Three Things I Learned at ChannelCon: A Member's Perspective

ChannelCon 2019 is in the books and Eric Pinto of SOCSoter shares three things he took home from CompTIA’s big event in Las Vegas, including the value of open doors, insight from Shaquille O’Neal, and the always-important opportunity to network.

Eric Pinto

ChannelCon 2019 is in the books. A week launched with a blast of 112-degree heat and capped by a pretty amazing keynote from one of the best in the game, both on and off the court.  I personally have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas, one that begins just before the plane lands, as the strip comes into view.

There is nothing like the boundless opportunity of that particular city.  Most would think that after a decade in the service provider community and five consecutive ChannelCon outings, I would have been ready. But, as Nancy Hammervik said to me on stage, “Even an old dog can learn new tricks.” 

I am happy to share three things I learned at ChannelCon Las Vegas:


  • Advisory councils open session. It’s been an honor to serve as a member of the Channel Advisory Board.  We generally meet several times throughout the year, both in person and virtually, which provides ample opportunity to catch up with our peers, compare notes on industry happenings, and discuss pathways to help shape the future. CompTIA opened the doors this year. It was great to hear from each of the councils and meet outside of the echo chamber. Kudos to all those that were able to join us in the open session. Your insights and contributions to the ongoing conversation were awesome. As a council we have worked hard to create the buyer’s journey, a charge led largely by Ryan Walsh and Jason Bystrak. A big thank you to both.
  • Shaq has left the building—but not before making an enormous 7-foot-1-inch impression on the entire audience. Young, old, black, white, or purple, I don’t think there was a person in the room that didn’t smile and connect with the discussion. The format was awesome with CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux on his toes the entire time. Especially as the conversation moved from swim lessons to law and order to politics, the epically proportioned Deputy Sheriff injected his own brand of humor while maintaining some general truths about people. Choosing not to offer opinions about the left or the right (politically)… but wanting to be viewed as a person who chooses to do the right thing. I respect that immensely. 
  • Networking, networking, networking. Anyone looking to find me would have made a safe bet on the Game On, Think & Drink Lounge. CompTIA you’ve outdone yourself this time. Old school arcades, plenty of coffee and beverages, comfy chairs. Anyone in the business of doing business could easily find a spot to hatch new plans, catch up with old friends, and make some new ones.  The oxygen lounge was a nice touch – when in Vegas!
  • The networking value of ChannelCon cannot ever be overstated.  From the main stage to the technology vendor showcase, emerging tech and new market entrants have the unique opportunity to stand on even footing with industry titans. Each was invited to share in the conversation and collaborate equally. Thank you, CompTIA, for yet another great event. It’s tremendous to see the larger impact the organization is having in both the technology and global communities. More directly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss the impacts that artificial intelligence and machine learning are having in the security space. It’s an area that my team is passionate about and it was awesome to discuss some key concepts with Nancy and Todd during the keynote.   

    I guess I’ll admit now, it was a big stage and I may have been a smidge nervous.       

    See you in 2020.

    Eric Pinto is Senior Director, Channel & Product Strategy, at SOCSoter, a managed security service provider based in Hagerstown, Md., and a member of CompTIA’s Industry Advisory Council and Channel Advisory Board.

    Want more ChannelCon 2019? Check out our coverage of daily highlights, educational tracks and general sessions

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