What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
Working for Konica in sales, in print specifically. Then I joined Dell in 2005. I was asked to help set up the six-month-old UK print organisation.
What is your favourite joke or the one you heard most recently?
A double ear transplant was an ideal opportunity to test whether pig or dog ears were more effective as replacements. The surgeon attached a dog’s ear to the left side of the patient’s head, and a pig’s ear to his right side. When the patient went back for a check-up, the doctor asked how his hearing had been since the transplants. The man replied: “The left ear is great, I can hear everything. But the right ear, it’s crackling.”
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
Developing the channel printer strategy for the imaging division and moving from direct to channel sales in 2008. Changing the internal processes was a challenge, but we persevered and the channel business continues to go from strength to strength. We are lucky to work with some great partners who understand our vision.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
Skiing in the Dolomites. It’s one of my favourite destinations: you get fantastic skiing, beautiful scenery and the food is great too.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
Definitely draw them up. Taking an overall view, developing a strategic vision from scratch and finally seeing it implemented is incredibly satisfying.
What would you like to have on your epitaph?
He never stopped trying.
Is there a long-term future for IT distribution?
Definitely. We firmly believe that distribution provides reach, market knowledge and value in the supply chain. The channel currently drives most of our imaging sales and we plan to increase our channel business even further.
Your closest near-death experience?
Being an avid cyclist, I’ve had my fair share over the years. Six months ago I was nearly flattened by a car going 30mph, but I managed to swerve and it missed me by about an inch.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
Being prepared to listen and be flexible, and willing to work together for mutual benefit. It’s not about the quick fix, but investing in the relationship.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education?
A mixture of both is best. You have to understand what you’re doing and the theory behind it, but it should always be coupled with practical experience.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
Believe it or not, I would have really loved to have been a painter. I enjoy painting landscapes, portraits and everything in between. Contemporary pieces are my favourite, but don’t ask me to choose my all-time favourites as there are too many.
Dave McNally is EMEA imaging product marketing director at Dell
CRN's Nima Green caught up with Chris Labrey for a quick Q&A at CRN's recent European Channel Leadership Forum
We caught up with the Atea chief exec at CRN's European Channel Leadership Forum in London
Andy Gillett has been appointed GM for the UK and Ireland
UK is one of two countries to see rollout of vendor's newest subscription service