Can a chemist become computer forensic reseller? What if this is an Aussie chemist? David Lewis, Owner and CEO of Fulcrum Management, tells us his story.

Born in Leeds England in 1952, David followed his parents to Sydney, Australia in 1958. Growing up in Sydney’s sun, sand and good weather was hard on David but somehow he survived to achieve his bachelors’ degree in science in 1975.

After travelling the world, David spent eight long years working for Exxon before miraculously moving into the new PC industry representing Lotus 1,2,3. David then moved on to Ashton Tate where amongst other things he launched dBase IV (for which he will burn in hell :) ).

In 1991 David took the leap into entrepreneurship establishing The Paradigm Agency with Glenn Miller (who can’t play a note). After representing a number of small vendors, in 1995 David & Glenn became the Australian agents for McAfee (per David’s words, “now THAT was a great business!”).

After selling out to McAfee in 1998, David had a long rest before establishing Fulcrum in the Computer Forensics market in 2004.

David lives in Sydney (on the beach!), has one sister and three nephews and a beautiful girlfriend.

David Lewis

David is on the right.

Yuri: David, please briefly describe your current occupation.
David:
I am the owner and CEO of Fulcrum Management, a specialty supplier of computer forensics products and training. We are the largest supplier of these products in Australasia, serving Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia for our many suppliers.

Yuri: How did you become involved in computer forensic field?
David: I have been representing software firms since 1985 (Lotus Corp). In 2004 I was offered the opportunity to represent Intelligent Computer Solutions and it all grew from there.

Yuri: Do you have any related education? What did you major in at university? What field do you have a degree in?
David: I have a Bachelors Degree in Science (Chemistry).

Yuri: Please describe your working day. When you get to, what do you do first? What do you do most of the time? Are there days when you work 14 hours or longer? If so, why?
David: My days are very varied from dealing with customers and suppliers to learning new products to paying bills etc. Usually I work long days in the run up to the end of financial year. Otherwise 8-10 hour days are normal.

I love interacting with my customers

Yuri: What do you like about your job most?
David: I love interacting with my customers, understanding their needs and assisting them to get the technology they need to do their jobs efficiently.

Yuri: How did you start your company?
David: I started in 1991 to represent small vendors who were too small to have their own dedicated staff in Australia

Yuri: What is special about your company?
David: Even though we sell products, we are a service company dedicated to assisting our customers.

Yuri: You are running your company for more than 20 years. Aren’t you tired with that long job at the same place?
David: Over the last 20 years my business has changed several times, from representing small vendors, to representing McAfee to now Computer Forensics. There is always something new to learn.

Yuri: What is about your company that you are proud of?
David: We have very happy and loyal customers who are doing a worthwhile and valuable job for the community.

Computer forensics is a small community so word of mouth is very important

Yuri: How to market forensic tools? Is there any difference with other kind of software to organizations?
David: Our customers are the experts. They tell us what they need and we facilitate them getting it. It is a small community so word of mouth is very important. Also because of the type of customer we serve our integrity must be spotless.

Yuri: What are the differences in forensic markets in Australia and other continents/countries?
David: Mostly the differences are cultural. For instance in Asia relationship is very important to business success.

Yuri: Do you have a feeling that end-users and vendors live in different planets? Is there much misunderstanding between them? Are there many misalignments between what vendors produce and end-users want?
David: Mostly vendors do a good job in this market because mostly they started out doing the same job their customers do now. Occasionally the vendors go off track but the users are quick to set them straight if they are willing to listen.

Yuri: How do you select software to resell? What are criteria?
David: It has to meet a specific need. It has to be approved of by our customers. It helps if the vendor is easy to deal with.

Yuri: What is your experience working in crisis year? Did forensic sells decreased or is this a kind of software, a government/big players always have money for?
David: We have continued to grow. Australia has avoided the Global Financial Crisis due to selling lots to China.

Yuri: What are your immediate plans with regards to your company?
David: We will continue to service this market and always try to do better for our customers.

Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have some of the best most professional forensic analysts anywhere

Yuri: In your opinion, what is the current state of computer forensic science in Australia? Of legal computer forensic practices there? What about other regions you work with?
David: Most of the markets we deal with are highly sophisticated. Australians and New Zealanders tend to be very self reliant. If they have a technical problem it will be a difficult one, not just a question to be answered from the manual. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have some of the best most professional forensic analysts anywhere.

Yuri: What do you like most about computer forensics?
David: Interesting people doing a worthwhile job. Interesting technology. Lots of travel.

Yuri: Can you tell any funny story related to computer forensics?
David: Lots but I would have to kill you (laughing).

There will be a growing trend to introduce computer forensics at the command level

Yuri: Please give some predictions of what may happen in the nearest 5 years with computer forensic market/companies.
David: The biggest challenge will be dealing with the exponential growth in data volumes. Also there will be a growing trend to introduce computer forensics at the command level, enabling investigators to do much of the bulk work, leaving the most demanding tasks to the highly trained examiners.

Yuri: How old are you?
David: Over 50

Yuri: How many kids do you have?
David: Nil

Yuri: How do you spend your free time?
David: Sailing, skiing, with my girlfriend and with friends.

Yuri: How many hours of sleep do you usually have?
David: 7-8

I went to Cuba twice to improve my Salsa dancing skills

Yuri: What is your favorite vacation spot? What is the most unusual place you have ever been to?
David: I went to Cuba twice to improve my Salsa dancing skills.

Yuri: Wow! I’m doing salsa too… but not to the extent when I have to go to Cuba to improve further… Do you do any sports? Which one? What is your preference in watching professional sports?
David: I sail, ski, scuba, dance. I don’t watch sport… would rather participate.

Yuri: When did you have your last vacation? A real vacation, without any Internet and calls from your colleagues or customers?
David: July this year.

Yuri: Do you have a dream?
David: Mostly I live my dreams if at all possible.

Yuri: Thanks, David! Nice to hear “the down-under” point of view!

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3 Comments

  1. Theo Rolph says:

    Good afternoon David. I am intrigued with the concept of e-interviews, but perhaps for me as an ex-enforcement officer, my viewpoint is “accessability with international agency cooperation”, rather than a world wide discussion basis (as in your inetrview above). Having said that, I recognise both usages are laudable processes. I simply saw the additional usage as a connection and perhaps an extension to your computer forensics investigations.

    Trading chains have become so diverse in their origins, that one never knows just where a supply chain will lead. The more ciber-knowlegeable a person is, the more difficult it is for an enforcement agency to firstly trace, and then interview that supplier. If you check my Linkedin profile, you will see how much experience I have had in the supply of “goods and services” of many discriptions – over my 35 years with the UK Trading Standards Service.

    Like all new concepts, such interviewing has to have its own appropriate level of on-line-security; I was on the UK government approved recipients list for inter-agency information, and so recognise the problems that can be created without suitable security measures being first put in place. With your background you will be very familiar with such details – of that I have absolutely no doubt.

    I would value correspondence with you – if you have the time.

    Best wishes for this (almost) new year.

    Theo Simpson Rolph LLB(Hons) MCIM

    • David Lewis says:

      Theo,

      Thanks for your comments. Nice to know someone read the interview :-) .

      FYI I am not a forensic examiner, but I have over 20 years in the computer industry. To be honest I am not sure what you are referinbg to re on-line security.

      I would be happy to hear from you. Feel free to email me at david.lewis@fulcrum.net.au

      David Lewis

      Managing Director
      Fulcrum Management.

  2. Mok says:

    Hi David, after reading your interview I noticed you have some hidden talents. A combination of salsa and marketing a range of sophisticated forensic tools has taken you to far places. I have attended a number of your forensic marketing tool presentaions and marvelled of your experience. The QPS is using some of the forensic softwares that you have marketed. Keep up the salsa, you are doing good. Cheers.

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