By Charles Weaver
Mike Cullen has passed on to his next adventure. There are plenty of people who worked more closely with Mike, particularly those colleagues of his at N-able and the MSPs with whom he interacted, who can lament his passing better than I. But I did have the good fortune to consider Mike a colleague for over 20 years and anyone who had an impact on an industry like he did, ought to have a remembrance of his achievements.
The first time I met Mike was at the very first N-able partner conference in Canada. From that conference, I would have the opportunity to work with Mike on various projects, he would attend our MSPWorld conferences, and we would support Mike and N-able in their endeavors. Such was life in the early days of managed services.
Mike was always positive, the consummate sales professional, and a passionate believer in the cause of managed services. People throw around words with little thought or intention as to their meaning, but it would not be an understatement or flattery to say that Mike Cullen was a pioneer in the managed services profession. He most certainly was. He was a pioneer because what he was accomplishing had never been done before.
In the early days of managed services, it was the enterprise MSP that stood alone, selling managed services to enterprise customers, using enterprise class RMM tools to accomplish the task. It was not until Mark Scott, Gavin Garbutt, Mike Cullen, and others, began N-able with the objective of bringing enterprise class RMM tools down to the mid and SMB markets. Mike, as the head of sales, sold the N-able products.
But it was not just selling N-able products that was Mike’s challenge. That would be too simple an explanation for what Mike had to do. Mike was selling a new business model, managed services. To fully understand this monumental task, Mike had to convince non-MSPs to become MSPs and purchase N-able’s products. Viewed in today’s context, this may not seem important. In the early 2000s, when you are the only one doing it, it was a challenge.
In full transparency, there were other companies championing this movement along with Mike. ConnectWise, Kaseya, and a few others were also selling complimentary technologies and making the same case for the new managed services business model. I remember some very early consulting projects with “MSPs” back then and invariably, these early stage MSPs had met Mike along their journey to becoming an MSP.
Mike was everywhere in those early days. He canvassed the world, bringing the good news of managed services to anyone who would listen. If an MSP had an RMM license in those early years, chances are Mike Cullen sold it to them.
The MSP profession as it stands today is a large part of Mike’s professional legacy. Who he was to his family and close friends, I will let them speak about who Mike was in that capacity. As for the rest of us, we are indebted to Mike Cullen for what he did in the formative years of managed services and his role in making it what it is today.
Mike Cullen, RIP.