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Five Minute Interview: Robert Farmer, Barracuda Networks

Tell us what you do for a living.

Apart from having a great deal of fun following the pro-cycling team we sponsor I'm shaping and defining the EMEA channel strategy for Barracuda Networks. I spend a huge amount time travelling across EMEA meeting like-minded individuals who really want to make a difference.

Why are you the right person for this job? 

Having worked in the IT channel business for over 20 years I have been fortunate enough to gain a huge amount of international experience with VARs, VADs and OEMs, also I have learnt valuable lessons from many inspiring leaders along the way. 

What gets you up in the morning?

My two year old cockerpoo normally jumps up as soon as he sees me open my eyes! But on a business front (sounds a bit cliché) but I actually really love the challenge that I have right now. My to-do-lists are getting longer each day and since joining Barracuda my feet haven't touched the ground.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

I have been fortunate enough to work with so many great people over the past 20 years. I owe debt of gratitude to Paul Birch, Brett Johnson, Sandrijn Stead - who have all influenced and taught be at some point during my 20 year career - and of course my new boss, Markus Walcher for believing in me!

What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?

My Grandad always told me to treat others how you would like to be treated, honesty and integrity are the key to all great business relationships.

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?

Build a great track record and spend time working for a reseller, distributor and vendor. Most importantly be good to others, you don’t want to upset someone in this industry!

What’s running on your smartphone?

Currently Strava Run and Cycle to help me with my Ironman training

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

For Barracuda it's continued channel development for our partners across EMEA, having a great deal of fun in building business together, opening new and developing existing partnerships across EMEA to fit with our strategy to grow in storage and security. As Darwin said it will be ‘survival of the fittest’, the resellers that can adapt and find new revenue streams will be the ones that see growth in the challenging climate, partnering with an innovative vendor that is agile and early to market with solutions that meet the market needs.

Tell us something most people do not know about you?

I'm a complete adrenaline junkie and deep down I would have loved to be a surf dude!

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

To cross off everything on my dream board that sits in my office, this includes everything from material items to family experiences in life! My belief is that if you visualise something enough it will come true.

What is the best book you've ever read?

I enjoy reading books that help develop your skills. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a must read.

And the worst film you’ve ever seen?

Far too many to mention. Plus I seem to have a knack of only remembering the good ones and not the bad ones.

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

Err, an audiobook from Bear Grylls on how to survive on a desert island would be very useful.

What temptation can you not resist?

Hello my name is Rob Farmer and I'm addicted to CHOCOLATE! Seriously this is the only reason why I work out so much these days.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

My first car was a Mini, it was so rusty you could see the ground through holes in the floor! Now I just opt for a car that is safe and has great MPG! However, when the kids leave home I’m getting a sports car!  

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?

Someone who smells, seriously a tin of deodorant and a bar of soap costs nothing!

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

I would be a bird for the day so I could get a different perspective on the world and hang-out in beautiful places

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

Probably have to be Peter Kay the comedian, at least there’s a good chance he would make me laugh and take my mind off the impending doom!

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

Cue the Rocky music! In the red corner the gorilla which shares 98% of our genes and in the blue corner the grizzly bear. Both have big teeth and stand at around the same height. I’m backing the gorilla as they have the intellectual ability to work things out!


This was first published in October 2013

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