Barrie Desmond

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Barrie Desmond

Chief operating officer, Exclusive Group

What is your greatest career move to date?

Getting into the channel, which is where I think the character and heart of this fast-moving industry lies. At the end of the day every business comes down to the people, and working in the channel is no different - if anything it's more people driven.

What is top of your bucket list?

Getting a million hits on YouTube. I am a frustrated closet actor and I think YouTube is a good vehicle to give everyone a chance for their 15 minutes of fame.

What has changed most since you started working in the channel?

While I'm used to selling and pitching new disruptive technologies, I've noticed the speed of go-to-market has increased tenfold in recent years. There's a plethora of startups out there, most of which are well backed and financed, so it's harder for the channel to pick the winners... hopefully this is where we come in.

How do you think Brexit is going to affect the channel?

After a stumble in big infrastructure projects, I think the inflating currency pressure, particularly against the dollar, will drive more innovation. It may be an unpopular opinion but overall I see great potential in post-Brexit Britain - although I still wish we'd not voted to leave.

What is your least favourite task during the working day?

It may sound cliché but I honestly don't view what I do as a job. However, if I had to pick something it'd be the 3am wake ups and plane journeys, and our global footprint means a lot of these, including long hauls to Asia and New Zealand. Trust me, jet lag recovery gets harder the older you get.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A springer spaniel. Energetic, unpredictable and, once they get on a scent, extremely focused and determined. Best of all, they're always happy and attentive. A bit lame, but there it is.

If you won the big one on EuroMillions, what would you do?

Take it all out in cash and film myself giving it all away. Perhaps that'd get me my million YouTube hits.

What is your worst habit?

Smoking, but I love it. How has 2016 been for you? My kids are both happy and settled in their careers, which is great to see, and the business hit the billion euro mark. Not a bad year if you ask me.

If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would be your dream career?

My other ambition - which I think I was pretty good at - is acting, and in a lot of ways I act every day, which is perhaps why I've enjoyed myself so much! I see my job as a supporting role in the massive production that is Exclusive Group.

What major issues will the channel face in 2017?

Forget loyalty. I think every VAR has to consider how relevant they are to their customers, because there's no such thing as loyalty any more; it's a new world out there and as a channel we need to start walking the walk.

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