There were so many new people I met over the last several days at CMP XChange, it was crucial that I did my card sort last night.
You know…jotting additional notes on all the biz cards, assigning a priority order for contacting people. I do that before I use my $350 wonder, which magically transforms all those cards into the primary raw material I need to build my business…
Despite being dog-tired, I knew if I slept first, I’d never remember all the little tidbits I needed to sort effectively.
And one surprising thing I noted as I was going through them all? I collected more cards from SMB peers than vendors. For the first time EVER!
I always visit every vendor booth at CMP’s conferences, just to make sure there isn’t some new kickass solution I haven’t heard of yet. Orlando was no exception. So there are plenty of vendor business cards in my stack.
But my point is there were simply a TON of folks there who are SMB providers, loud and proud.
And none of them..
As in zero…
Knew anything about the SBS/SMB community that so many of us take for granted.
Let me re-phrase that. The SBS/SMB community that WAAAAAY too many of us think of in whacked out, heliocentric, stuck-in-the-Dark-Ages terms.
It’s high time we stop thinking we are the center of the universe. The end-all, be-all. The Alpha and The Omega of IT in SMB. We need to be more like this guy…
The simple fact remains that there are SCADS of people…doing stupendously amazing work in SMB…who have no earthly idea about our community.
These folks are living and working in places that already have SBS user groups.
So I have to wonder…
WTH is everybody who calls themselves a community “leader” doing about it?
I was one of the countless nameless, faceless and totally oblivious horde before 2005. Truth of matter, I was someone who had been kicking some serious ass with SBS and the whole SMB solution stack for a while. Took my company to the upper echelon of the MS Partner program, with just 1.5 people, in 6 months.
As the story goes, in the summer of 2005, I just happened to meet Anne Stanton at an accounting industry (kill me now) IT conference, who introduced me to Susan Bradley virtually, after the conference was over. Because, even tho Susan was also at that conference, and even sitting in some of the same sessions, she and I never met there at all. We never met in person until SMBN 2005 a good 3 months later. Through our now legendary “See, this is a blog/See, this is a nametag” exchange at breakfast.
But that’s 2 whole years ago. And, as a group, we haven’t made a whole lot more progress in that regard. I know this for a documented fact. With statistics that back me up all the way.
Just like any kind of living thing, a healthy community needs to be a growing community. It can be growing a little. It can be growing a lot. But to stay alive, the community must have new blood. Or…as I shall hereafter refer to them…
I think that sounds hellaciously better than newbies, rookies, or anything else that carries the connotation of amateur. Trust me when I tell you…most of these people should be presenting at conferences. Which makes all of us already in the community…the newbies.
As much as I like all the folks in our current, tiny little atoll of the tech industry…
I honestly believe THIS issue, that of active community recruitment, should be the number one topic for the GroupLeads meeting at SMBN in Redmond.