What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was selling postage meters and copiers. Then when I was at Ikon, we started buying IT companies, and the rest is well-documented history.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
It would have to be planes because I live on them.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever experienced?
Any trip to the UK becomes one of the year's best. It's a gold mine for managed services, and we have a growing community of successful business partners in the UK.
We always start our visit in a boardroom of sorts, but usually end up in a local pub discussing business over a pint - or pints. That's where the real business gets done, and where many friendships begin.
If you had to choose just one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
Without a doubt, rugby. I played for 18 years. I am a fanatic. It's simply the best damn game ever played, period.
Are you going to the next CRN Channel Awards?
I never get invited. Are you inviting me? I'll go if you're inviting me (Ed: Entrance isn't by invitation but by ticket, unfortunately).
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
Deciding whether or not it was time to sell and start a new chapter with a parent company. We did due diligence and made certain we had a common culture, a shared respect for the channel and a mutual vision of success before we became N-able by SolarWinds.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
This one is near and dear to my heart. For vendors, if you say you'll never sell direct, then you never ever sell direct. It's not selective; it's one way or the other, you're either selling direct or you're not. You also have to provide more than just great technology. You have to provide the methodology and resources to go with it. We go above and beyond to remove the barriers so that our partners are equipped to market, sell and support managed services and be that flexible and trusted technology services provider to businesses worldwide.
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
Nothing much, simply because I still do the things I enjoyed back then.
What are you reading?
The Wolf of Wall Street because it's a great sales training book.
How far ahead should you plan for your future?
I am a pretty big planner, actually. We normally plan three years ahead. Planning keeps you and your team focused and accountable. You need a plan for business so the entire team shares a vision and has common goals.
What was the last film you saw and what did you think of it?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It's a movie with a great message and it was all filmed in Iceland. I really liked it. I'm a big fan of Iceland.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education (such as at a university)?
I am not technical so I am the wrong person to ask about that, but what I can add to the conversation is this: we don't hire IT salespeople. We hire smart people who are solutions-minded and enjoy working with other people.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down?
I never feel down. Life is good. You have to enjoy every minute.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
This is it. I was born to sell.
Mike Cullen is vice president of worldwide sales and business strategy at N-able
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