By Beth McGinn, August 2019
When Mark & I got married in 1999 we bravely embarked on a mixed marriage between techie and non-techie. Like most new relationships, in the beginning I started off by showing interest in Marks passion for technology but who was I kidding!! Mark is very tech savvy and really knows his stuff. Being married to Mark, a man in IT, is like being married to someone who speaks an entirely different language, I call it ‘Tech Talk’. With Mark running his own business MarXtar, tech talk is a very regular thing in our day to day life!
Being fluent in British Sign Language (BSL) means I’ve learnt to read body language quite well over the years. Mark does his best to make technology as understandable as possible for my non-techie ears but occasionally when he’s in full ‘Tech Talk’ flow, describing a complex IT solution or an issue he’s encountered during his working day I have to call on my BSL skills. If he looks enthusiastic then I smile, if he looks annoyed then I frown. If he seems frustrated, then I suggest we grab a takeout for dinner.
When we started our family, it was important to us both that our kids should be raised bilingual. It’s Mark responsibility to make sure they are fluent in ‘Technology’, while with me they just speak English.As the years have gone by this has paid off as now it means that I can ask our teenagers for basic IT support if their Dad’s not around.
Time to Upgrade
Mark had wanted to start up his own company for quite some years. Previous opportunities either hadn’t come along at the right time or had involved people who weren’t able to properly commit at the level needed to make it a success. MarXtar was born in 2008 at a time when financially we were able to make the leap, our home life was settled, and Mark had connections with the right people to support him technically. It really was a case of now, or possibly never! I was excited for him but due to my incredibly poor IT knowledge I was naively oblivious to what would really lie ahead for him.
The immediate noticeable difference for our family was that I went from having a husband who worked away 3 out of 4 weeks of the month and who our kids barely saw (other than via skype), to Mark being in the home office 7 days a week and home at night (still working but under the same roof as the kids and I). I didn’t think it was possible, but he was putting in more hours, yet we were seeing him more than ever before.
When Mark commits to anything, he absolutely gives it his all. Previously it was other employers who saw the benefits of his hard work and dedication. Now when he puts in the hours and goes the extra mile for customers it’s his company that sees the rewards and it’s his reputation he’s building. His hard work and that of his team has paid off and his company has grown to multiple offices both in the UK and the States, so I have been able to take back ownership of our home office.
His working hours are far more reasonable now and we have a far better work/ homelife balance. Our kids have reverted to communicating more with their Dad over text/ facetime than in person but now that’s because they’re being teenagers and not because he’s working away. Mark has far more responsibility to make things work than ever before but it’s under his control, rather than waiting for other departments or bosses higher up to make decisions. In that sense I’d say he’s far less stressed than he’s ever been.
I’m very proud of all that Mark has achieved and although I still don’t really understand what he does, I know it’s not just me who respects him for his integrity and knowledge.
Guaranteed Response Time
In this modern world it’s a real benefit having such a tech savvy husband. Every day our lives are intertwined with technology, from ordering meals to staying in touch with family, technology is integrated into everything we do and will only keep increasing with time (which scares the heck out of me!!).
Mark is dragging me through the 21st century and making sure I’m introduced to the latest tech trends. I own an iPhone, Apple watch, wireless headphones, iPad, hive, sat nav, etc… but I quite literally have ‘All the gear, with no idea’. Whenever Mark buys me a new gadget, he sets it up first, reads the manual and just tell me what I need to know as simply as possibly. Thankfully he is very patient and calm, he also knows that he’ll have to show me some things again in a few days’ time. The first few times I tried using contactless on my watch, loud beeping alerted me to the fact that I’d called the emergency services instead!
Mark and his team at MarXtar are very proficient, they are all very competent passionate IT people – it’s like having my very own helpdesk on hand. You know what it’s like when you’re at work, just trying to do your job and you have problems with your laptop, be it a message appearing on the screen, a potential virus or dodgy email. There is nothing that Mark’s ‘tech support’ can’t do! And if you are like me, I don’t want to hang around I just want someone to fix the problem and get me up and running again.
Fortunately for me/ unfortunately for Mark, his is a 24 hours service. When I tell our kids to “wait till your Dad gets home!!!” Its’ nothing to do with their behaviour, it’s because they want to talk technology. Mark feels very popular when he arrives home from work to find we’ve all formed an orderly IT support queue to greet him, and I’m generally first in the queue!
Mark’s also grown used to me offering up his IT services. He’ll occasionally come home from work to find someone has dropped a laptop round for him to fix. Be it the woman from parent and child group, the gardener or a neighbour from 2 doors down. Luckily Mark never bores of technology and likes to help.
MarXtar are very solution orientated they take the time to ensure they have dotted the I’s and crossed the Ts for their customers, going just that little bit further to future proof their requirements. This is just who Mark is as a person. If I need a new TV (or any electrical device for that matter) I just go to the shop and buy one. I pick one that looks like the last one, only really pausing to check the size of it to make sure it will fit the same space as the old one. Mark will spend hours online looking at the latest models and reading reviews, checking capabilities and functions and ensuring it’s the best fit for us. This thorough attitude continues within his work.
End User Expert
Someone asked me to show them how to do something on their computer last week. I didn’t have a clue how to do it but let them know I was incredibly flattered they thought I might understand the question, let alone the answer! Therefore, I’m so pleased I have my own personal techie; however, I do think that because I’m married to Mark some people think I understand technology too.
After 25 years together I have learnt two things about technology though, to turn it off and on again and make sure it’s plugged in before asking for help.