This is my last column for Australian Reseller News. It was almost eight years ago when IDG's MD Don Kennedy asked me to call in for a chat. Six years earlier I'd worked for IDG as editor of Australian PC World and following that I'd spent a few enjoyable years as a freelance journalist. Don Kennedy had an interesting idea. IDG France had a young publication called Distributique, and he thought the idea would work in Australia.
Yes, the idea was to publish a monthly magazine for just the IT distribution channel in Australia, something no one had tried because no one had ever thought such a thing was necessary. I suppose the idea was that if you were a reseller or a vendor, you already knew enough to run your business, and what you didn't know you'd find out by hard experience, and certainly no upstart magazine could teach you anything.
To cut a long story short, we learnt by experience, and slowly developed a style of story and reporting that provided the channel with the news and information it couldn't get anywhere else. Even the gossip channels have now grown so that they work best through the publication. The monthly magazine became a fortnightly newspaper, then a weekly, and now also published daily or even more frequently, as an e-mailed news service.
Last year Phil Sim took on the role of editor of ARN and brought a new level of hard-hitting news reporting and specialist sections to the paper. Cameron Tomes edits the sister ARN Integrator magazine, and I don't think I'm letting too much out of the bag to let you know that a retail channel publication is coming soon. We've seen a little monthly magazine grow into a spread of fine publications and services, and now special events like last week's ChannelWorld conference.
In leaving ARN, I want to thank everyone I've been associated with in its history. To all the fine journalists and production people, the advertising people and to you, the readers. In particular, I'd like to mention two people. Our publisher Susan Searle has always championed the channel, and more than anyone she has caused vendors and distributors to realise how important it is to target their message to you, and not just the end user. You only have to look at the quality and quantity of advertising in ARN each week to see that.
The other person I want to particularly thank is the only other person who has been with ARN and its predecessor Reseller Magazine since the start in 1991. Gary Clark is an old-school compositor, from the days when typesetting meant working with hot metal. As far as I can remember, Gary has never missed an issue - he's the one who's responsible for putting the words and pictures on the page. Thanks Gary, thanks Susan, thanks everyone.