Legally Speaking: His Way

Bob Goldberg Encourages Caution on the Pathway to Success
By Amber Murdock, with Robert Williams and Sarah Brennan

When it comes to advice from attorneys, caution is often their watchword. And at Retail2017, RSPA general counsel Bob Goldberg advocated just that in his annual Industry Update address. In fact, he provided a laundry list of items for RetailNOW attendees to be cautious about after they returned to their businesses.

In the topsy-turvy world of POS, change is now the mainstay, Goldberg says. So, to remain relevant and of value to customers, most resellers (and most RSPA members) need to be aware of the forces that are impacting—and will continue to impact—the industry, and therefore their business. Punctuating his point, Goldberg incorporated the RetailNOW 2017 theme of “reAlign, reUnite, and reEngage” to illustrate how RetailNOW and RSPA can assist businesses in maintaining that relevance and value.

VAR Businesses: Take Care

“Resellers need to create their own identity, not rely on their vendor brands to do that for them,” Goldberg urged the crowd as he tied in the reAlign element of the theme. With his trademark directness, he pulled no punches in making this statement. Although RSPA itself is an industry association—composed of both vendors and resellers—the central focus of Goldberg’ own work at RSPA is on helping VARs avoid potholes and pitfalls in their businesses. As a result, the bulk of his message was focused on the well-being of resellers.

Goldberg utilized vibrant slides to detail the changes impacting resellers and the industry. He included technology changes; advances in equipment and software; and the dominating forces of such players as the credit card companies, the PCI Council, and EMVCo. Challenging the attendees to be prepared amidst all the changes, he provided a list of questions that resellers must prepare to be asked . . . and be ready to say Yes to . . . including:

  • Are you QIR Certified?
  • Are you on the QIR Certified List?
  • Do you assist with notification if there is a [data] breach?
  • Do you carry cyber insurance?

But, given all that resellers are already juggling, how do they get to those Yes’s? By concentrating on security, which must take priority, including cloud security, Goldberg says. And he implored them to utilize the many tools RSPA makes available—from the QIR checklist (found on to the newest RSPA resource: security advisor Nathan Sweaney (senior security consultant, Secure Ideas).

“[Having Nathan available] is better than anything I can ever create for you,” Goldberg assured the audience (referring to the many legal resources, and the security-related checklists and templates, he designed that are available to members. “Before you call me, you’re going to call Nathan,” Goldberg informed the crowd. And, he told the audience, with a security resource like Nathan at their disposal, a RSPA membership is even more valuable.

Goldberg also listed dozens of other topics crucial to resellers for remaining relevant as the industry evolves including managed services and the recurring revenue business model. He also discussed human resources and government compliance issues that should be on the radar of small and big business alike.

Planning a Charted Course

Goldberg says that all resellers and all RSPA members must remain dedicated to staying informed and educated. He urged members to stay vigilant—and to strive to provide the best service, but to stay prepared for the unpredictable.
His optimism, candor, and sincerity always shine through—even as he gets impassioned about the difficult issues swirling about the industry—mixing just the right amount of caution and encouragement.

Goldberg ended his talk to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s signature tune, “My Way.” The lyrics are full of bravado, but anyone who interacts with Bob Goldberg can see that he is far from the boastful type. He is well known for his tireless, selfless dedication to RSPA [proven the very next day when he was honored by the membership with its highest award for volunteerism, the H. O. Whistler Award].

Perhaps the audacity of the lyrics can serve as a challenge: Rather than remaining complacent, or even afraid, plan for what the road ahead brings, but, in the end, do it your way.

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