Happy Anniversary, CRN

Michael Jackson had just released his “Thriller” album, “E.T.: The Extra- Terrestrial” was playing at the movies, the average cost of a home was $82,000 and gas was 91 cents a gallon. It was 1982. Time Magazine declared computers its “Man of the Year,” and CRN published its first issue under the name Computer Retail News.

For 30 years, CRN has been chronicling the events in technology and providing analysis as to why it is important to those selling systems to customers. In the early days, it was computer retail stores, such as ComputerLand and Businessland, armed with medallions selling PCs and microcomputers. Today it is about managed service providers and cloud providers selling access to applications and infrastructure.

If you look back on the past 30 years -- or just glance at this month’s cover -- the impact of technology and the pace of change it has brought about are really quite astounding.

The 1980s brought us the PC and the first Macs. During that decade other start-up companies built upon those advances and gave us sophisticated applications, databases and LANs.

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In the 1990s, the Web was opened up for commercial use. E-mail exploded, browsers were developed and computer services around these technologies soared.

As we approached the millennium, Y2K took center stage followed by advances in mobility, storage and security.

And now the 2010s are bringing social media to the forefront, and technology has moved from a nice-to-have to a critical part of any company’s business and everyone’s personal life.

In the pages of CRN this month we will look back a bit on the industry, and on CRN.com we will reflect on the changes and advancements of technology as well as take you on a trip down memory lane, where we will profile the companies, the different personalities and the milestone industry events.

While it is always fun to reminisce (by the way, one of my editors just informed me that he wasn’t even born yet in 1982), we also must look ahead to ensure the channel continues to grow and thrive. At XChange Solution Provider in Los Angeles earlier this month, CRN honored two groups of people working in the channel.

We brought on stage our “30 Peers With 30 Years” -- those executives who have been in the industry for 30 years -- and “30 In Their 30s” -- the next-generation channel leadership.

The channel trailblazers literally built this industry that we have today. They are truly resilient and understand that the one constant in the channel is change. Familiar faces such as Jeff McKeever, Mike Long and Ed Anderson, among others with 30 years or more in the channel, caught up at our event.

The new generation of channel leaders networked at XChange Solution Provider as well. These executives are passionate about technology and their love for it often began in their formative years, programming or working on laptops as teenagers. They are eager to see where technology takes them.

While technologies and business models change at a blinding pace, one thing remains the same: It is all about the people and relationships forged within the channel. We hope to continue our relationship with you whether it be on the Web, a tablet or some other technology that isn’t in existence yet. So here’s to 30 years of the channel and another 30 more.

BACKTALK: Kelley Damore is VP, Editorial Director for UBM Channel. You can reach her via e-mail at [email protected].