Jamie Balfour

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Jamie BalfourInspirational people

Jamie BalfourInspirational people

This page is dedicated to the people who inspire and inspired me in my life.


Whilst everyone is somehow inspired by family members, I was inspired by one or two inparticular.

My father

My dad was one of the main reasons I got into technology. He got me a desktop PC when I was six years of age, and bought me a software that would let me use a PC to do awesome things. Further to that, when I asked to look inside a PC, my dad helped me to do it - I was only 7 years old and I could name the parts of a PC.

My dad was also a negative in my life, particularly in regards to two aspects: my career and drinking. With regards to the former, my dad always brought me down for wanting to be a teacher, by claiming that I would be better placed doing some computing industry job (and whilst I partially agree, I am happy with teaching for the most part). He tried and tried to stop me getting into my career that he was inspirational in the sense that he showed me that teaching is exactly what I needed to do. With the latter, my dad has always been an alcoholic and it's shameful. He's a bit of a disgrace and for that reason he inspired me not to drink alcohol.

My grandfather

My grandpa was very inspirational whilst I had him. As my mother's father, he had a successful career and came from the side of my family with successful businesses and careers. I learned a lot from him as well as understood the benefits of a good education from him (he was educated at Harrow School and Cambridge University).

My nana

My nana was my main family inspiration. She was a wonderful woman who achieved so much in life and was a such a strong figure in my life. She helped my mum through tough times (such as my dad's drinking etc) and stayed strong even after the loss of my grandfather. She taught me a lot of the things I know, but also showed me, like my grandfather did, about the importance of a good education.

My grandmother

My grandma on my father's side was another major influence in my life. She was a proud Scot and a very well-spoken woman. She not only encouraged me to speak proper, but she also helped me think more deeply about political things in life - something I took an interest in from 2009 onwards. My grandmother also bought me a lot of games and books which also increased my knowledge from a young age. I can never forget that she bought me the Age of Empires collection which taught me everything I know about history.


I wish some of these people were my family, some of these people are just so unbelievably brilliant.

This section is dedicated to the most inspirational people out with my family.

Mr Tennent

Mr Tennent was an inspirational teacher to me. He was so kind, we got on very well and he supported me beyond the classroom by allowing me to be a classroom assistant in one of his classes. He allowed me to discuss my passion for teaching and technology without ever telling me that I talk too much.

He was my favourite teacher from early S3 onwards.

Mr Laird

Mr Laird taught me S1 history and was an amazing person. He was the person who started my school nickname which just became Balfour or Balf. I remember his last day where he was in tears - we all were actually. He is one of the biggest inspirations in my life and a lot of what made me like him has become the basis for my own teaching style.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was an amazing presenter of new products, full of enthusiasm and a very inspirational speaker. As a someone who delivers a lot of talks (mainly as a teacher) Steve Jobs has inspired me in my presentation style as well as somehow helping me become a more outgoing individual.

My first presentation at university back in 2012 was originally one that I was nervous about carrying out, but after learning how Jobs performed them, I picked up ways that helped make me become more confident (so much so that by third year of university I was standing up in front of more than 200 maths and computer science students as the class rep).

Bill Gates

It really goes without saying why this man is one of my inspirations. I was consistently called 'the next Bill Gates' at school because of my love for computers and my geekiness.

Bill hasn't just inspired me for creating BASIC and DOS, but for what he did with his time after Microsoft as a philanthropist.

Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy got me interested in politics back in 2005 when he carried out several marches opposing the War in Iraq. He sparked my interest in reading more into liberalism and social-liberalism.

Robert Downey Jr.

After Christopher Lee comes Robert Downey Jr. as my favourite actor. Since I first saw him in Sherlock Holmes back in 2009, I have absolutely loved Robert Downey Jr. and have thought his acting style to be most entertaining to watch.

Why he was inspirational for me was that he actually reminds me of what I can be like. Sure I don't have his looks, but I've been quite a sarcastic and wity person since I was in my late years at school. He just inspired me to continue as I am.

Further to that, Downey didn't have the easiest of times getting to where he is. A drug user and someone who got out of a rut, he grew to be one of the greatest actors of my time. His path to recovery is inspirational.

Elon Musk

Mr Musk must have inspired hundreds of thousands of people and he is often named the 'savouir of the world' for his actions. He inspired me long before he became the front page of every newspaper for his work at Tesla (which I had been following since its early days in around 2006 or 2007).

Lisa Su

When I was kid, I was always interested in swapping to the AMD side when I got my second laptop, sadly I was swayed to the Intel side by my dad, mainly because of the Pentium 4. But I was always told the AMD version of my laptop was the better, and indeed it was.

Since 2017, I've been an AMD Acolyte. Since early 2014 I saw Intel as the bad guys, charging far too much for their hardware. When Coffee Lake came out, I saw that Intel was struggling really badly too, and there was little progress being made, yet they continued to sell the same junk for years.

AMD stepped in, after the FX Series which almost lead to bankrupcy, with the Ryzen and EPYC processors, as well as Threadripper. I couldn't believe it! They had taken the crown from Intel for the first time in 10 years! All of this was under the direction of the amazing Lisa Su, who managed to get AMD back from almost disappearing altogether. She is my favourite CEO of all time.

She also increased the value of each of my shares in AMD from just about $25 to a whoping to $180 when I sold them.

Sara Soueidan

Sara is an inspiration to any web developer out there. Her work is incredible. As someone who cares a lot about design (but maybe doesn't always show it), Sara is truly inspirational to me. Everywhere I look in the latest web technologies, she's there. I recently found out she's also a fan of reveal.js and slides.com as I am!