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April 27, 2009

Meet Your Fairy Godmother

Or at least, the closest you’ll ever get to one anyway.

Yep...that's MOM aka WOW right there. She had just finished re-attaching my severed right arm, and was just about to do something about that 'drunken brawl' hair I'm sporting. Until Nick interrupted with a camera, and she never got a chance to fix it. Also, even Marie was powerless to make whatever they were trying to pass off as eggs palatable.

This is Marie. As in Marie McFadden. Her nickname has alway been her initials, which spell MOM. But after what I’m about to tell you, Marie will be turning your world upside-down in a way that should make you stand up and cheer. Which means her nickname from now and forevermore will be MOM upside-down, or WOW.

And that’s all because Marie has freaking magical powers. 

Don’t believe me? While you were wishing on a star for someone to make your life easier, your business more profitable, and your stress level go down…

Marie and her team of enchanted sprites have been hard at work making that happen for you.

You see, Marie owns the worldwide Partner Managed Support Newsgroups. And when I say owns…I mean OWNS. As in, Marie is The Big Cheese. The Head Honcho. The Funk Hostess With The Mostest. The Shizz.

If it has to do with Partners and Managed Support via Newsgroups, this is her baby. And if you’re a Small Business Specialist, she’s basically giving you the best Christmas present ever…and in April no less!

Small Business Specialists have enjoyed an exclusive managed newsgroup which offers an astounding 4–hour response time for the low low cost of nothing! To this point, the products covered by this 4–hour support were limited to…

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Exchange Server
  • Windows Server
  • Windows SBS
  • Microsoft Office 2007 system

Well, as amazing as that has already been, Marie and her team have just strapped a rocket booster onto these 4–hour newsgroups, and are about to light the candle.

They are expanding the number of products covered by 4 hour response to over 50! And they aren’t padding this either with stuff like…the Legend of Aranna expansion pack for Dungeon Siege or some other such nonsense. No, we’re talking some SERIOUSLY serious stuff here. Check it out…

  • Dynamics: AX, CRM, GP, NAV, RMS, SL
  • Internet Technologies: IE, IIS
  • Messaging: Exchange Server, Live Communication Server, Exchange Client – OE and Windows Mail
  • Mobility: Office Mobile, System Center Mobile Device Manager, Windows Mobile
  • Office: Access, Accounting, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Project, Visio, Word, Office for Mac, Office Sharepoint, Setup & General Questions
  • Security:  Forefront, IAG, ISA, WSUS, SteadyState
  • SQL Server and SQL SRS
  • System Center: SCE, SCOM, SCCM, SCVMM
  • Virtualization: Virtual Earth, Virtual PC, Virtual Server
  • Windows Client: XP, Vista, Windows 7 RC Client
  • Windows Server: Windows Server, Windows Server 7 RC, SBS, EBS

The sheer number of stuff covered is nothing short of mind-boggling. You can even see that the Release Candidate of both Windows 7 Client AND Server are both covered already. And how much are they going to start charging for this amazing increase in service? A WHOPPING 50% increase over what you’re paying now for it!

That’s right…50% more of nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. It’s all still SCOT-FREE and EXCLUSIVE to Small Business Specialists.

If you can’t immediately see how much ass this kicks…then stop using a computer right now and go sell insurance. This offer should basically make every being in the known universe with a frontal lobe want to become a Small Business Specialist. And once you are, you should go check out these phenomenal newsgroups by going here and actuallly using them:

https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40014662

So when does all this magic happen? Why…right now. As soon as this post goes live at 9am, Pacific time, on this the 27th day of April, in the year of our Lord 2009.

WOW…indeed!

|| posted by chris under business, community, freebie, it pro, more cowbell, mothership, shoutout, thumbs up || comments (3) || ||

April 3, 2008

Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

It’s true, I’ve been awarded as an MVP for Small Business Server for another year.

The Unknown MVP Throughout History!

What’s coolest about the second go-round? This time, they actually had the correct e-mail address for me. So it didn’t take 3 months for me to find out.

All kidding aside, I appreciate being a part of the MVP Program, and the continuing opportunities it affords me to contribute to the community.

To my fellow MVPs, no matter your area of expertise…

Hope to see you at the MVP Global Summit in a week and a half.

|| posted by chris under community, it pro, mothership || comments (1) || ||

March 28, 2008

The SBSC Car Has To Qualify Today To Race On Sunday

Martinsville has been described as

If you just can’t wait to see the SBSC logo running around a racetrack, you’ll be able to see Kenny Schrader’s #49 Toyota Camry with the Microsoft Small Business paint scheme later today during his qualifying run for the Goody’s 500 race this Sunday at Martinsville.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much is that Schrader does not have an automatic berth in Sunday’s race. Only the top 35 teams in owner’s points are guaranteed a spot. Everyone else has to qualify on time, which includes the #49 team.

Although this morning’s practice session is not being televised, live stats are available here. At the time of this posting, Schrader shows as 12th.

Quailfying starts at 3:40p Eastern time, on SPEED. I’ll be watching, just to see how good the car looks, and hear the quality of the sponsorship chatter.

But even if Schrader qualifies at that very same spot later today, he might still not make it into the race.

Here’s why…

The top 35 teams in owner points get automatic berths, as long as the cars can at least get around the track for one qualifying lap. There are only 43 slots for any race total. So that leaves a mere 8 spots for teams that qualify on time.

At the 12th spot, there could still be 8 other “go or go home” folks that qualify higher. In other words, Schrader needs to have at least the 8th fastest qualifying time among the “go or go home” drivers to make the race.

Looking at the practice list right now, there are definitely a few folks ahead of Schrader who are in the Top 35 already…

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Jeff Gordon
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  • Kurt Busch
  • David Ragan

Make no mistake about it, Ken Schrader is a damn good driver who could use some better equipment. It’ll be interesting to see what he’s able to do with the new power that Toyota engine should give him.

Assuming he makes Sunday’s race, that is.

|| posted by chris under business, community, mothership, motorsports || comments (0) || ||

September 3, 2007

Microsoft Does Alabama

Well...it DOES sound like a sexy hamburger!

That’s right kiddos.

Get ready for some serious McLovin’ from the mothership over the next couple of months.

Don’t believe me?

How about no less than 8 events happening in Alabama between now and the end of November?

Here’s a quick rundown…

  • 9/19 – Chad & Doug Do MSDN (HSV)
  • 9/27 – TechNet Does Server 2008, Vista, Forefront, System Center (BHM)
  • 9/27 – Connections Does Small Business (BHM)
  • 9/27 – MSDN Does Silverlight, LINQ, WCF (BHM)
  • 9/27 – TS2 Does Everybody (BHM)
  • 10/16 – Connections Does Small Business…Again (HSV)
  • 10/16 – TS2 Does Everybody…Again (HSV)
  • 11/29 – Momentum Does Better Infrastructure

The key to all of this tho, is a very simple idea…

YOU NEED TO FREAKIN’ REGISTER AND SHOW UP AT THIS STUFF!

Here’s a link to make it dead simple for you to sign up for any or all of these: CLICK HERE

I’m not joking.

If you want MS, and other vendors for that matter, to invest resources in our general direction, then the turnout for this stuff needs to be much higher than Jimmy Joe Bob and his dog Boo, if you catch my drift.

So quit being a bump on a log. Get out there and get involved!

|| posted by chris under freebie, it pro, mothership || comments (0) || ||

June 18, 2007

They Shoot Directories, Don’t They?

MRD sleeps with the fishes!

Way to go, Microsoft. You have just served your active Partners a nice big fecal sandwich. And just a few short weeks before you expect them to shell $3–4K to subsidize the conference which you insist exists to thank them.

You might as well have a taken a sledgehammer to the feet of your average SBSC, because that’s the effective outcome with your “new & improved” Solution Finder solution.

Why don’t you just rename your Partner program for what it really is half the time? The Tony Soprano Fantasy Camp has a nice ring to it.

For those who don’t know, as of June 15, the Resource Directory and the Partner Finder have been Frankensteined together into the Solution Finder.

The headline in the e-mail I received this morning screamed…

Generating Leads Just Got Simpler

First, searching for Partners directly is buried under Advanced search. So there’s no absolutely no room for doubt that the Solution Finder is solution-centric. Even a 5th grader can see that.

But the troubling thing is that this new search-o-matic nightmare totally ignores validated expertise if the search criteria includes anything about location.

Here’s an example:

In the old directory, my company, Black Warrior Technology, was roughly the 8th or 9th choice on a default search for 35401, which is the most well-known zip code in my chosen service area of a 40–50 mile radius.

As an SBSC in that chosen service area, I was moved ahead of all the Jimmy Joe Bobs and their Cousin Neds that infest our area. Folks who are either hobbyists posing as companies for cheap software from the Action Pack they can pirate, or companies posing as IT providers for cheap software from the Action Pack they can use illegally.

I’m now buried alive. In just a 20 mile radius search, we show up 7 screens in, at roughly the 32nd spot.

Put another way: Rather than minimizing the already maddening pollution in the Partner program here in my little local area…

This little change just dumped all that garbage in my lap.

Here are just a few of the so-called “Registered Partner” operations that are now listed ahead of my company.

  • A stated OEM Hardware Solution company whose description reads Not sure yet just trying to get it off the ground. We dont offically open until March 15, 2007.
  • An office supply company
  • A construction company whose description reads General Contractor
  • An accounting professional or 3 (no way to know if they are MPAN or not)
  • The University of Alabama Athletic Department
  • The University of Alabama SLIS Program

To be honest, it’s not just the SBSC community who have been kicked in the ass by this.

No matter what size partner you are, the emphasis on location over the validated expertise you have means you are hamstrung unless someone searches on your exact zip code. Or you have ponied to open a branch office in that zip code.

I don’t care if you are a Gold Certified Partner with a chest full of badges. Someone who searches against 35476 will get me at the top of their list, even if you are only 1 mile away from that zip code.

The annoying thing is, on a search against 35401 which is then subsequently sorted by “Level” (which is how the old directory operated) my company shows up as #15.

Even worse, is this little tidbit:

We understand that distance is important for you – thus we are only showing the partners in your area.
If distance is not important in your search – please clear partner distance search.

Earth to Redmond: Most people actually give a crap about expertise. Or at least they should. And I’d assume you do as well. You’ve sure pimped your Certification and Competency initiatives enough.

In a nutshell…we’re talking a search tool that presents your business in a certain light that is utterly and completely FUBAR.

Wow, if I were Google I’d be quaking in my boots about MS’ search prowess right about now.

The only shining light here is the fact that us SBSCs rarely, if ever got customers or business from the directory. I used to use it for Partner to Partner contact.

But all this got me wondering how the SBSC Finder tool on the Small Business Center website works today. So I just checked. It continues to rank results on expertise, just like before.

But with all the directories being deathmarched together into a single entity this month…I’m sure that little problem will be taken care of soon enough.

|| posted by chris under clueless, kma, mothership, thumbs down || comments (5) || ||

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