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Each time I go to America, I can’t help humming a tune to myself. A short while ago, New York put me in mind of a Frank Sinatra song. Today it is:

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

The artist – Scott McKenzie, of course, the year – 1967, song lyrics by John Phillips, who, according to legend, took less than half an hour to pen them, and which have stood the test of the time for nearly half a century now. San Francisco, incidentally, has been very popular with singer-songwriters, so if I’ve grown jaded with Scott McKenzie, I can choose from  I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett from the early 50s, San Francisco Blues by Peggy Lee (from the early 60s, if you please), Christmas in San Franciscoby Vic Damone ( the 60s as well), San Francisco by Judy Garland (the lyrics to which were written in the 30s by – surprise, surprise – a Warsaw-born songwriter), not to mention San Francisco Bay by Jesse Fuller. This last one has been performed by so many artists in the last five decades that it would be easier to list those who haven’t done their rendition. Being bored then is not an option.

I’ve come to San Francisco for a conference organised by the Global Technology Distribution Council. This time, it’s Summit North America. I have written about GTDC in these pages before, in the account of my trip to New York, but a reminder won’t be out of place here. GTDC’s membership includes the biggest distributors in the IT sector, ABC Data being one of them. The combined turnover of members of GTDC, of which there are fewer than twenty, well exceeds Poland’s national budget. In other words, GDTC is home to leaders of the industry. These are companies run with ruthless efficiency, possessed of the most extensive experience and boasting of the greatest amount of knowledge.

What are we – members of GTDC – going to discuss in San Francisco? First of all, the ever more demanding market requirements, which, if our companies are to meet, require our closer cooperation. Distributors should never cease to share their experience and knowledge with their partners. Too many people think of distributors as companies exclusively in the business of „shuffling boxes around”, which they ultimately deliver to the appointed address. Nothing could be further from the truth! Distributors are first and foremost modern companies whose range of services includes, quite rightly, logistical services. This has always been an important part of their operations. It is worth noting however their other offerings, which are singularly important in today’s digital age. Know-how and relationships forged in the long course of their activity and development are priceless assets.

New technologies are being developed at a dizzy pace. New prospects and new niche markets emerge all the time, and on the back of these come new manufacturers who have neither the know-how nor the experience to explore and maintain effective sales channels. The distributor assumes the role of a natural and most important partner for the vendor. It brings with it a wealth of experience and specialist knowledge. After all, the distribution business is nothing if not creation of optimal conditions and mechanisms for cooperation between the manufacturers and the companies who sell to the end customer. Who knows more about the optimal methods of structuring partnership programmes if not the distributors? The distributor is quite simply the heart of the market, one of the most important elements in the system which facilitates smooth business operations all round.

Indeed, there is plenty to talk about at the summit, and I have no doubt that future years will bring plenty more issues to discuss. The world is racing ahead. Technology, thus also the range of products and services, is changing like a kaleidoscope. The two things at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment, including the distributors’, are Cloud Memory and the Internet of Things. Their popularity, by which I mean their ability to influence the current IT market, is growing fast. Meanwhile, the discovery of new solutions is only a matter of time. I am sure this will happen sooner than we think. It is not without reason that research and development have become key market drivers – the most developed countries are pouring more and more money into them year by year. The statistics say it all. The US spends almost 3% of its GDP on research and development, with China only a fraction less. By contrast, research and development expenditure in Poland attracts less than 1% of the GDP. Of course, our GDP comes nowhere near that of the US or China. Even so, Poland is seeing the rise of many start-ups, while the solutions they bring onto the market are more than innovative!

He who wants to win must not only run, he must run faster than others. That’s why I am glad I am in San Francisco, amidst companies which know perfectly well how to run their businesses in order to meet new challenges. If the world is in constant motion, business and business people must be in motion too. ABC Data has been swept away by this motion and is moving faster than ever before in its history. What’s more, it is not just capable of keeping up with the pace – it sets the pace for the biggest and the strongest. That’s what the game is about.
People in motion people in motion

Data on Research & Development expenditure can be found here:

More about the GTDC Summit North America:

And a treat: a few wonderful songs about San Francisco:

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