Thursday, June 30, 2016

Jay McBain Driving a Ferrari in Albany - June 2016

My wonderful wife, Michelle, purchased a very cool birthday present for my 44th birthday on June 24, 2016.

From she surprised me with 3 laps of either a Ferarri 430 or a Lamborghini!

I chose the Ferrari because it was the better car - and because of my life dream to own a Ferrari - more on that story here.

So here it is - 2 videos - showing the action from all angles including inside the car, dashcam and from afar. All in all, it was a really cool way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Albany, NY.



Highly recommend these guys:


Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Bayliner Chronicles - Cruising thousands of miles across the Northeastern United States

Michelle and I traded in a 40 foot Carver over the winter of 2014/15 and purchased a 2008 Bayliner 245 Ciera so that we could explore the Northeast United States without breaking the bank on gas and repairs.

More backstory on our nautical life, including the boats owned prior, can be found here.

After a couple of cold winters in New York, thoughts quickly changed to trip planning. With a trailerable boat, the world was now our oyster - so to speak.

Here are some of the journey's thus far...

Major Trips:

1. Jersey Shore via Manasquan River

MAY 27-28, 2016

A 206 mile drive south of Albany put us at the Manasquan River Club in Brick, NJ, where we could launch, keep the truck and dock for a few days while we explored the Jersey Shore.

We were able to jump out of the inlet and get a taste of the open Atlantic for awhile, and then jump back inside for a nice 25 mile cruise down the shore to Seaside Heights where we tied up at a Moose Lodge.

A nice walk over to the ocean side beach and then down the Boardwalk to see the home turf of Snooki and friends. On May 29th we trailered the boat to Sesame Place in Langhome, PA.

2. Washington, DC for July 4th Fireworks

JULY 1-5, 2016

The longest drive yet with boat in tow - a 360 mile drive south of Albany will put us at the Franklin Street Boat Ramp in Cambridge, Maryland. 

Fun fact: Jay-Z called Cambridge home before pursuing a music career.

We start the 5 day trip from Cambridge, into Chesapeake Bay down to the Potomac River and then back up to the Nation's Capital. On the way, we will spend the first night at Bayside Marina in Colonial Beach, Virginia making for about 100 miles of cruising.

On July 2, we head up the remaining 76 miles of the Potomac to Washington, DC and stay at the Washington Marina, just steps from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. We hang out to watch the fireworks on July 4th and do some navigating around the DC area (by foot and boat).

On July 5, we make the full 176 mile journey back to Cambridge and then the drive back to Albany.

Day Trips:

1. The Hudson River

2. Saratoga Lake

Major Trips:

1. Hudson River to NYC and then Long Island (and back through Harlem River)

MAY 8-10 & JULY 26-27, 2015

A short 90 mile drive south of Albany put us in Newburgh, New York and the start of a 250 mile nautical journey taking us through Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, East River and the Long Island Sound to Northport.

We had a great dinner at Water's Edge Restaurant spent the night right beside Citi Field, the home of the Mets as well as Northport in Long Island.

In July we headed back on almost the same route to see friends Melissa Kerkau and Myra Jensen and stay 2 nights at the 79th St. Boat Basin.

Great to see family and friends along the way!

2. Thousand Islands and Lake Ontario (and back to Oneida Lake)

MAY 22-24, 2015

A 140 mile drive west of Albany put us in Oneida Lake, New York and the start of a 275 mile journey taking us through the Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence Seaway and then the Thousand Islands.

We had a wonderful time exploring Boldt Castle on Heart Island as well as the little towns along the way. With nights in Oswego and Clayton, it was a beautiful journey through two countries.

3. Boston, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard (and back to New Bedford)

JULY 3-6, 2015

A 200 mile drive southeast of Albany put us in New Bedford, MA, and the start of a 300 mile journey taking us through Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, Boston Harbor, the Atlantic Ocean, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. We were joined by a great crew - my dad Jim McBain and Audrey Jackson.

We had a great time exploring Boston for 2 days including a game at Fenway Park and the July 4th fireworks at anchor!  The weather was cooperating so we took the outer Cape Cod route to Nantucket which worked well except for the last 20 miles of open water where we were battling big waves.

Staying at the Nantucket Boat Basin gave us excellent access to the town and we enjoyed walking up and down each street. It was an expensive night, but worth it because both nights in Boston were free.

The journey between Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard was calm as a small lake and the 28 miles flew right by. We found a nice town dock in Vineyard Haven (Tisbury) that was only $5 per hour and had an excellent beach to cool off.

The final leg back to New Bedford was also clear sailing and a very quick 23 miles.

4. Philadelphia & Baltimore, via the Delaware River, C&D Canal & Chesapeake Bay

SEPTEMBER 4-7, 2015

A 211 mile drive south of Albany puts us in New Jersey's capital city Trenton, and the start of a 300 mile journey taking us through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the C&D Canal, and Baltimore, Maryland.

This was our first trip down the Delaware River. From what I read on the internet, the rocks up north are a concern and the tides can cause some interesting navigation. Not to mention the amount of commercial traffic that takes this route.

It was also our first time in Chesapeake Bay which I know is a boaters dream. Approaching Philly and Baltimore by water was an awesome experience. Baltimore has one of the nicest waterfronts I have ever seen.

When I bought my previous boat, the Carver Mariner, I navigated from south New Jersey up the Atlantic to New York City and then to Montreal and Toronto. This time we were on the inside route!

5. Whitehall, NY to Plattsburgh, NY on Lake Champlain

SEPTEMBER 19-20, 2015

A quick 80 mile drive north of Albany puts us in Whitehall, NY, on the northern end of the Champlain Canal and the gateway to Lake Champlain. Whitehall is steeped in history as during the late 17th century, the area was a staging ground for raids between English and French colonies. I visited once before on the Carver and remember the famous Skene Manor on the hill.

The voyage up Champlain is about 90 miles direct, with a few more miles planned for visiting the Vermont side of the lake.

It is "parent's weekend" at SUNY Plattsburgh where my daughter is attending her freshman year and we will spend one night at the Boat Basin.

Day Trips:

1. The Great Sacandaga Lake


A quick 52 mile drive west of Albany put us on the southeastern side of Great Sacandaga Lake.  The first thing we found was a sandy island with a bunch of boats beached and having a great time. We joined them and basked in the rays.

We then drove to the farthest point in the northeast part of the lake and then watched the sunset as we cruised back down and explored the built-up western region with numerous marinas. Lucky I had my Navionics running on my iPad as the sunken islands and shoals are not very well marked!

2. Saratoga Lake


A very quick 32 mile drive north of Albany put us on Saratoga Lake.  A favorite spot for locals because of its proximity and clean water, this lake offers a lot of options for kayakers, waterskiers and even small sailboats.

While it is shallow around the shore, the middle is wide open and has little worry about shoals or sunken islands of any kind.

We enjoyed spending time with our friends the Godgarts, who have a beautiful property on the southwest shore.

3. Hudson River


Our home body of water is the Hudson River - dividing Albany, NY and our home in Wynantskill.

We were members of the Albany Yacht Club (excellent group of people - highly recommended!) which is only a few miles down the road. With a trailerable boat, we decided to keep it on the trailer this year - but who knows what the future will bring!

So there it is, how to put a 1,700 miles on a boat in only one summer!

Stay tuned for our next adventures...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Here is why the traditional IT & Telecom channel is shrinking at an alarming rate - and what to do about it

We have hit a tipping point in the IT and telecom channel.

For years we have debated the impact of new technologies such as the cloud, mobility, and now IoT (Internet of Things). In addition, we looked at partner transformations and the evolving business models that were showing signs of success (such as managed services).

So much focus was put into these things that we lost sight of the end customer. Specifically, how the end customer makes technology decisions.

So here it is - 72% of all technology decisions are now being made by line-of-business professionals. Yes, VP's of sales, marketing, operations, finance, HR, manufacturing and other business units are leading the charge and the IT department has been mostly relegated to legacy infrastructure, support and, in many cases, reduced in size and strategic importance.

This is a radical change that almost no one predicted.

To put this number in perspective, it was only 2 years ago that it flipped over to 51%. In fact, Gartner is predicting that it will reach 90% by the year 2020. In a span of only 15 years, we have moved from 90% of technology decisions made by CIOs and IT departments down to only 10%.

Behind this revolution is software. Namely, cloud based SaaS (software as a service) companies that are disrupting every function, in every company across every industry. Companies such as Salesforce, Workday, NetSuite, Marketo, and dozens of other platforms have created new ecosystems that support tens of thousands of software startups and hundreds of thousands of non-traditional technology channel jobs.

Recent data shows that cloud implementations reduce IT resourcing by over 55% - including outsourced services that our channel has lived on since hardware and software licensing margins dried up.

Vendors and partners need to understand that having a vertical focus is today's equivalent of being a generalist. I explained it further in my look into what I called vectors. The new line-of-business (LOB) power centers are creating opportunities in very specific niches across 297 sub-industries, multiple sectors and segments, a plethora of technologies and different geographies.

Traditional IT providers that have verticalized are being beat by firms (or individuals) that focus on the 5 main vectors (LOB, sub-industry, segment, geography and technology). In many cases these aren’t “born in the cloud” companies, but industry or LOB focused consultants, service providers and independent contractors that have been forced into technology as the industries they serve have made that shift.

Real-world data is showing that cloud implementations are being won by ecosystem specialists as opposed to traditional IT and telecom partners. For example, Salesforce has 695 partners world-wide that are driving over $20B in consulting and integration services.

Using data and guidance from CompTIA and CRN, my best estimate is that the channel has shrunk by 36% since the 2008 recession. This is over 100,000 less partner companies in North America and 400,000 less world-wide. For those surviving, it is estimated by major distributors that a majority of their SMB partners are technically insolvent.

Adding to these discouraging numbers is that 40% of surviving partner executives are planning exits (retirement or M&A) in the next 8 years. On the flip side, CompTIA predicted that 75% of the channel will be made up of millennials in the same time period.

Where do we go from here?

Most of us assumed that these millennials would be starting new businesses based on reseller, VAR, managed services, agent/sub-agent or solution provider type business models. We affectionately coined the term "Born in the Cloud".

The problem is, the number of born in the cloud partners being created is drastically lower than the hundreds of thousands being lost. After attending Ingram's massive Cloud event a few months ago, with 1,300 cloud partners, it was clear that these companies were, for the most part, transitioning into this world and not being born into it.

If you are looking to meet and recruit some of these “born in the cloud” partners, your best bet is to skip the over 150 channel centric tradeshows world-wide this year. They simply aren’t in attendance. You will have better luck attending Salesforce Dreamforce, a Marketo event, or specific industry LOB conferences.

While the IT and telecom channel numbers are declining, this new generation of SaaS platform partners are exploding. Before jumping feet-first into this new vector-based, millennial-led world, you will first need to understand how your company and products play with line of business executives:

  • Do your products integrate seamlessly with the major SaaS ecosystems mentioned above? 
  • Are they priced in a per-person, per-month recurring model that can be added to the rest of the stack?
  • Are they packaged in a way that consultants and integration specialists can profit?
  • Does your channel program have finders fees and technology integrations as an option? These new millennial vector specialists don't tend to resell product in the traditional sense.
The current cloud opportunity stands at $204B according to Gartner, growing by double digits for at least the next decade. Almost inexplicably, 67% of current channel firms are reporting that cloud demand has outstripped their capacity, whether that is technical capability or bandwidth, while a new generation of non-traditional partners are growing and profiting in this new world.

Here is a profile of one of these firms - Bluewolf. They were founded sixteen years ago, specialize in all things Salesforce, quickly grew to over 600 consultants and just sold to IBM for over $200M. They are not the largest Salesforce partner either - in fact, they barely crack the top 10. There are 694 other potential Bluewolfs in Salesforce' ecosystems alone. Now multiply that by dozens of other line-of-business specialized platforms and you start to get the idea of where the new value channels are being created.

Ready to dive in? Check out how to execute a Go To Market plan for these new markets and use Dandelions & Blowfish marketing tactics to achieve quick success.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Response to Orlando Mass Shooting

We all want to frame this tragedy in our own worldview - and then spend the next few weeks talking about political will, mental health, gun control, religion, better parenting and other useless rhetoric that won't stop the next mass shooting.

What if we talk about preventive technology instead? Unfortunately safety is going to mean giving up your personal freedoms when entering a public place - but that is the cost. No idea is too wild - airport style metal detectors on every public door? Personal digital location trackers? Approved, non-lethal stun guns for all? Body scanners as prevalent as street lights? Knockout gas dispensers with fire alarm type pull downs? 

I am not sure the right angle, but I do know that I am sick to my stomach.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Excited to be the opening keynote at Channel Visionaries 2016

Excited to be the opening keynote for the Channel Visionaries event in Santa Clara on June 2, 2016.


Channel Visionaries is the fasting growing community of senior technology channel executives looking to network at a dotted line and share best practices. Our community members gain a competitive advantage by collectively revolutionizing their channel ecosystems in order to adapt to a new era of radical channel transformation. 

In today’s business environment, companies are more dependent than ever on partners as their extended sales and support teams. Winning with partners is key to winning with customers, and this raises the stakes for effective channel management.

Join us at our world class series of content driven conferences spanning the globe from the Silicon Valley to Singapore. Leverage our online community portal between events to keep the conversation and collaboration flowing. If you're a channel leader, Channel Visionaries will give you the tools you need to elevate your personal brand and to keep on top of the latest industry trends so that you can be much more effective as a channel leader.

Channel Chief Conference Series

JUNE 2ND & 3RD, 2016

In today’s business environment, companies are more dependent than ever on partners as their extended sales and support teams. Winning with partners is key to winning with customers, and this raises the stakes for effective channel management. Building and managing a channel ecosystem is critical to improving your company’s efficiency and effectiveness. At this conference, we’ll explore the latest strategies to consider for achieving amazing results in revenue acceleration and maximizing partner performance. It’s not enough to seek operational excellence from your partner efforts. You must seek a competitive advantage. Sadly, many companies are failing to achieve this type of success. By some estimates, as many as 70% of alliances fall short of expectations for both the channel partners and for the companies selling through those channels. But, how can you tell if you are one of these companies? Here are some of the telltale signs that a company’s channel management is under-performing:
  • Poor alignment between how sales, product teams and the partner program define “best” partners
  • Weak performance by significant numbers of top-tier partner
  • Unclear ROI due to a lack of understanding of how partners deliver value
  • Unsuccessful attempts to drive new partner behavior through existing partner relationships
  • Passive execution that reacts to rather than fuels business outcomes
Often, the root cause of a company’s channel management problems is not its people or its positioning, but its approach. Your channel investments should focus on how you will win with partners in a competitive context.
Our agenda has a mix of current Channel Chiefs passionate about channel transformation and leaders of world class suppliers to the channel industry that consistently help channel organizations gain a competitive advantage in the Technology industry