Putting a program in place to better address partner requirements is top of mind for McAfee's channel and SMB sales manager, Nigel Youlden. He has experienced both sides of the reseller and vendor coin and spoke to ARN about what irritates him in the IT industry. He also offered his tips on fly fishing.
What was your first job?
My first job was doing the paper round. My first IT job came about when I left university, which I delayed for a year. I came across an opportunity to work for a retailer called Computer Spot. Back then it sold major software titles like Activision. Before that, I never had any intention to work in the IT industry.
What did you study at university?
I went in on the back of a Bachelor of Arts degree to do economics and get into the finance industry. But, for some reason, IT had more allure.
How did you progress to where you are today?
I enjoyed selling and got out of retail because I wanted to explore the opportunity to sell to corporate organisations. An opportunity came up and from there I progressed to a reseller called Corporate Computer Sales. They were only a small organisation but growing. I then moved on to Dimension Data - it was still Com Tech Communications at the time. I've been working in the channel for different resellers and systems integrators for the last 10 years, and I've really enjoyed it. After Dimension Data, I joined another company called Corporate Express. They were very successful in the marketplace - it was a great team and I learnt a lot from that organisation. I joined McAfee in January.
What do you like about your current job?
There is a lot of market opportunity. Security is exciting, it's growing and developing. McAfee is a good, young team and we have quality products to take to the market. We're 100 per cent channel focused, so we don't have issues of channel confl ict and we've got good partners, which makes the job a lot better.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
At this point in time, it is the experience I have taken away from the organizations I have worked with. A lot of them were quite varied and all have given me something different - some at a financial level in terms of running a division or sales teams, and others, selling to customers.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
Its inconsistency and organisations or people not doing what they say they will do. Coming from the channel you want continuity of message and support.
What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?
From a security perspective I think data loss prevention and the way in which organisations have to deal with endpoint security solutions. People want to ensure they protect themselves against losing vital data. Centralised management and integration is also going to be front of mind with a lot of organisations. In general, it will be interesting to see how Google and Microsoft go in delivering software-as-a-service.
What is the main focus for McAfee this year?
From a channel perspective, it is to look at our strategy and ensure we are listening to partners and responding to what they need. We want to make sure we are developing programs that address partners, not only at the enterprise level but also at the SMB end of the market. We are looking to put programs in place that look at the way channel partners go to market and put more resources around our distribution and channel team. We want to assist partners with free training and joint marketing opportunities.
What do you do when you are not at work?
I work out ways I can spend more time with the family. I've got two kids, so most of my time is spent trying to be with them as much as I can. On the odd occasion I do some fly fishing.
Fly fishing is a technical sport, how did you develop your skills for it?
Well with normal fishing, you have the hook and weight, whereas the fly line is basically the weight. A coiled up fly line weighs about 30g and the rod is made in a certain way. It is not about how hard or fast you can throw something, it's all about rhythm. Fly fishing and golf both take up a lot of concentration and you have got to have co-ordination and timing.
Do you like gadgets?
I don't really consider myself a real gadget guy, and it would be fair to say I am always two or three phone models behind. I think that, at about the time you have kids, you can't find any of the manuals you used to own because you never previously needed a manual when you used gadgets. Now I can't use gadgets anymore and my son is not old enough yet to work them for me.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I always wanted to work in the pit in the stock exchange. I don't know why it appealed to me; I think it was the buzz of the market. I always had this view that it would be cool to work in the stock market because I liked all the paper throwing, drinking beer and partying afterwards.
What is your biggest ambition?
It's to see my kids grow up, provide them with a stable future, be happy and have a good family life. From a McAfee point of view I would like to see us really nail the next 12 months and execute our strategy. From a personal perspective I would like to get some time off to travel with my wife.