Making things happen

There are two types of people . . . those who divide people into two types and those who don't. There are two other types of people . . . those who let things happen to them and those who make things happen.

There's nothing new in revealing that this industry is changing. For years people have been predicting the immediate demise of storefront computer dealers, of desktop PC manufacturers, of Internet service providers, of OS/2, of the Macintosh.

When you see radical changes happening in the way you make your living, you either do something about it or it'll do something (probably unpleasant) to you. There is a third alternative, of course . . . anticipate the change, then get in and do something before all your competitors do.

On the day Tech Pacific bought Merisel, how did you react to the news? Was it one more thing happening to you? This was something that had an effect on three groups (leaving aside the people who sadly lost their jobs). It affected those resellers who either bought from Merisel, or at least used Merisel as a point of price comparison for what they bought elsewhere. It affected vendors who now either had one less distributor for their products, or perhaps had to decide if they wanted their products to automatically flow to TechPac.

The third group affected was the distributors, and to a certain extent, those vendors who distribute their own products. We spoke to many distributors in the following days, and while many said they'd "wait and see what happened" few seemed to be making decisive moves.

Quick results

But there was one decisive move that impressed us. By lunchtime on that Friday, Rodney Orrock of distributor Marketing Results had issued an urgent press release entitled "Plans for immediate expansion". Orrock announced that he was immediately embarking on an aggressive plan to increase the range of software he distributed, following the disappearance of Merisel. He used language such as: "The Australian reseller market needs more than one distributor." "The American model of pack-and-drop doesn't work in Australia." "For a distributor to succeed it needs to offer more than just a low price." "We're in a strong position to take advantage of this market opportunity." Full marks to Rodney Orrock for his initiative.

So, next time you're having a few drinks on Friday arvo, why not play a little "what if" and discuss what you'd do if your main income earner disappeared over the weekend.