This past week, ChannelPro issued it’s 2016 20/20 Visionaries. It’s a time-tested formula bordering on gamification where awardees can add yet another logo to their website. Every industry does this and I appreciate ChannelPro’s on-going effort to highlight the leaders in the SMB channel. In particular, I appreciate its efforts to highlight the new members with an art callout and by featuring the newbies with a photo in print.
In the past, I’ve observed this type of list in both the SMB segment and other industries and pondered what the criteria is for selection. To ChannelPro’s credit, it appears to be a relatively unbiased and independent selection of leaders, not a vendorfest. However I think all of these industry lists suffer from not applying the four-way Rotary ethical test as there are individuals listed who have engaged in situational ethics on the way up. I used to naively think it was unique to our beloved SBS/SMB community but then I got involved in the VC-backed start-up community and it’s even worse LOL!
I can appreciate that these lists are a challenge to compile in that you inevitably leave some great people off the list. And I like how it has divided itself to be 20-visionaries and 20-do’ers. I think the Do-er list (aka “Channel Pros”) is spot on.
So how does this relate to start-over? First this is not a list of newly arrived “start-ups” but rather long-term established players (as it should be). And as I delve deeper into this list, I know about 75% of these 20/20 on a personal level (in fact I know too much about ten of them LOL). But I’d offer nearly each and every one of the 20/20 have had to start-over or reinvent themselves. For example, Jay McBain has gone from a corporate suit box pusher to an entrepreneurial analytical start-up nerd all while siring a couple off-spring along the way. Susan Bradley has remained relevant morphing from the SBS Diva to something of the Security Diva.
When I look at these lists, I always like to ask who’s not on the list. At first blush I didn’t see Vlad, Robin Russ or some of the IAMCP leaders (Steve Hall is one of them who made it). What these exclusions suggest is that (a) it’s hard to make a short list and (b) it’s a bigger community out there than we appreciate. More on the fact size matters in a future missive.