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QB Steve Young makes splash at HP

HP brought in NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young to speak to the partner faithful bright-and-early Wednesday morning. And he did not disappoint. Some 1,000 or more partners were in Las Vegas for the annual partner conference and a pretty good number showed up for Young.

Peering out at the darkened hall, Young noted the obvious: “A 9 a.m. talk at Caesar’s Palace and there are people here? Was attendance mandatory?”

Young said his speaking gigs are relatively easy given the prevalent jock stereotypes, and the low expectations they engender.  “If I can string two sentences together, people think, ‘Hey! Not bad.”

Who knew that aside from his Super Bowl MVP and top quarterback rankings Young is also a lawyer? And a big philanthropist? Not me, but then again, baseball’s my game.

Young followed printer kingpin Vyomesh Joshi who issued a call to arms to a pretty fair subset of the 1,100 partners in attendance for his 8 a.m. keynote.

“If you’re in hardware, get into supplies. If you’re in hardware and supplies, get into services,” Joshi said

Joshi, often known as VJ, painted a picture of a whopping $280 billion market for printing and imaging from the home devices to huge commercial printers that use ink by the liter.

The Scitex wide-format machines that print signs for Times Square and similar venues soak up liters of ink. “Not ccs, liters. I love liters,” Joshi joked to the early morning crowd.

Conversely , he also touted HP’s recycling and green printing efforts.

He estimated the worldwide enterprise printing and image market to be about $53 billion. In that segment, HP reserves 900 named accounts for its direct focus. He cordoned off about 4,000 accounts in “named territory” accounts and the additional 8 million SMB accounts which the company hopes to attack with partners.

“We will be consistent and clear. We will not go after those 4,000 accounts, we’ll provide the names and help plan for them but for those 4,000 accounts we need your help.”

The vast majority of printing remains analog. Translating all of that to digital “where HP can play” is a huge opportunity. And for that to happen, partners need to help HP persuade IT departments to network all their printers and copiers, he said. That infrastructure work is another opportunity for VARs.

Joshi then gave way to the former San Francisco 49er great .

Ensuring attendees left on a high note, Sheryl Crow played Wednesday night. Some of us couldn’t be there — flying out of lovely 70-degree-and-sunshine-Vegas weather back to the frozen Northeast tundra. But according to second-hand accounts, Crow was stellar.

Barbara Darrow can be reached at

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