Rick Yates

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Rick Yates

Managing director, Zedsphere

What was your dream career as a child?

My ambition was always to be a pilot. I was obsessed with planes. I used to be able to see a plane in the sky and tell my friends what make and model it was based on the shape of its wings and the contrail.

What has been your personal highlight of 2019?

There has been a couple. Winning the CompTIA Innovate Distributor of the Year Award was a big deal for us as a distributor that is less than four years old.

Personally, the RV trip around the western US was amazing.

Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?

Jeremy Corbyn, because I think he has needlessly alienated a huge demographic and been completely useless as an opposition leader in a time of huge political unrest.

What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?

I have first editions of all six of Winston Churchill's volumes on his experience of the Second World War. I feel that they have important historical significance. Apart from that, if I have my passport and my iPhone, I'm happy.

Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?

More demand has been placed on elastic consumption style billing for software products. Vendors are increasingly approaching us to help them make the transition into the IT services market.

What TV show have you binge watched this year?

We did Game of Thrones from season one, episode one for the first time. It was enjoyable but I'm off box sets for the foreseeable future.

How has 2019 been from a business perspective?

Encouraging. We realigned our vendor relationships to ensure they were serving us and our partners in the right way. We introduced very specific criteria for vendor recruitment and we now have a waiting list for vendors who want to onboard with us. We have rejected more vendors than we have recruited.

What annoys you most about your commute?

My commute is awesome. I live five miles from the office and drive through the countryside to get to work.

If you could witness one past event, what would it be?

I would follow Winston Churchill around for the years of 1940/41. Our country was totally alone and under the threat of imminent invasion. The plans he implemented completely transformed the ability of our nation to fight back after years of appeasement. It would be a lesson in taking ultimate responsibility and the power of an optimistic attitude under times of extreme stress.

How do you explain the channel to people?

Being in the channel is like being in the SAS. You don't talk about it to people on the outside. They don't really know what you do, but they know you mean business, and that's fine.

What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?

My favourite was the Fontainebleau Hotel in South Beach, Miami. I can honestly say I've never been to a disappointing partner conference location.

What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?

Vendors will continue to seek value from the channel and will strive to take services in-house and sell direct if they don't get it. The channel needs to ensure it can maintain healthy self-sustained lead creation and carry its own weight when it comes to cradle-to-grave sales delivery.

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