an IBM consultant, video producer, professional skydiver, and musician. These days, he's the chief technology officer (CTO) at Malaysia's iflix.

He began skydiving in 1996 after bumping into an old school friend — a skydiver — at a bar in Melbourne where he was touring as a musician. As it turns out, skydiving was a sport very suited to Crick.

By 1999, he was the Men's Freestyle Skydiving World Champion, a title that he also secured a year later. In 2000, he was even anointed the "fastest person on Earth", reaching 419 km/h during freefall at a competition in Vichy, France.

"I remember doing a training camp in Arizona in the US and I'd completed about 400 jumps in that time, and about 1500 when I won the world championships," Crick says. "The guys that I was competing against had been 7,000 and 15,000 jumps. I had a life to fit in — most of those guys lived on drop zones," he says.

Believe it or not, Crick draws comparisons between preparing for a skydive and getting organised for a high level meeting with CEOs and board members.

"The way you approach things when you are thinking about how you are going to perform your routine when you are jumping out of a plane — is not far different to how you would approach going into a large business meeting with a group of CEOs," he says.

It's all about visualising how things will run, he says. A freestyle skydive has a 'start, middle and an end' with athletes preparation for each stage in the plane before jumping.

"When you are in the plane preparing the way you are going to do the jump, the way you do that is similar to [how you prepare] for a presentation," Crick says.

"You do have to do things right but when you do a lot of jumps — there are a lot of inbuilt safety mechanisms, you can see the ground, you know roughly where you are at — you could probably be within 500 feet and predict accurately how high you are.

"This is similar to keeping to time when it comes to a presentation, ensuring you are keeping the interest of the audience that is watching," he says.


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