As most readers know, I do a bunch of advisory work with startups, the vast majority of it for no financial benefit but just to help folks get along. It’s fun, enjoyable and a change from my day to day work.

This morning however I received an email from a company as follows;

Hi Ben

Just came across an article you had published on SaaS channel strategies. I’m the biz dev guy for a start-up (in stealth mode) looking to exploit a channel strategy and target the US SMB market. Just wondering if you could give me some pointers in terms of resources for me to look at. I’m particularly interested in a list of resellers or any other thoughts you may have in this regard.


Or in other words, “I’m looking for some free advice but don’t have the respect for you or your time to really have a conversation. Just give me the info”.

Tempted to name and shame but I won’t. But I also sure as hell won’t be giving them any “lists of resellers” either.


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • I think you are being a bit sensitive there. Sure – He could have probably signed off with something more like:

    “Would it be OK if I gave you a call to discuss the reseller channel”

    I liked how the email was short and to the point, he didn’t put in a lot of verbose rubbish and waste your time and I don’t think it was overly rude. I would give him the benefit of the doubt and mark this down as an oversight. Maybe you should get back to him and say “I would be happy to spend 15 minutes on Skype with you” and maybe give him some advice on reaching out.


    PS: My wife (an architect) has a great rule on free advice. First meeting is free, after that if the people want to go ahead with more than she can run it as a paid project. The way she sees it is that she is introducing people to what architects do and helping them build a great home. She may not even be able to take them on as clients but it will set them on the right track and maybe in 5 years time when they come to build their next house they will come back to her.

    • Glen – fair call and I’m happy to have you point out that I was a little harsh.

      In view of your comment, and becuase I take what you say seriously – I’ve contacted the dude and offered to have a quick chat with him on skype

      So there ya go!

  • I am with Glen. The email was short and to the point. He didn’t say don’t call just email me your thoughts, so it wasn’t a block.

    Good on you for following up.

    I am mindful of the “winning strategy” in a negotiation game I glanced across. It was simply “do unto them what you would have them do to you” as the opening move and from then on play it in the way that they responded. It bet all the other sophisticated algorithms hands down!

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