Everything Not to Miss at This Week's #CPExpoEverything Not to Miss at This Week's #CPExpo
There will be no shortage of things to do to improve your business.
April 8, 2019
The world’s largest independent channel event doesn’t come together without plenty of input from editors who know their community and are committed to partners’ success. As always, the Channel Partners and Channel Futures editorial team is fanning out across Mandalay Bay for the Channel Partners Conference & Expo this week, meeting with exhibitors, hobnobbing with partners, speaking despite our natural introverted tendencies, even team-hosting keynote blocks.
We’re pleased to also welcome an expanded slate of channel media, analyst and association partners, including ChannelPro, CompTIA, DataCenter Knowledge (whose editor-in-chief Yevgeniy Sverdlik is a guest track chair), Telecoms.com, Telecom Reseller and many more.
If you’re looking for unvarnished editorial insights on the business of technology and channel, you’ll find it. If you’d like to catch a minute with my team, check out these sessions and parties for Tuesday and Wednesday. But first, one big recommendation: Download the mobile app. Trust me on this; I have tried our new app, and it is awesome (here’s the iPhone version; just search the Google Play store for CPExpo to get the Android app). You can build a personalized schedule, browse the full exhibitor and sponsor listings, download collateral, connect with and schedule one-on-one meetings with other attendees and exhibitors, join conversations, respond to surveys, rack up points to win prizes — and much more. Attendees who join us at our conference sessions can rate the speakers and content right in the app, and for every one of you who does, we’ll donate five bucks, up to $2,500, to an amazing charity called Sunshine Nevada, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that, among other things, hosts free summer camps for children with special needs and their families.
Tuesday: Revving Up
For the third year, senior editor Lynn Haber will emcee our Business Success Symposium, sponsored by Rackspace. Our luncheon keynote speaker, Adam Hartung, is CEO and a managing partner of strategy and transformation consultancy Spark Partners. For eight years, Adam was the No. 1 leadership columnist for Forbes.com. He’s also written for CIO.com and will provide BSS attendees a copy of his newly re-released b-school classic, “Create Marketplace Disruption: How to Stay Ahead of the Competition.” We’re very thankful that Adam is joining us, and I promise you’ll walk away with a new determination to be the disruption you want to see in the world.
As a bonus, Lynn will bring Rackspace vice president of channel sales and channel chief Lisa Heritage McLin on stage to share her insights on Adam’s message. Lisa will stick around to sit in on a panel that we’re calling “Align or Die,” in the sales & marketing track, where Lynn is the track chair. You can also catch SD-WAN expert James Anderson and MSP 501 lead Kris Blackmon chairing tracks. You will need an All Access pass to attend the BSS, but that gets you a nice lunch, a copy of Adam’s book, some great education and a cocktail networking reception. Check out the full schedule here.
I am told there will be enchiladas and guacamole. Yay for still having avocados.
Later that evening I’m honored to give some opening remarks at the Alliance of Channel Women reception, including the very latest on our new London event. I’ll be there at 5 sharp. And show newbies can connect with our executive editor Craig Galbraith and senior director of channel content T.C. Doyle at …
… Red Square during our annual First Time Attendee Reception, sponsored by Verizon.
Wednesday: And So It Begins
We’ve got two packed keynote blocks and a dozen conference sessions queued up for Wednesday. T.C. and I will emcee the morning keynotes (yes, we have bacon, thanks to meal sponsor AT&T), while Kris and security maven and news editor Ed Gately will be your hosts for lunch, which comes courtesy of Innovative Business Solutions.
Among the speakers we’ll introduce are our Channel Partners 2019 Influencer of the Year Janet Schijns, Forrester’s Jay McBain, Clarify360’s Jo Peterson and AT&T Cybersecurity channel lead Mike LaPeters, who will sit down with Kris for a first look at some exclusive research on whether partners are delivering proactive security.
You’ll find T.C., Lynn and James in our conference track rooms. Because I shaped these sessions, it’s tough to play favorites. But a perennial partner pick is our annual Channel Chief Roundtable, where top execs will weigh in on the best technologies to add to your line card this year. I’m also stopping by a panel on the five best ways to capture customers’ attention featuring Ira Feuerstein, VP of strategic partnerships for our 2019 Conference Sponsor, Nextiva.
Our afternoon block features our new Founders Forum, moderated by our friend Quy “Q” Nguyen, founder and CEO of partner firm Allyance. Where else but #CPExpo can you find Rick Dellar of Intelisys, MicroCorp’s Karin Fields, Ted Schuman of PlanetOne, TBI’s Geoffrey Shepstone and Vince Bradley of WTG together in one room? Nowhere. Make sure you have a Conference & Expo badge if you want in to hear from the five industry pioneers who launched this event 22 years ago as they look back at how far we’ve come as a community and engage in a frank discussion of where the channel overall, and the master agent business model specifically, are headed.
Also of note on Wednesday: Our expo hall opens with 275 exhibitors, almost 90 of them new to our show, covering some 67,186 square feet of space. Bring comfortable shoes. If you want to skip the opening crush, come by our UCaaS Thunderdome, where execs from 8×8, Fuze, Ingram Micro and Mitel will fight it out under the tough questioning of TBI’s Bryan Reynolds and his band of Inquisitors. Inside the hall, our own Coffee with Craig & Kevin podcast team will launch a packed Channel Partners Studio lineup. The snacks and drinks are brought to you by AT&T.
One noteworthy addition to #CPExpo 2019 is our first-ever Excellence in Digital Services & Channel Influencer Networking Awards Reception, aka the Digi Awards, after our Coffee with Craig & Kevin mascot, DigiBot. Bottom line, the CP360 Business Value award program was showing its age. So for 2019 we revamped the way we recognize our most innovative partner attendees. Here’s the 411 on the overall program. The full edit team will be on hand in a transformed keynote room, presenting 12 trophies to top partners and recognizing some of the 2019 Channel Influencers who are joining us at the event, including McAfee channel chief Ken McCray and 2019 Influencer of the Year Janet Schijns. It’ll all be over in 30 minutes, 40 tops, then the DJ kicks in and it’s a party with drinks, food and dancing. The event is open to …
… anyone with a Conference & Expo or All Access pass.
My advice: Be there at 6:30 sharp when the DJ kicks us off to see who’ll take home our Digi Master trophy.
Thursday: Home Stretch
Don’t stay out too late on Wednesday, because our Thursday morning keynotes are hosted by resident millennial James and our own content marketing director Maggie Miller.
If you want a chance show up on our site, keep a lookout for Maggie, who you’ll see around the show doing video interviews.
Thursday’s breakfast block, with bacon provided by 8×8, features Lynn back on stage hosting our annual Masters & Disties keynote panel. We’ve expanded this session to 35 minutes; you’ll hear from Avant, Scansource, TBI, Telarus, Pax8 and, for the first time on this panel, PlanetOne. Have your app ready to take a live poll.
Our lunch block, hosted by Lynn and Craig and sponsored by Verizon, may or may not feature enchiladas, but I can promise some spicy insights on how to be more profitable from Tim Conkle, CEO of The 20 and a top voice on succeeding in the MSP business model. Attendees also won’t want to miss Michelle Bailey, research fellow and group VP & GM at IDC. Michelle’s insights on what the new IT buyer wants will help guide you as you navigate the sea of solution providers on our expo floor.
We have six conference sessions to choose from on Thursday morning, including a special Cloud & Colo track presented with Data Center Knowledge. That track will be chaired by my colleague Yev and feature data center expert Kirk Killian, president of Partners National Mission Critical Facilities, and Mor Cohen, CTO of Turbonomics.
Where will the rest of us be?
You can catch T.C. Doyle with a stellar lineup of Channel Futures Think Tank members and CEOs over in South Seas C. Meanwhile, Lynn, Craig, Maggie and I will be down the hall in South Seas I hosting a session we’re calling “An Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Video & Interview Ninja.” I’m definitely the weak link in this lineup: Lynn is one of the best interviewers in the tech media business, while Craig and Maggie have TV news broadcasting cred. If you want tips on how to engage with local media to boost your brand, or just think journalists are out to get you, this session is a must. Again, you’ll need a Conference & Expo or All Access pass.
While we love our partner attendees, we also have some new programs at this show to benefit our sponsors. First is morning meeting hours on the expo floor, from 8 a.m. to about 1 p.m., by appointment. We understand that exhibitors want to cram in as many meetings as humanly possible. To that end, they can now invite partners to their booths during off hours.
We also added a trio of sessions comprising what we call “Channel Partners Studio Unplugged: Tips to Supercharge Your Channel Strategy.” Speakers Theresa Caragol of Achieve Unite, Tina Gravel of Cyxtera and Janet Schijns of JS Group will be on our Channel Partners Studio stage on Thursday morning from 10:30 to 11:35 sharing advice on finding the right partners, building a sticky channel program to keep those partners and empowering them to sell more. These sessions are open to …
… anyone with an Exhibitor, Sponsor or Supplier badge.
Tired yet? I hope not, because our expo floor opens up at 2 p.m. with a pub crawl courtesy of Avaya, Broadvoice, MetTel, Ooma and VTech/Snom Americas, along with a full lineup in the Channel Partners Studio. The editors will be out in force selecting our Best in Show winners, with help from attendees, who can vote through the new mobile app.
We’ll close out Thursday with an expanded lineup of parties and giveaways; here’s a full rundown of where to win and network after hours.
Finally, I do encourage you to hit the expo hall when we open on Friday at 10 a.m. There’s no better time to walk the floor, collect some tchotchkes and business cards, grab a bite courtesy of AT&T and maybe see the editors thanking our exhibitors for their support.
I hope to see you in Las Vegas. Please grab me or anyone with a white HOST badge, let us know what you think of our lineup and improvements, and what we could do to make our 2020 show even better.
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