About Ian Watts
Hi, I’m Welsh, well… my mother's parents were Scottish and I've spent the greater part of my life between Scotland and France... but I was born Wales and grew up on the beaches there. I spent my childhood listening to bands such as the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Supertramp, Aerosmith, Genesis, Foreigner and Marillion. I spent many after-school hours listening to recordings of ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’ and playing with a Zx81, and my weekends with building canoes and learning beach rescue at our local surf beaches.
I've spent more of my life in Scotland than in Wales; I learned my trade in the Royal Navy where I studied Radio, Radar and Electronic Warfare ending up on various nuclear submarines operating out of Faslane in Scotland. I wasn't too keen on buying a house so bought myself an old yacht that I renovated, learned to sail and lived on board for 4 or 5 years whilst, during free weekends and leave periods, I explored Scotland's truly beautiful west coast.
I left the Navy in the 90’s, just as mobile phones and then the internet were catching on, and opened a marine electrical and electronic repair centre just down the loch at Rhu. I also stood in as a computer sciences teacher at HNC/HND level for a year or so at Clydebank College.
I sold my business in 2000 and spent the next couple of years designing, building and commissioning a secure GPS tracking system - Nav-Trax - for, rather ironically, the Royal Navy. After 7 years licensing the end-product they acquired the solution - but not the IPR.
I was lucky enough to find the girl of my dreams and marry her in 2001. Soon after we moved to France for a few years. We’re still here !
Since being in France, we spent a couple of years working with the RYA on a project - Race-Trax - to detect dinghies & windsurfers etc crossing the start-line too early (OCS detection), wrote some gambling analytics software for a Casino renovated a bunch of apartments for ourselves and some houses for friends and clients. Now we property manage for clients and rent the apartments to both long-term locals and AirBnB short-breakers.
I'm an electrical/electronic engineer,
I'm an inventor/designer,
I'm a programmer,
I'm a problem solver,
I love a challenge,
I’m passionate about the details
and… I’m very lucky; both my passions and my hobbies happen to be my main sources of income - I seem to have a habit of turning the things I love into business, which is great because I get to make a living doing them. It’s never too much like hard work… more like being paid to have fun !!
I’m also rather retentive over music, coffee, my motorbike and sci-fi which means I'm usually to be found in my office/workshop, music playing and coffee at hand whilst replicating some super-cool thing I've seen in the films or i just want to make - hence the 3D printer and CNC router!
On that note and trying not to 'bang on' too much, I’m also rather concerned about our carbon emissions and minimising our carbon footprint. Trying to reconcile this with my techy--geeky side is an ongoing challenge but, with solar and batteries, most of the tech stuff I (re-)design / invent and build has this in mind.
My main hobbies (apart form work) include sailing (though not so much at the moment), cycling, running, robotics/modelling, renovating my really old Triumph GT6 (when time, available cash and knowledge permit), 3D printing, cooking and pretty much making and repairing anything electric / electronic especially if it’s from renewable energy – in fact, during the summer holidays, we tend to hang out in our solar powered motorhome...
I recently learned to wiggle-board with my son and am currently converting a 50cc scooter from 2 stroke petrol to electric.