My Afternoon With Michael Dell

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Bob Venero, the CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a Holbrook, N.Y. solution provider recently honored with a regional growth award from close partner Hewlett Packard, broke bread Wednesday with a long-time channel antagonist: Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell.

Dell's visit to Future Tech was in keeping with his strategy of winning support of solution providers skeptical that the company's run for the channel roses is for real. After a two-hour-session with Dell himself, Venero says the Dell channel assault is more than empty rhetoric.

"We definitely were leery," said Venero, who sent Dell an email with an offer to meet the legendary entrepreneur face to face and was excited to get a response. "I wanted to hear from Michael their direction and commitment. And we have seen it and heard it. From one entrepreneur to another we will go and do business together."

"I believe he (Michael Dell) is committed to the channel and that he is committed to growing the channel business," said Venero.

Venero said the Dell visit lasted from about 1:45 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. and included a tour of Future Tech's 65,000-square-foot-facility. "He walked through the lunch room and said hello to a couple of folks," said Venero. Dell didn't stop for lunch, but did have some fruit, said Venero.

"He (Dell) is a legendary entrepreneur running a $62 billion company who responded to an email from an entrepreneur of a $100 million company. That shows a certain amount of respect."

Venero was a reseller of both Equallogic and Everdream before Dell bought the two channel exclusive vendors. Now both those Dell divisions are going to market with Dell's direct sales reps in addition to channel partners. That doesn't bother Venero. He says that is no different than HP or IBM.

"There are going to be opportunities where we are going to be aligned with Dell and there are going to be opportunities where it doesn't make sense for either company (to partner)," said Venero. "We have those same decisions with HP and with IBM. Because at the end of the day, there are opportunities where we compete with the HP and IBM direct models."


NEXT: Comparing Dell And HP CEO Mark Hurd

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