Darren Brodrick

clock • 3 min read

What has been your personal highlight of 2020?

Seeing my daughter graduate and achieve a first-class degree in psychology was special and made my year, especially being the first on our side of the family to go down the uni route; she's way smarter than I am. I also took the wrong route climbing Snowden and ended up climbing across the Crib Gouch ridge, check it out on YouTube - a nervy experience in some places but loved it.

At work, seeing the way our staff adapted to remote working was pleasing.

Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?

I'd invite Tyson Fury who would be a good craic. I read his book earlier in the year, and I've certainly changed my opinion of him. Rita Ora for a little bit of singing and Micky Flanagan to keep us all entertained.

What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?

Not so much guiltiest, but I've been out cycling a lot during lockdown and signed up to my first triathlon. I really got into cycling last year after a sponsored event and have found it a good way to unwind after or even during a hectic day. It's also kept me fit and focused through lockdown.

Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?

Not really one individual but with the year we've all had, you have to admire and respect all business owners and leaders who have stuck by their people during these unprecedented times and continued to invest in their businesses and people. For many it could have been an easy reason to let people go and cut costs.

What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?

That's an easy one, Microsoft Teams is a fantastic piece of software and wins hands down. Like many, I'm someone who had Teams as part of a 365 subscription but was stuck in Outlook. Where would we be if Teams didn't exist and didn't have the collaboration functionality? It really does give you that modern workplace feeling. It's allowed us to stay connected with our teammates, customers and partners. Hats off to Microsoft. FaceTime virtual dinners with friends was also very funny early on in lockdown.

If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?

A member of the Ryder Cup team after winning at Le Golf National in 2018. It would have been a pretty special celebratory week. I was lucky enough to attend the Friday matches at the fantastic golf course. What an experience - made even better by sticking one on the Americans.

Do you miss face-to-face events?

One hundred per cent. The sooner we get back to them the better, I say. The world will certainly be different after COVID but we are a social species and we need that human interaction. The effect for other businesses is also huge for the economy as well;, everyone benefits from events. We've delivered our global sales conference and quarterly customer summits virtually, which have all gone down pretty well but you can't beat seeing people face to face, it would be a pretty sad world if we didn't get back to that.

How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?

I think that depends on how long it takes for the economy to recover but it will certainly change the way we work, with flexible working becoming more of a standard, rather than a benefit. I don't see the IT channel changing per se, OEMs will continue to invest in R&D and build great technology, distribution will continue to help partners bridge the value gaps, resellers will continue to build their unique IP and customers will continue to need our help to digitally transform their business. If the pace of recovery is slow, then unfortunately some just may not be able to survive.

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