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June 29, 2007

Do Yourself a Favor. Meet Eric!

One of our AlabamaSMB members is presenting at Symposium 2.0!

Everybody, meet Eric. Eric...meet everybody.

Eric Siegel, a member of the fantastic team at L. Kianoff and Associates, will be presenting a session titled “Solving Customers’ Accounting Challenges with Financial Management Software from Microsoft”

Here’s the more detailed session info:

SBS-BO05 Solving Customers’ Accounting Challenges with Financial Management Software from Microsoft
    Monday, July 9 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM, Hyatt Regency: Mineral Hall A 

Speaker(s): Eric Siegel, Andy Westby
Pre-Day Event: Small Business Symposium
Learn how Microsoft Dynamics and 2007 Microsoft Office system software can help overcome your customers’ business challenges. Learn the questions to ask when faced with customers looking for advice on financial management software.

Just so you know, the Kianoff folks have pretty much written the book on how to sell, implement, support, and deliver value to small business customers in the niche of financial management systems, including SAGE and Dynamics Great Plains. Not only that, but they’ve done it while respecting other people and other businesses (competitors included), fostering community efforts (both tech and non-), and being a model of how to grow a healthy business.

In other words, they’re the kind of folks I wanna be like when I grow up.

I can honestly say, if it wasn’t for the generous support of Lisa & Alan, not to mention the rest of their team, AlabamaSMB would have folded long ago.

So, if you get a chance, stop by and introduce yourself to Eric.

Better yet, sit in on his session. I’ve no doubt it will be awesome!

|| posted by chris under business, more cowbell, shoutout, thumbs up || comments (1) || ||

June 29, 2007

In Fact, There’s Only One Person I Fear

For missing Symposium, that is…

Choppy choppy!

They don’t call her Lynnette “Ginsu” Eastlake for nothing!

Plus, I know I’ve earned a smack or 3 from the 2×4 at some point in the future. I did push Susan pretty hard (offline) to attend Symposium 2.0. But that’s because she’s the closest thing SMB/SBS has to a Pope.

|| posted by chris under uncategorized || comments (1) || ||

June 29, 2007

Too Much Nyquil Does Funny Things to People

The whining, bitching, babbling, so-you-can-speak-gibberish medicine.

Did I say WPC had no value? I’ve been upfront about my ideas regarding the value of Symposium and WPC for over a year now, including the very real value for smaller providers of something huge like WPC, even before the very real addition of SMB this year into WPC proper.

Most people simply don’t have the time to spend hour upon endless hours agonizing about whether WPC, as a primarily S&M show (sales and marketing, ya freakbags!), actually offers any value to the technically minded SMB IT consultant/business owner. But for those who do decide that WPC makes sense for them, when they get some insight from attending that shakes them to their foundations, that’s a fantastically good thing. An unexamined life (or business) isn’t worth living (or building).

But math is math, and as I’ve said before…

Sometimes, the math simply doesn’t work

There is always a point when you can and should push back from the table and say…

No thanks. I’m full.

My own post on tips for wringing the most value out of a big conference like WPC has, at its base, the central idea that you, as an individual, make the conference (or meeting, or whatever endeavor you are involved in), not the other way ‘round.

Perhaps that post doesn’t count tho, since it’s part of the damn dirty part of the Funboard that requires you, as an individual, to take action and register. Well, it used to be, anyway. That’s a whole different hissy-fit.

But primarily, just like anything you do, you should have a plan and execute on that plan. Sure, be flexible enough to not miss unexpected opportunities, but be disciplined enough not to get side-tracked.

And you make a plan by first figuring out what you will do and what you expect to get out of it. You can’t quantify those results precisely, but my own personal assessment was…

Too much cost; not enough return

Yeah, I used money to illustrate the point, but that’s only because it gets people’s attention. Even so, for those paying attention, there’s a major hole or 3 in a “You’re an idiot if you miss this” hissy-fit.

When you’ve looked at something like WPC from every conceivable angle, taking into account even all the intangible benefits, and it still doesn’t add up for you…should you ignore that conclusion and push ahead anyway?

Maybe. But that sounds an awful lot like sticking your head in sand.

And if it’s all about the other attendees, not the content or the speakers or some of the other stuff, then why would anyone skip any conference ever? Why avoid certain conferences because of a perceived lack of quality in the formal content?

Further, why would anyone in their right mind ever even think about taking a radical step like clearing their conference schedule for the rest of the year?

Because actually implementing what you’ve learned/discussed/thought about at a given conference is the only way you get any value back out.

Other words…

Thinking without implementing = Brain crack

There definitely is a point where enough is enough. That goes for everyone, and for everything.

But who am I, after all?

|| posted by chris under uncategorized || comments (0) || ||

June 28, 2007

iPhoney

If you had 3 iWishes, what would you iWish for…?

 A cellphone…and an iron!?! It’s the future!

But here’s the truth, folks…

On-screen keyboard = teh sux0r

Mark my words…

Also…

Apple’s track record with lexan = teh sux0r

I predict a huge outcry about how easily iPhones scratch within about .025 seconds of the iLoser getting an iPhone in his nasty, greasy mitts.

Ewwwwwwwww!

Somewhere tho, the Zune tattoo guy is looking a lot less crazy, and a lot more desirable to the ladies right about now.

What were you thinking?

|| posted by chris under clueless, hardware, mobility || comments (0) || ||

June 28, 2007

Put Your Money Where Your Money Is

Let me get this out of the way right now:

I will not be at Symposium or WPC in Denver.

And for one simple reason…

That’s not where my money is.

To me...those look more like warheads than trees.

Before Schrag, V or anyone else start doing their respective happy-dances…

I’m not talking about an issue with the price. I budgeted for WPC long ago. Heck, from day 1 of being in business. And yes, I’m talking about the true cost. Flight, lodging, incidentals…and the all-important time away from my business.

The reason: I know how much value both Symposium 2.0 and WPC07 can offer. Not disputing that.

But guess what?

For my business, where it is and the way it has been growing, attending in Denver will actually cost me about 4 times what I budgeted.

And I know this…because I make it a point to know.

You see, the second Tuesday of every month, our local Chamber holds after-hours networking events. And they have been fantastic!

Over 75% of our business has come as a result of our attendance at those events. In fact, we’re averaging $5K–10K in new client billable work per month, just from those little “Hey how are you doing?” events.

I know this because we have a system for tracking where and who our opportunities come from. Not just the clients themselves, but who put that client on to us. Basically, I know which contacts (clients or not) are the virtual rainmakers for Black Warrior Technology, and which ones aren’t.

And I’ll tell ya…

Microsoft?

They are not where our money is.

In fact, MS doesn’t even make our list as a standalone line entry. MS, at most, shows up lumped in the “Other” category. And for most of you, if you took a long hard look at where your money really is, I’d bet it’s the same way. Sure, MS offers some great tools. They might have a framework or 3 you can use. And they do have some great folks on their team, no doubt about it.

But at the end of the day, no matter who you are or what you are doing…

Unless your paycheck has the mothership’s logo on it…

MS isn’t really where your money is.

|| posted by chris under business, thumbs down, travel || comments (7) || ||

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