I’m not sure if any of you remember the Smith Barney commercialfrom the eighties where actor, John Houseman, says: “They make moneythe old-fashioned way. They earn it.” But that statement came to mindas I watched Keith Goodwin’s keynote address at the Cisco Partner Summit in Boston.

Goodwin is an executive who had the fortune, or misfortune, (it alldepends on how you look at it) of following Paul Mountford, who, alongwith Edison Peres, created and executed the partner profitabilitystrategy and VIP channel program for Cisco back in 2001. This strategyvaulted Cisco into a dominant leadership position in the channel, andthe vendor has left many of its competitors in the dust since.

This is a hard act to follow. The first time I had the opportunityto interview Goodwin was literally days after he got the promotion. Itwas in San Jose, Calif. in late January of 2006 and luckily enough forCDN, readers I bumped into Mountford just before my Goodwin interview.We chatted for a few minutes. He told me about his new role in emergingmarkets and I told him I was about to interview his replacement. I alsoasked Mountford what I should ask him in my interview. Mountford said,jokingly, to ask him: “Not to screw up a perfect system.”

I knew he was just kidding and we shared a laugh together, but thequestion, I thought, was legitimate. And to Goodwin’s credit headdressed that situation with me. He said, at the time, that it was achallenge to take a near perfect system and try to improve upon it.

Three-and-a-half years later Goodwin has methodically built onto theprogram with creative approaches, such as the Opportunity IncentivePlan, and he has written more than $2 billion in cheques to the channelin all of Cisco’s incentive programs.

Today, Goodwin is facing another stiff challenge in navigatingchannel partners through this economic storm successfully. Goodwin’steam has developed the Navigate to Accelerate program, Core Acceleratorprogram, worked hard to get better financing options through CiscoCapital for partners, moved volume products such as switching androuting into VIP.

Also, Goodwin has become more comfortable on stage and he is puttinghis own personality into the channel business at Cisco. Publicperception of Goodwin back in 2006 was that he was a caretaker managerof Cisco’s channel, but he is anything but that today. Just like thatclassic commercial, Goodwin has attained his success the old-fashionedway: by earning it.

Two quick hit before I go. Co-worker Rafeal Ruffolo won a Gold award at the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards for excellence in business journalism. I helped to hire him a few years ago, and I’m very proud of him.

Don Lee, managing director of Gibraltar Solutions,fresh off of his company’s being one of the Newcomers of the Top 100Solution Providers listing, has won the 2008 Citrix VirtualizationPartner of the Year award. Citrix grants this prestigious award to theCitrix Solution Advisor that achieved the highest revenue sellingCitrix virtualization solutions in Canada.

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