Get to know, Venu Menon

Venu Menon, sales and marketing director, OnLine Distribution.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  June 24, 2008

Venu Menon, sales and marketing director, OnLine Distribution.

What is your career history to date?

I was educated in Mumbai, I did a BSc in electronics and communication followed by a masters in marketing and management. I worked for a small computer company for three years and then moved to CSD in Mumbai as product manager for six years.

As the sales and marketing manager at OnLine Distribution, Venu Menon is a recognisable face to value added resellers in the UAE. We thought it was time to find out what the networking distribution guru thinks of the Middle East market.

Then I moved to Oman for a couple of years and joined OnLine in 2000 as sales manager and have grown with them since.

How would you describe your style of management?

I would say it is a very consultative type of management. I'm always open to ideas and I'm always giving my ideas to my team and my colleagues. I believe in an open door approach to management, which is what I have got used to because I was very lucky that I had some good bosses from who I learned. I try my best to be as open as possible, despite some of the constraints of the industry.

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?

I would say the growth that we achieved over the years with OnLine. When I joined we had 16 people and a turnover of roughly US$17m. We have quadrupled that.

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

One thing I like about working in Dubai now is the fact that it is a lot more professional than anywhere else in the region. With OnLine we've gone through quite an upheaval in terms of growth.

Initially we were privately owned, but we were then acquired by Datatec and ever since we have been growing at 40% year on year. Along the way there's been so much learning.

How do you relax outside of the work environment?

My job involves long hours, but whenever I can I like to read as much as possible. I like to swim and play some squash whenever I can, but at the moment there is so much work on that it is difficult to find the time for all of these things.

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

Like any sales guy working here, the 'price, price, price' syndrome can be quite challenging. Otherwise I quite like the fact that this is a great market to be in and the decision-making process is quite fast. Generally though, apart from the very long hours, I couldn't say that there is anything bad about the market here.

What is the most valuable business lesson you have learnt?

Don't count your numbers before you actually get the cheque and get paid for it! The other thing is to try and document as much as possible in terms of the minutes of the meeting, whether with vendors or with customers. Most importantly, under commit and over deliver. This is always appreciated.

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

The channel needs to partner with firms that deliver realistic and tangible value. They also need to partner with companies that are there for the long run, companies that walk the walk rather than just talk the talk. Everything is becoming vertically specialised so the channel can really find its strength.

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