Channel Watch

RCP: The First 5 Years

Five years ago this month, we launched our first issue of Redmond Channel Partner magazine. The goal then, as it is now, was to be an independent voice of the Microsoft partner community with a mission of driving partner success.

The day-to-day matters have changed since July 2005, but central issues have remained consistent. Our first cover story was about partnering with partners, and that's still a regular focus. One of our definitive cover stories was "Hang on for a Rough Ride" (March 2006) about the Software as a Service transition. Specifics have evolved, but the core issues are the same in this month's cover story.

In April of 2006, we ran a cover story on "Navigating Microsoft." Partners were confused and overwhelmed by Microsoft's size, its hundreds of products and its rich, but multifaceted Partner Program. Now, we're serving readers on the same topic by trying to help them make sense of the changes coming to the new Microsoft Partner Network.

For a publication to endure, it needs a strong vision at the beginning. That came from Henry Allain, our group president, Doug Barney, our vice president of editorial, and Matt Morollo, our vice president of publishing. Those three built a case for a spinoff publication from the IT-focused Redmond magazine compelling enough to persuade higher ups in our parent company to bet on a new print publication at a time when launching new magazines started to become rare. The entire sales and marketing organization pitched in early and has kept up the momentum, especially Associate Publisher Dan LaBianca and Marketing Director Michele Imgrund.

I'd like to take credit for the early issues that won this magazine a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for Best Startup Publication, but the fact is I parachuted in late in 2005 after most of the hard early work was done. Credit there goes to Barney, founding Editor in Chief Paul Desmond, Wendy Gonchar, Lafe Low, Anne Stuart, Brad Zerbel and Alan Tao.

We've done our best to maintain those standards ever since. Creative Director Scott Shultz has made the publication sizzle since the day he joined in early 2006. Current Executive Editor Jeffrey Schwartz brings a depth of reporting and a level of energy to his work that's enriched the publication tremendously. Lee Pender wrote some definitive features in his time on the print staff and continues to write our RCPU e-mail newsletter in his own compelling and witty style.

There are too many other people to name whose hard work is essential to the magazine and to RCPmag.com, but I'll mention a few: Serena Barnes, Katrina Carrasco, Tracy Cook, Paul DeGroot, Michael Domingo, Joshua Gould, Mike Harvath, Charles Johnson, Shane Lee, Marti Longworth, Keith Lubner, Kurt Mackie, Rodrigo Muñoz, Becky Nagel, Chris Paoli (and his predecessor Gladys Rama), Sara Ross, Ken Thoreson, Danna Vedder and Keith Ward.

Finally, I'd like to thank our subscribers for reading, and providing the feedback that keeps us on track.

Five years in, we still believe partnering with Microsoft is a great way to stay at the center of the action -- and the money -- in the IT industry. We'll do our best to keep pressing Microsoft to remember that partners have been key to the company's past glories and remain critical to its future. Let us know how we're doing -- e-mail me at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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