He was a very naughty boy
Monday 6 March 2023
How best to describe my friend Paul Tate - irreverent, voluble, friendly, popular, proactive, loyal team-worker with an impish sense of humour? I welcomed Paul on his first day in Reuters. He was due to work for John Adams, who hadn't yet escaped the Technical Department. Amazingly, John reported to me at the time. He was probably on a plane somewhere. I didn't do a very good job. Later, Paul told me he thought I was the office junior.
Paul had a healthy suspicion of senior management but reacted quickly to customer needs, expressed by support staff. By managing the growth of the Monitor network, he knowingly pursued a technical dead-end. While others used high-level programming languages like Java, with plentiful software libraries and tools, Paul and his team worked on redundant and limited hardware with venerable, customised software, written in the lowest level of machine code. By the end, with an unfashionable CV, he would have been hard-pressed to find employment outside the company. Few would have had the skill and willingness to perform his vital role. Reuters was fortunate to secure his loyalty.
In the Fleet Street tradition, Paul was an enthusiastic drinker, largely for the laughs and story-telling that this allowed. Surprisingly, after his job on Monitor was complete, he taught himself to use the arcane programming language PERL, the Oracle database and Unix operating system, demonstrating that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks. He developed valuable measurement and analytic tools for the Technical Operations Department in the Docklands data centre.
Paul jokingly threatened to run a stall in Barnsley market or open a pub, after leaving Reuters. He did neither but travelled widely to meet ex-colleagues. He hosted many parties at his house in Yorkshire. As an international ambassador for Monitor, Paul will be fondly remembered by friends worldwide. ■