What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job as a student was at a major car parts distributor, getting stock from warehouse shelves for orders placed by the trade.
The system was so backwards that it employed six people to do what one could with a decent programme. That stimulated an interest for me in what IT could do for business and I subsequently got a degree in computer science.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Ideally, trains. You don’t have the stress of rushing to an airport, going through security, or being stuck in traffic. Instead, it gives you the freedom to think and work. It’s a shame it’s so expensive, unless you manage to book your ticket months in advance.
In my dreams...
Sheffield United will win the Champions League and my golf handicap will be in the single figures.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever been on?
To the Sphinx Level V Trail in the Amazon, taking a bunch of reseller principals to Rio de Janeiro, then into the Brazilian rainforest for piranha fishing, alligator hunting and a night in a tree house.
Oranges or bananas?
Bananas. They’re easier to eat and they have no pips with which to contend.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
It’s booked! I am going to Australia and Fiji with my wife for our 25th wedding anniversary. Some of the locations don’t have wireless or mobile signals - what a shame!
If someone shrank you to the size of a pencil and put you in a blender, how would you get out?
Where did you get that hat?
I don’t wear one, I get awful hat hair!
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
I think I’d rather carry them out. At least that way, they’d be implemented in the way that I wanted them to be.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2013?
The adoption of 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) and 16Gb Fibre Channel (16GFC), because higher densities of server virtualisation demand increased network bandwidth.
Is there a long-term future for IT distribution?
Of course there is. For the past 30 years, the next big wave has been the death of the distributor. The channel is still going strong, although it has evolved -- mainly for the better.
What has been your closest near-death experience?
Hang gliding in Brazil on the junket previously described. The instructor told me to run over the cliff. His parting words to me were: “If you stop, we die.”
Alternatively, being a passenger when my UK channel manager is driving.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
The answer is in the question, in the key word “partner”. The best distributors, resellers and integrators all choose who to partner, depending on whether they have the same goals and aspirations when it comes to revenue and margins.
It cannot ever involve an “us and them” mentality.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
The perfect boss leaves you to get on with your job, but is always available for advice. Micro-management stifles creativity, but it is important to have someone you can bounce ideas off, and ensure you are moving in the right direction.
What would be your next choice of career?
A golf professional, so I would get to play on the best courses and see the world.
Craig Skelton is channel sales director at Emulex
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