All good things, they say, must come to an end. And to say my time at ARN has been good would be an understatement.
Yes, this is my last issue at the helm of Australian Reseller News. I'm off to San Francisco to work for ARN's sister publication Infoworld, as its West Coast News Editor. It's a transfer I've been looking forward to for a couple of years, the objective being to broaden my horizons and get a taste of life in Silicon Valley.
It will be an interesting journey because last year when I was planning the move, Silicon Valley and San Francisco still carried the aura of IT; a paradise for all.
Now the industry's shine has all but rubbed off with dot-com and vendor sackings, a troubled economy and those famous power failures. Of course, the sun still shines and I imagine the valley is still just as enjoyable to live in, but you probably don't want to hear about that.
My colleague Gerard Norsa is stepping up to the plate as editor, a role he began to master some months ago. And our new monthly title, Channel X, will continue under the sound guidance of editor Tamara Plakalo. It's good to know the ship is in capable hands.
If you don't mind me espousing some paternal pride, I've really enjoyed being part of ARN's recent string of successes. Last year we won the Best Product Information Series at the Australian Business Publishers Bell Awards for the second year running. At the same time, Media Monitoring Service reported that ARN carried more advertising pages than any other publication in Australia, which I see as a testimony to the quality of our editorial staff, sales staff, and vice president and publisher Susan Searle.
Meanwhile, this year is already off to a flying start with our Web portal, ARNnet, being named Best IT Web Site 2001 at the annual IT Writers Awards.
On the news front, I've witnessed some very interesting times - from the demise of distributors like Edge to the furore created by Compaq's direct strategies. And more recently we've seen other vendors pursue direct strategies with the excuse that the Internet is changing the landscape forever.
And in a sense they are right. I would have to say watching the development of the Internet and related technologies has been one of the most interesting trends to chart. I won't delve into the details of those stories, but it's fair to say the result is the IT channel is undergoing a significant shift.
Yes, we are experiencing a sales downturn in some areas at the moment, but I believe it's cyclical. The impression I've received from resellers recently is that, despite Australia's economic jitters, the good times for IT will return. The strong channel companies will always survive, and the business-savvy will find a way to exploit a whole new range of Web-based services.
And that's definitely my opinion when it comes to popular notions about continued channel consolidation. Tough times mean the cruisers can't chew the fat anymore. Consolidation brings opportunity to the big and the niche.
So in leaving, thanks for your continued support and here's to a margin-filled future. Finally, I'd like to pay tribute to all the staff at ARN. Thanks for making my time here so much fun.