The VAR Guy: Identity Revealed? (Not Quite)

Who really is The VAR Guy? New clues emerge. But each time you think you know who done it, the clues change...

The VAR Guy

May 2, 2014

3 Min Read
The VAR Guy: Identity Revealed? (Not Quite)

For several years now, readers have asked: “Who is The VAR Guy?” Today, our resident blogger -– yours truly — is prepared to share some new clues. Be sure to read each clue closely. Because just when you think you know The VAR Guy’s true identity… the clues point somewhere else — again and again. Here’s the update.

7. Two Early Suspects? Amy Katz and Joe Panettieri co-founded The VAR Guy and its parent company, Nine Lives Media, in January 2008. The duo’s mission: Define emerging IT media markets (MSPmentor, Talkin’ Cloud) and disrupt established IT media markets (The VAR Guy).

6. Early Accomplices? As a standalone company, Nine Lives Media only had two full-time employees -– Katz and Panettieri. But they were fortunate to work with a range of contractors -– names like Kim Daniels, Amy Schuler and Traci Verbaarschott, among many others -– to help build and grow the business. Plus, several freelance writers joined the party. Suddenly, The VAR Guy’s identity became difficult to figure out.

5. New Parent, Same Attitude: In August 2011, Penton acquired The VAR Guy and Nine Lives Media. Behind the scenes, Amy Katz and Penton built a business plan to help grow The VAR Guy’s database, readership and revenue. And a half-dozen folks started working on The VAR Guy’s blog in various ways. Identity revealed? Not at all.

4. More VAR Guys -– and Gals?: From 2011 until now, Penton has made ongoing investments in The VAR Guy’s team and business. Penton hired talented full-timers on the content team (Charlene O’Hanlon, Jessica Davis, CJ Arlotta, Michael Cusanelli and Dan Kobialka) and the sales team (Debbie Kane and Kelly Danziger). Plus, Penton backed The VAR Guy with marketing and SEO resources to help build and grow multiple online communities. And The VAR Guy said, “This is good.”

3. Bulking Up: Under Penton’s ownership, web traffic and revenues have enjoyed strong double-digit annual growth. As a privately held company, exact figures remain undisclosed. But The VAR Guy will say with pride: Penton’s channel business –- the former Nine Lives -– has been one of the company’s strongest performers since buying Nine Lives in 2011. The VAR Guy (whomever he or she is) certainly has been enjoying the ride.

2. Far More Than A Blogger: And now, a new chapter is beginning. The VAR Guy is now part of the broader Penton Technology Group, which includes leading brands like Windows IT Pro ( and Paul Thurrott’s Windows SuperSite ( Plus, Penton Technology Group is led by VP/Market Leader Steve Veith -– a veteran of multiple startups at CMP Media and Ziff Davis Media. Veith brings a unique blend of large-media strategy and entrepreneurial spirit to the house. And Penton has a team of experts -– including Megan Keller -– focused on eLearning and face-to-face conferences like IT/Dev Connections 2014.

1. Two Suspects Depart, Dozens Remain: The VAR Guy and his sister brands are now fully staffed with talented sales and content professionals. In fact, it’s impossible to say who exactly The VAR Guy is these days.

With that growth and momentum in mind, The VAR Guy’s co-founders (Amy Katz and Joe Panettieri) have each decided to resign and relax for the summer of 2014. Amy’s last day here is today (May 2). Joe’s final day is May 9. At long last: Proof that neither Katz nor Panettieri were The VAR Guy.

The VAR Guy wishes his co-founders well. But our resident blogger certainly isn’t lonely. Nor is he slowing down. Poke around the site, and you’ll notice a team of bloggers driving our content forward. And keep your eyes open at conferences. If you watch closely enough you may finally -– at long last -– discover the true identity of The VAR Guy… … …

Read more about:

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like