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10 Signs You Might Be a Millennial in the Channel

Millennials
Channel Next's Aaron Leveston

Aaron Leveston

By Aaron Leveston, Co-Founder, Channel Next

Does this sound like your reality?

  1. Whenever a question about social media comes up in the office, you are the resident expert, test group and implementation team.
  2. You’ve been told, “I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been alive,” at least twice in your career.
  3. Work-life balance is more important than salary — but only slightly. You still need to pay for your locally sourced, grass-fed tofu.
  4. You’ve asked your employer for time off to support a charity or cause you care about.
  5. You have no clue who Ma Bell is. Seriously, who the hell is Ma Bell?
  6. On more than one occasion, you’ve questioned if the new “Work from home or Starbucks” policy was written just for you. Heads up, it probably was. We are being studied A LOT!
  7. You’ve gone an entire day working from your phone, only to realize you never once turned on your laptop or desktop. Don’t know what a desktop is? Think Oregon Trail.
  8. At least once you’ve gone to use your finger on your laptop only to realize it’s not a touchscreen.
  9. An older co-worker has asked to peruse your Tinder account. When told you don’t have a Tinder account because you’re married, you get some side eye. Are you for real, a millennial?
  10. Last but certainly least, you’ve attended trade show after trade show after trade show after trade show and have started to realize there are others who look like you, think like you and are the future of this business. We have big ideas, if only the baby boomers would retire already.

Welcome to being a millennial, or maybe even a Gen Z, in the channel. We understand that the way we all do business is changing in a lot of ways. The line between supplier and partner is disappearing as pretty much everything IT-related can be sold in an as-a-service model. Meanwhile, our peers who are rising up in the line-of-business org charts at customer firms don’t know the difference between an agent, an MSP and a VAR. They just want good advice and good tech.

How do we navigate all that? By getting together to share ideas and opportunities. A community within the channel community to call our own.

Well, I’m happy to say such a community exists now exists. We’re calling it Channel Next, and we now have a LinkedIn group where you can join the conversation. You’re welcome to share leads, ask for advice or just vent about the challenges of daily life. Channel Partners news editor James Anderson is a co-founder. We have a meetup planned next month at James’ show, Channel Partners Conference & Expo. With 6,000 people there, we figure we can pull together at least a few dozen of us to grab some drinks.

We’re hoping to pull together regional and hyper-local get-togethers, too. Also at the #CPExpo show, we’re working on a series of videos so that next time your friend says, “What’s ‘the channel?” you’ll have a YouTube link.

James and I don’t have it all figured out, including how the group will operate. There are some excellent role models out there, including Women in the Channel. We want to hear your ideas. What I do know is that Channel Next is dedicated to developing and encouraging the next generation of channel leadership, and we need you. Your voice, your opinion, your passion, your drive, we need it all. Will you join us?

Ready to join the movement and shape the future of the channel with Channel Next? Join us on LinkedIn, drop me a line, attend our meetup next month.

Aaron Leveston is a national account manager for RingCentral, having responsibility for recruiting, training and supporting their large multinational partners. He is also co-founder of the Channel Next organization, set up to connect and encourage the next generation of channel leaders. He has been in the channel for more than six years and got started in his channel career selling printers to copier dealers.


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