As I read through the many great blogs about Channel partners and engage in point-counterpoint postings with my partner manager colleagues in Linkedin, I’m struck by a number of recurring tendencies that I’d like to point out and issue a couple of low-level reader bewares.

    Nothing serious, just some things that will help explain how two, or more, self proclaimed and so-called experts can have such differing points of view – when, in fact we usually don’t.

    For us Channel purists who reflexively cringe at the casual unintended abuse of terms like “VAR”, “Distributor”, or one of my recent favorites,“OEM” – yeah, I see you smiling and nodding knowingly out there – these words really do have meaning and fairly strict definitions that can be harmlessly glossed over in general conversation; but, when we get to the point of building a ground up Channel Program we want to be a little more specific.  And, in mixed company we want to be careful not to refer to an established Systems Integrator as a VAR for fear of a full-on stink eye attack and instant loss of Channel credibility.  You can also kiss that promising new partner contract you’ve been chasing bye-bye.

    Now, the irony of the fact that the biggest and most frequent abuse is, in fact, the word “Channel”.  What does that mean, really?  We already lazily say Channel instead of Indirect Channel…and, when I say Channel do you really know what I mean, or do you associate it with your view of a Channel?  Hardware Channel, Telco Channel, Distribution Channel, Software Channel…where do you work and what do YOU do?

    And finally, I come to the point of my post.  When you read blogs, forums and other posting from now on and you see two Channel knowledgeable pros going at it, you can bet good money that one is talking about “their” hardware, or retail experience while the other may be saying “…phooy on that – SPIFFS and MDF never work – NFRs are the way to go!”

    Now you know – words have meaning and so do big letters.

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