Those who can, do — those who can't, make a lot of noise and very little else.

Lorna Garey

February 8, 2018

3 Min Read
Rocket guy_gumption


Lorna Garey

We’re less than two-and-a-half months away from kicking off our 21st Channel Partners Conference & Expo. We’re happy to be back at the Venetian along with 6,000 members of an undeniably dynamic industry, and even happier about the all-star speakers we have lined up. You’ll get better acquainted with one of them, Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster, in our print issue. She’ll take the keynote stage on Thursday, April 19. Her theme: Be bold — in building on your business strengths, defining your unique value proposition and connecting with the larger channel ecosystem.

It’s great advice, because good old-fashioned moxie is at a premium today. There’s plenty of bluster, grousing, finger-pointing and grandstanding. That’s not boldness, it’s noise.

The top stories of 2017 on Channel Futures and Channel Partners offer up some examples of gumption in the face of regulators, the channel world order and “damn the torpedoes” scale M&A.

Bold: AT&T sticking to its guns on Time Warner. AT&T and Time Warner will see the DOJ in court, probably mid-2018, over their blocked $85 billion vertical merger deal. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson signaled an unwillingness to peel off pieces of Time Warner, saying that, “Any agreement that results in us forfeiting control of CNN is a non-starter.” Why should the channel care? Because let’s face it, AT&T, like all telcos (and IT vendors) that want to survive, is in fact a digital service provider, and it needs content to have a place in the business of what goes on the Internet, not just how it all travels.

Bold: VMware buying VeloCloud, but not for the reason you think. As Avant CEO Ian Kieninger told my colleague T.C. Doyle, the buy could upend the economics of the channel as we know it by enabling VMware to create a virtual orchestration tool that can manage a variety of different infrastructures and networks, and – importantly – is simple enough to be used by almost any IT administrator. When it comes to channel practitioners, there is less need and reward for those who focus on infrastructure building blocks. If you’re among those who turn up your nose at consultants and agents that “just pass paper,” VMware just issued a wake-up call.

Bold: CenturyLink acquiring Level 3. When CenturyLink completed its $34 billion Level 3 buy, on Nov. 1, it became the second largest connectivity provider, leapfrogging Verizon to land just behind AT&T. That kind of increase in scale doesn’t come without some bumps, but the bottom line is that …

… its network now connects more than 350 metro areas with more than 100,000 fiber-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 in EMEA and Latin America.

Not bold: Ending Net neutrality. We get it, Ajit Pai wants to be cool, with his giant Reese’s mug and Star Wars references. All he ended up doing was attracting fire from, among many other, much cooler individuals, Mark Hamill. ‘A Jedi You Are Not,’ indeed.

You can see AT&T and CenturyLink as well as Avant’s Kieninger, Forrester principal analyst Jay McBain and plenty of others who personify “bold” on our keynote stage and in our conference sessions. Until then, let me leave you with some Goethe, via Faust.

Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it …

In our Channel Influencers issue and in Las Vegas we’re out to celebrate those who bring the genius, power and magic. Join us.

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