Thursday, February 9, 2012

My 2004 Predictions - and a 2012 Fed 100

Prior to my blog and my Washington Technology columns, throughout the 1990s until 2008 I published my e-newsletter, The Amtower Report  (it was a snail mail newsletter in the early 1990s).  During that same period I also published 24 "Off White Papers" (1998-2004).

(In case you are wondering why I stopped writing those, I thought the blog and the articles could take the place of the newsletter, but I still get grief from a few people that want the newsletter back in their inbox...)

Both the newsletter and Off White Papers enjoyed some notoriety because I expressed some controversial thoughts and coined some phrases that have become part of the industry jargon, among them "the big bag theory" and "battle of the bags" as a way of describing the main activity at major trade shows. While I always found big bags amusing, I never believed they were a good marketing tool.

Along the way I also made some predictions regarding reseller community. In Off White Paper 23: VAR Wars 2004 - I made some statements and predictions about the reseller community that were not mainstream.

I suggested that the immixGroup was a company to watch. Indeed, it has now grown to nearly $1 billion in sales under co-founders Jeff Copeland and Steve Charles. Founded in 1997, immixGroup was already becoming a significant force, and has grown to powerhouse status. I referred to them as "a cash machine for themselves and their clients". Congratulations, gentlemen.

Further, I postulated that GTSI was stagnating, in part due to a lack of managing the brand and market position. I said that missteps by GTSI would open the door for CDW (CDWG) and others, which is what happened.

I indicated that BestBuy Government would have a very difficult time entering the government reseller battle. Anyone remember BBG?

And I predicted that Craig Abod, then recently departed from one reseller, would emerge as a force to be reckoned with.

This turned out to be somewhat prophetic.  Craig had just started Carahsoft Technology when I wrote that in 2004.  Two months ago, in December, 2011, at the end of the 7th year, Carahsoft hit $1 billion in annual sales.

This is amazing for several reasons, the first and most obvious is that $1 billion in 7 years is a ridiculously fast growth pace. Less obvious is there was no VC or angel money to start Carahsoft, and no mergers or acquisitions along the way: it is all natural growth.

This is an unparalleled accomplishment in the GovCon community.

And there is icing for this cake. Eight years ago Craig started Carahsoft at the end of January. At the end of January 2012, Craig was notified that he was awarded a Federal Computer Week Fed 100 award.

Congratulations Mr Abod, for an extraordinary job. You realize, of course, that now I expect more of the same...


  1. Mark you know how to pick winners. In your estimation what distinguishes Carahsoft's marketing from its competitors?

  2. Every aspect of Carahsoft's marketing (viewed from the outside- I have no insider knowledge) is directly tied to sales. They have a library of webinars that runs into the hundreds, each supporting a specific technology they represent. They attend many events where thet can get in front of specific customer/prospect agencies. They do very targeted radio spots highlighting their partners. And they have a pertpetual training progam for their sales people so they can stay on top of all apsects of the technologies they sell. It is not a magic formula, but it is an effective one.