After a two-year separation, Synnex Senior VP Bob Stegner and I reconnected for coffee yesterday at Lenovo Accelerate 2016 in Orlando, Fla. Bob and I have had plenty of coffee talks about the IT channel over the years. But then I disappeared from the market for portions of 2014 and 2015, taking some time off to recharge and figure out my next move.
By September 2015, Amy Katz and I co-launched ChannelE2E. We started reconnecting with plenty of established sources and reaching out to new ones. But Bob and I never quite got our calendars coordinated. Until yesterday.
Hmmm... You Don't Say
So what did we discuss? Here's a recap.
5. Hyperconverged Data Centers: Actually, we didn't discuss that. We both know hyperconverged is a hot topic. No need to state the obvious. Instead We Discussed: What I did -- and didn't do -- during a hiatus from work in 2014.
4. Hardware Margins: Actually, we didn't discuss that. We both know resellers have been shifting from a hardware margin model toward solutions, services and now MRR (monthly recurring revenue) for more than two decades. Instead We Discussed: The Red Rock Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, a hidden gem for hosting a conference...
3. Big M&A Deals: Actually, we didn't discuss that. Sure, we both know one of Stegner's former employers is getting acquired for $6 billion. But since the money isn't flowing directly into Bob's personal account, we skipped the financial gossip. Instead We Discussed: Bands that may perform at upcoming Synnex events...
2. My Attire: Actually, we didn't discuss that. Bob knows I'm a dress down guy. I think he's warming up to my authentic, predictable Old Navy wardrobe. Of course, there's the occasional dress shirt from Costco -- freshly ironed in a hotel room about 15 minutes before having coffee with Bob. Instead We Discussed: Why? As in: Why Bob still enjoys the industry. And why Amy and I returned to it.
1. Exit Strategies: Actually, we didn't discuss that. Bob knows ChannelE2E is all about the "Entrepreneur to Exit" (E2E) journey for IT service providers. But neither Bob nor I had exits on our minds yesterday. Instead We Discussed: How Bob navigated planes, trains and automobiles to see his young son perform in a play two or more decades ago. After an intense business trip, Bob arrived to the performance just in time to see his young son step onto the stage.
That son is now 31... And Bob is still navigating planes, trains and automobiles to make time for partners. And to make time for his family. And to carve out some time for rogue bloggers who go off on unpredictable tangents.
And now you know why I keep pursuing coffee with Bob.