Manchester's 30UNDER30 Michael Barlow, Global Alliances at AppLearn

Michael Barlow manages Global Alliances at tech company AppLearn, a ‘software company helping to change the way end users interact with their critical business applications, making it quicker and easier for them to perform their everyday tasks. AppLearn commands clients from world leading organisations including Philips, Barclays, Chanel, Toyota, UPS and Rolls Royce.

“My AppLearn colleagues inspire me on a daily basis.

A quick summary of your career and education;

“From high school, I went straight into a permanent role and began training as a telecoms engineer. I knew I wanted to get into the world of business as early as possible, and engineering proved to be a very solid foundation for me to build on. Day to day, I was fixing problems, delivering solutions and managing customers – which suited me perfectly.  I spent four years in engineering before progressing into a business development role which came naturally to me. From there, I went on to join my father and brother in a new venture, which we called AppLearn. I saw this an opportunity for me to build a Manchester-based tech business with my family and further develop my skills and experience at an enterprise level.  I continue to work in a business development capacity at AppLearn and have played a major part in bringing many of the current customers onboard. More recently, I am focused on developing our Global Alliances function which will be a critical part of our ambitious growth plans moving forward.”

What’s your most significant accomplishment to date?

2017 – as this was the year I contributed $1.35m in sales to the business.

ARLO, Manchester’s 30UNDER30 2019 Edition

Who inspires you?

Many people inspire me, I like to learn from everyone and especially those who have been successful and have remained humble. If I was to note a few people, it would be entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Tony Robbins.  My AppLearn colleagues inspire me on a daily basis. They work hard to deliver on the vision even when times get tough, which encourages me to be better and more focused.

How has living and working in Manchester helped you achieve your goals?

I am a big advocate of Manchester; it’s a city that is prospering and has great colleges and Universities, a fantastic social scene and a great talent pool, particularly in the tech industry which is thriving at the moment. AppLearn is based at The Sharp Project and this space has been fundamental to our growth, as it has provided us with affordable facilities and connected us with fantastic creative talent across Manchester.

What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

 Learn quickly and fail forward.

Read Next: Manchester’s 30under30 2018 

What are your goals of 2019?

From a business perspective, my personal focus right now is developing the foundations of our global alliances function to enable us to truly scale AppLearn on a global level via strategic partnerships. I will continue reading and learning, and importantly aim to remain fit and healthy with regular exercise.

Where do you see yourself in twenty years’ time?

I hope to be leading another business developing technology that positively impacts the world. (AppLearn won’t be my last rodeo!) I am a family man and so I hope to have my own by this time, so I can pass on my experience to the next generation.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career so far?

Starting a tech business in a global emerging market certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. The biggest challenge is brushing yourself down every morning and going again with a positive mind frame.

One word that sums you up best? 


Read More: Manchester 30UNDER30 2019

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