Steve Haddock’s new adventures, in IT and on the trails
Microsoft veteran joins EMC and tells tales of endurance in South AfricaBy Vera Alves, Auckland | Tuesday, 22 May 2012
EMC’s new general manager of channel for New Zealand is an IT industry veteran who, prior to joining EMC in early April, he spent 15 years of his life working for Microsoft in three different countries (New Zealand, Singapore and the UK).
These days, his job takes him to a building just across the road from Microsoft and he says that, in spite of not dealing with software any more, many of the principles of his new job are the same as those he applied as SMB and distribution director for Microsoft.
He says he was hired because the company wants to put a much stronger focus on the channel. “EMC brought me in because they have always wanted to work closely with the channel but never really put the muscle behind it. Phill Patton wanted a senior channel manager so they brought me on board,” says Haddock.
According to the new channel GM, “the fundamentals for success in the channel are the same, even though it’s not software”.
“We need channel partners as much as they need us. Others don’t see this synergy,” he adds, stressing that the relationship between vendor and channel partners is a two-way one. “We will have that balance. The channel sees opportunity and desire with EMC.”
Haddock says he will be busy in the next few months as he gets to grips with “what is really different about this business and where the real opportunity lies”. He says there are over 1000 customers that EMC is looking to engage with, through its partners. “That’s the opportunity: getting in touch with them through our partners. That can create enormous growth in the market,” he says.
He says the industry has not finished going through changes and vendors, channel partners and customers all need to be quick to adapt to new trends. “There will be a lot of money made by the most agile,” says Haddock.
Haddock does not appear to be one to turn down a challenge. Case in point: the 800km mountain bike ride across South Africa over eight days that Haddock returned from last month. All in the name of charity. And a little bit in the name of adventure. Haddock and his team mate Glenn Wright were raising funds for Variety NZ, a charity which helps children and of which Haddock is a board member). He wrote race reports on his website - www.iliad.co.nz - and kept in touch with the rest of the world via social media (Haddock can be found on Twitter as @iliadltd).
Competing in athletics is a big part of his life, especially with a bigger purpose in mind. Haddock was involved in the first Cure Kids Great Adventure Race and, after that, found out that his daughter had leukemia. His work with Cure Kids hasn’t stopped. The most recent race took place last month and he is already planning next year’s adventure, where he plans to gather even more members of the IT community together to help children.
“The IT industry pays pretty well and it’s very easy to get isolated from the reality of the rest of New Zealand. The government does so much but there are still gaps,” he says.
The challenge in South Africa - Cape Epic as the annual event is named - was the hardest physical ordeal Haddock has ever had to endure. He lost toenails, brought home more blisters than he’d like to talk about, went through a lot more pain than he can describe. He happily lists everything that went wrong with the race, talks about his bike breaking down and having to run 25km in mountain bike shoes while carrying his bike back. “It was great,” he says, with a smile. And that’s why he’ll be back in Cape Town next year - for the challenge, and for the children.
Where do you live now and where did you grow up and have lived before?
We are living in Meadowbank, Auckland. We have been back in New Zealand almost two years after six years living in the UK and Singapore.
Are you married? Kids?
I have been married for 15 years to Karlene, with two girls - Sara (13) and Greer (10).
What are you currently reading?
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Awesome read - described by many critics as a modern Catch 22.
Who do I admire professionally?
Companies and people who like challenging “norms” and boundaries and are always searching for a “better way”.
What would be the best advice you could give to someone in the same business as you?
Never be afraid to ask questions and always fight for what you believe in.
Do you have any favourite sports?
I enjoy watching all sports and currently I am doing heaps of cycling – both road and mountain bikes.
What's your favourite gadget?
Garmin 910XT Watch. Amazing piece of kit for sports with mapping, heart-rate, speed, altitude etc etc.
What's your drink of choice?
If you weren't in technology, what would you be doing?
Writing books and working in the media industry in some form.
What do you like about the IT industry?
IT is dynamic and always changing. There is never a dull moment and technology and the methods of taking it to market is constantly evolving.
What do you consider to be your major strengths or skills?
Creativity and entrepreneurialism. I enjoy building teams and leading them to success.
How do you keep the work/leisure balance?
The difficult balance is work/leisure and family. This is especially true if you are training for a specific event. The main thing I try and do is be very clear on an annual basis what are the goals and what success looks like.
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