2015 was an eventful year for B2B, said Derek Handova, who won B2BNN’s inaugural Contributor of the Year Award.
There was the continuing consolidation of the old-line enterprise software players and on-premises software has seen its peak and will continue to decline, he said. IBM has and will continue to buy bit players in different spaces, he added.
For 2016, Handova predicts that computer automation is taking a front seat, and that predictive analytics has a great future. Oracle will make a big cloud acquisition at some point. “Old-line names like BlackBerry will probably go under or finally be bought for a song,” he said, and other forces will emerge.
Handova is also knowledgeable about media, marketing, advertising and technology. But when he talks about B2B, business owners would be wise to sit up and listen. After all, few people know B2B the way Handova does.
A veteran journalist who has authored the most well-read pieces for B2BNN and pulled in the most page views for the network, Handova has an enviable knowledge of what’s going on in business.
Handova, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, is perfectly positioned to cover the tech industry that is the pulse of Silicon Valley.
He’s written about business his entire career – first as a journalism and public relations major, then as an MBA marketing student at Long Beach State. Over the years, he’s learned that the companies that stand out from their competition are the ones that plan ahead and that aren’t afraid of change.
He’s also learned that there are real people at the end of B2B relationships. “Nobody wants to be treated like a business and numbers on a spreadsheet,” he said. “No one wants to be a series of demographics or just another vacuous consumer. We all want to be thought of as human beings. And the best B2B businesspeople all think of their customers as human beings, first, last and always.”
He considers it an honour that B2B NN readers are clicking on stories with his byline time and again, but won’t rest on his laurels – “a journalist is only as good as the last thing he has written,” Handova said – and maintains that reporters shouldn’t be concerned about being recognized by their peers or competition, but by their readers and whether they are serving their best interests.
It’s clear from his stories – which include the post about San Francisco-based cloud computing company Salesforce and its ‘ecosystem’ (a favourite of his) and an interview with Demandbase Chief Marketing Officer Peter Isaacson – that he is working hard to keep hooking in readers’ interests.
Still, a dream interview wouldn’t have anything to do with business, but with music. He would have loved to have sat down with the late, great guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who acted as a promoter and businessman for his own career by touring constantly and playing festivals long after the trend had died out in the early 1970s.
Himself a music lover, Handova tries to take in performances of 70s and 80s artists, or to enjoy Northern California’s wine country when he’s not working, but said a freelance journalist’s life is a busy one. “I’m always looking for my next story, even if it’s just reading my latest email alerts on my iPhone while I’m having coffee in the morning,” he said.
As someone who has interviewed some of the most influential people in B2B, he’s got advice for business owners.
“Hire the best people and get out of their way,” he said. “Let them do the work and produce the best product, which will satisfy your customers and generate the greatest and most sustainable profit. Many businesses are too much about the ego of the people in charge. This can apply to any scale of business, from the largest Fortune 500 corporation down to the mom and pop shop on the corner. It’s not about you, it’s about your customer.”
Do you have a favourite B2B NN contributor? Let us know below or on Twitter via @B2BNewsNetwork!
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