One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen at a conference is a “Visual Practitioner” summarizing the event via large scale drawings. I talked to Jackie Forbes at the recent MAX 2015 conference. She is with Drawn to Learn (www.drawntolearn.co.uk). Her background is in meeting facilitation, so she has good skills around picking out the important points of the day.
Here’s a picture of the drawings she did for two days of the conference. Click to enlarge.
I didn’t realize that this is now an official profession with meetings and titles. Even while we were talking, someone came up to ask Jackie about illustrations like this for video projects. She specializes in meeting artwork like this, but she gave him a referral to someone who specializes in the video side of the business.
If you were not at the conference, a lot of the components here won’t make sense. But to those who sat through presentations, these are great reminders of what we saw and heard from the screen. (Did you know the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland?)
Jackie says you don’t have to have a lot of artistic skill to be a Visual Practitioner, but I’m not sure I buy that. My unicorn would look like a blob with a stick. Clearly, you need t understand what’s going on at the meeting and be able to pick out the juicy good information that’s important to the attendees. That I can do. Scribbling it into a picture . . . that’s out of my skill set.
Check out Jackie’s web site. Obviously, she’s from the UK, so you probably won’t have her at one of your events in the U.S., but you’ll get a sense of what the industry is about. And she’s very friendly, so if you need a referral, I’m sure she can help.
Back at the vendor hall . . . I talked to four folks about taking your business to the next level. Two of them are directly in sales and marketing (helping you with S&M), one who helps you generate reports to make more sales, and an industry organization you should absolutely be involved with.
Ken Goldstein is with Choice Technologies. They are an MSP with a successful sales process – and they’re willing to help you increase your sales. They have developed an assessment system to help you analyze prospect networks and develop a sales proposal based on the findings. Find out more at www.choicetech.com.
Matthew Koenig is with RapidFire Tools. RapidFire Tools provides network auditing reports that are both big and beautiful. Here Matthew talks about the compliance assessments you can run with RapidFire Tools. This includes PCI, HIPAA, and general security. More info at www.rapidfiretools.com.
Raj Khera is with Presstacular. They help you automate getting out a newsletter every week, or month. They provide articles that are “news” as well as just good advice.
Most small MSPs don’t have a marketing department. Presstacular provides professionally written technology articles that you can add to your newsletters, blog posts, etc. Best of all, you can edit and customize these articles to fit your needs.
More info at www.presstacular.com.
Susan Kostbar is a Senior Manager at CompTIA. You probably know CompTIA from the A+ and other certifications.
One of the fun things CompTIA did is to set up a lounge in the vendor hall so that attendees could relax and recharge. In fact, they had a recharge station where folks could plug in their phones, tablets, etc. to literally recharge them.
I talked to Susan about the training programs at CompTIA as well as their community and advocacy efforts on behalf of the computer industry. More info can be found at www.comptia.org.
While in DC for the MAX 2015 conference, I wandered down to the vendor hall. Of course I took my trusty recorder along for the stroll. Here are three quick interviews with vendors I met.
Carl Banzhof from iScanOnline talked about “data breach intelligence.” Basically, they use a host-based agent to search for sensitive data. In addition to the places where you know you have data (e.g., the database), iScanOnline looks at PDF and Excel reports that were generated from a database, but now those reports are stored on local PCs and in Dropbox accounts.
In addition to cataloging data that might be where it doesn’t belong, the tool also checks to see whether a breach has occurred and calculates the estimated cost of that breach. You can request a 14 day free trial on their web site at www.iscanonline.com.
Jim Lippie from Clarity Intelligence Platform talks about “turn-key automated analytics as a service” platform. Basically, that’s a tool that looks at how their data is moving around inside their business (both on premise and cloud-based). General topic areas include finances, sales and marketing, and I.T. operations.
I love the line he uses: “Small businesses are pack rats.” One of the ways to use this tool is to find the data that’s rarely used and recommend that it get moved off to long-term (less expensive) storage. The reports will certainly make monthly business reviews or quarterly business reviews a lot easier. And now you can bring juicy good data and not just how many viruses you stopped last month. Check out the free 90 trial at www.clarityintelplatform.com.
Josh Peterson from Bering McKinley joins us to talk about Peer Groups. In addition to group calls and in-person meetings, Bering McKinley provides a partner portal for members to communicate and help each other between meetings. They also partner with Corelytics to provide meaningful financial analysis so that members can benchmark themselves against others in the industry.
While some peer groups are “pure peer,” Bering McKinley provides a facilitator to help members get the most out of their meetings and overall experience. While a peer group might see the insides of 10-12 businesses, the facilitator has seen hundreds or thousands of businesses. The facilitator will also know a lot about how to tweak things in the business to meet the “best in class” benchmarks in Corelytics. For more info, visit www.beringmckinley.com.
I always love working with Joe Panettieri. He’s a very smart guy, very fun to talk to, and totally tuned into the channel.So I had to grab him for a quick podcast when I saw him in DC this week.
Joe and his partner Amy Katz run After Nines, Inc., a consulting company. And they’ve been working on a new project. In fact, they’re going to announce it and launch in a few days. I knew Joe wouldn’t give me the full scoop, but I got some hints.
Joe’s using the hashtag #E2E so you can look for that on Twitter, etc.
The official announcement is Tuesday, September 15th.
In the meantime, here’s a teaser podcast.
Check out the After Nines Blog at http://www.afternines.com/news/
And follow Joe on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joepanettieri
Visit my Small Biz Thoughts blog for the details:
I love the ChannelPro SMB Forums. There’s always something new and different going on. Even the panels change from city to city.
Here’s a quick report from the ChannelPro SMB Forum in Chicago last week. You can still sign up for the last show of the year – November 3rd in New York / New Jersey. See http://events.channelpronetwork.com for more details.
In this podcast, I interview Erick Simpson and Todd Haugland.
Erick Simpson is the VP and CIO, of SPC International – see http://www.spc-intl.com.
Erick was one of the panel members on Cloud Services and bundling. He also made a presentation on “Value Pricing.” I asked what that is and Erick explained. Instead of taking costs plus x%, value pricing focuses on identifying the client’s pain and pricing services with client pain relief in mind.
Note that this is a different kind of sales process, and is focused on clients who approach technology from a strategi perspective. Luckily, Erick is convinced that anyone can learn this process.
For more information, see SPC, International at http://www.spc-intl.com.
Todd Hauglund is the Lead Sales Engineer for MAXfocus by LogicNow.
Todd presented an in-depth Preday training called the “MAXfocus Remote Management Academy Classroom Training Day.” As you can hear in the interview, I gave him some grief for that title. Todd tells us something about that training, which he’ll be repeating in New York in November.
But more importantly, Todd wanted to talk about the big MAX 2015 U.S. conference that’s coming up Tues-Thurs in Washington, DC. The conference is September 9-11.
The conference will have Five tracks – and Todd is presenting an entire track by himself! Other tracks include technology, business, vendors, and sales.
MAX will be making some big announcements about new features as well as filling in some details about announcements that have recently been made. Last week then released new pricing to customers and announced that they will be switching to Bitdefender for anti-virus.
Because I saw the announcements in Australia, I know the biggest announcements that will be made a few days from now. – And I’ll report those right here. So subscribe to the SMB Community Podcast and don’t miss the news!
MAX currently has more than 12,000+ partners. Todd says they are very close to 13,000. Growth has been spectacular.
Find out more about MAX at https://www.maxfocus.com/
Find out about the conference at http://conferences.maxfocus.com/us-2015/
… And follow the MAX IQ blog at https://www.maxfocus.com/blog/