Marshal channel manager, Oscar Marquez, got a taste for technology in Europe and the US before settling back in Australia and into security. He spoke to ARN about channel cowboys, data leakage and the Apple iPhone.
What was your first job?
I started at Novell nearly 19 years ago as a systems engineer cadet, working in a pre-sales type of environment within the channel. I did university by correspondence, which is probably the worst way to live your life. I was in Spain as I wanted to study overseas, but little did I know I would work and never physically go to university.
How did you progress to where you are today?
I worked for large organisations such as Novell and Siemens in Europe, as well as in very large Microsoft reseller environments. I've been with six vendors, from every walk of life, but have always focused on channel. I've never really had a direct sales role.
What did you study at uni?
Computer science. I've done business courses since then, but I think people in our industry need to understand the product sets. Those that don't have any technical experience do well in larger organizations but struggle in smaller, 8-10 people environments because they can't step up and go to the next level.
What do you like about your current job?
I work with a great bunch of people - I have some very senior people around me and I have some very junior people - and we have a mentoring scenario. The other thing I like is the opportunity - Marshal's growth rate is astronomical compared to our competitors at the moment, and when you see an opportunity like that, you want to be part of it.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
When I lived in the US, I worked for a company called NetIQ. I was part of the team that sold Microsoft Operations Manager to Microsoft, which was a $300 million deal over three years. I also had a start-up in the US which went from nothing to 120 people in 18 months, and had 150 channel partners around the world.
Where have you lived around the world?
I've lived in the US, Spain, Belgium, and Australia, of course. It's another world over there; the opportunity levels are completely different to what you get here. Australia's a great country with a great lifestyle, but there's a lack of opportunity. If we had 80 million people in Australia, you'd have all these fantastic venture capital environments that would allow you to go out there and start some really funky new companies.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
From a channel perspective, there are cowboys out there. In Australia, you'll also have vendors who literally push four channel partners onto one customer, which affects every other vendor and hasn't helped the industry. If there's only one channel partner working on that customer you'll build respect.
What will be the next big thing in the industry?
The next big thing in security is data leakage and how you track what's really been moving around. I think in the next nine months we're going to see a lot of players consolidate, and see a lot of scenarios around data leakage within a solution. From there we'll progress to how to audit data leakage trails around VoIP, video conferencing and IM. It's not just about how to send an email, it's about how to track that email as well.
What is the main focus for your company for the next year?
The data leakage scenario is a huge focus for us over the next 12 months and an area we are strong in.
What do you do when you're not at work?
I have two children. My son plays guitar and my daughter is a flamenco dancer so I spend a lot of time being the bus driver on weekends. I'm very family-orientated and have a large extended family, so it's all about socialising.
Do you like gadgets?
I'm probably the biggest gadget freak in the world. I go through phones every three or four months. I just bought the iPhone, and my house looks like a server room. Aside from doing channel sales I got into this industry because I like innovation. The day I can't be part of a company that's innovating something will be the day I retire.
What's your iPhone verdict?
I love it. It is the most interactive, intuitive product I have ever bought. In my last role I went to Apple in the US and had a quick look at it before it was released, so I've been waiting for it for a long time. I think once Australia gets out of the stone age and a carrier picks it up, the iPhone will be huge.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a rock star, but then realized I couldn't sing. My parents were both very successful business people, so all my life I felt I was going to be a business person.
What is your biggest ambition?
I'll probably start another company in the future. I'm lucky that I have a huge network of friends, so if I decide ever to do another company I've got the network, plus the technology side.
Getting a global perspective Company Snapshot
• Marshal was founded in 1997 in New Zealand.
• The business was acquired by American company, NetIQ, in 2002, before its executive management team led a successful buyout in 2005.
• Marshal's products cover Web filtering, email security, endpoint security and reporting.