The Channel Futures Podcast No. 13: Pax8’s Ryan Walsh on Leadership, Culture and the Future of Distribution
You’ve read about culture clashes. You’ve heard pundits at business conferences discuss changing workforce demographics. And you may have even experienced some disruption at the office yourself.
For deeper perspective on company culture and other topics, I turn this week to Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer at Pax8 Inc. For those who don’t know, Pax8 is an up-and-coming distribution company that aims to be your “wingman in the cloud.” It’s a clever line for sure.
A lot of things are clever about the Greenwood Village, Colo., company. Take its curated product portfolio, which is heavy on technologies MSPs need—think backup, data recovery and security—and light on the extras that detract from its focus.
For 2018, Pax8 foresees big gains in four cloud technologies, including:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
“While there is hope that artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will be ready to solve our biggest problems and prevent all future data breaches, it’s a journey,” the company noted in a blog published in mid-January. “We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long trek ahead.”
In my interview with Walsh, he echoed some of the same sentiments. As the Harvard MBA and Channel Futures Think Tank member typically does, Walsh took a broad view when asked about the future of tech distribution. Will there be consolidation? Probably, he says. Business model change? That’s another possibility. One thing is for certain, he believes, the days of product pushing are over. Instead of volume sales, smart organizations are focused on higher-level priorities.
“We really believe that assuring a frictionless partner and customer experience is what 2018 will be all about,” says Walsh, pictured above.
Walsh also shares some thoughts on leadership. Leading, he has come to realize, is as much about listening as it is dictating. Whether it comes to understanding cloud economics, entering into adjacent markets, etc., the key is moving swiftly—after, of course, gathering input from front line employees closest to customers and vendor allies.
In a world of changing demographics, shifting priorities and evolving technologies, this is not always easy. Which is why Walsh and Pax8 as a whole spends a lot of time on company culture.
Walsh, for one, has had it with studying Millennial workers as though they were zoo animals. A hybrid culture that gets the most from older workers with ideas to share and younger workers with aspirations and energy aplenty is likely the one to prevail in these changing times.
One thing to note: while the audio at Walsh’s end isn’t the best in this podcast, the insights certainly are.
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