Get to know

As one of the frontrunners in the IT security market, McAfee’s Middle East arm places a strong emphasis on the channel. The signing of Redington as a distribution partner earlier this year proves how serious it is about extending its reach across the region. With that in mind, we thought we’d ‘Get To Know’ Middle East channel manager Samer Malak...

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By  Administrator Published  November 30, 2006

What is your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?

“I started working for an IT company in Lebanon and moved to Dubai to work for Cisco in 2004. I have been at McAfee for 15 months now. I’ve known for a long time that Dubai is the place to be. All the major vendors have set up here and you meet lots of important people in the industry. There is also a great opportunity to develop here.”

Which IT industry figure do you most admire and why?

“The people that grabbed my attention are those who started from scratch and built multinational companies. I also admire many people I’ve met here in Dubai. I know that I’ve worked with really good managers because after I’ve left I’ve always found myself speaking highly of them. I can say I’m privileged to have worked with a lot of people to look up to and learn from.”

What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?

“I think it's very important to empower the channel, give them tools to work with and keep them motivated. Make sure that the relationship between the vendor and partner remains mutually beneficial. I would advise resellers to choose at least one area in which they can specialise and add value. It’s very important to bring something unique to the table.”

What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?

“During my time in Dubai I’ve noticed that the Middle East is one of the fastest growing IT markets in the world. I’m working in a dynamic environment where there are many companies. Lots of countries are represented and the fact that there are so many different ways of thinking really opens up the experience. I feel I have learnt a lot from being in such an environment.”

How do you like to relax outside of the work environment?

“I tend to read a lot when I'm traveling. I like to play football whenever I can and I also love to watch sports. I go fishing once in a while and also have a keen interest in music and cinema. However, I rarely get the time to pursue my interests. I have so many responsibilities and so many things to do that I get so little free time to really relax.”

What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?

“One thing that really annoys a lot of people in the Middle East is the fact that people don’t always live up to their commitments. Another thing that I dislike is that sometimes decision making can be a bit slow. A lot of the time people don’t seem to have any sense of urgency about them when dealing with others, which can get frustrating.”

What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learnt?

“You never stop learning, no matter how old you get, but I've learnt that it’s important to always come through on your promises and commitments. I've also learnt that if a deal is important enough, never to give up on it. There is always a way to make something happen if you want it enough. I never say ‘I can’t,’ just ‘how can I?’”

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?

“I'd definitely have to say that joining McAfee was my proudest moment. Becoming channel manager for McAfee’s Middle East operations is a huge responsibility and it's a very important role. I’m very privileged to be here and it's a great challenge for me. I'm very proud to be in this position.”

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