Vladstradamus Part 1

Boss, IT Business, Microsoft
2 Comments

Comments like these have been coming in fast and furious over the past year or so:

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… and to be honest they kind of piss me off because it makes me seem like some kind of a prophet. Like I foretold the demise of SBS, the end of SBSC, the Office 365 as the grim reaper of MSPs and that whole movement kind of going to crap.

I would like to remind you for a moment that I do not work for Microsoft.

It might be something I’ve said… but they don’t come to me for advice either. Just the check.

And while I’m being honest, you don’t need a crystal ball to tell that one man a business does not make.

The gurus, the experts, the masterminds and their universities? If they are even employed, they are in roles far from power or decision making responsibilities… because you don’t put a failed VAR in charge of business they have proven they can’t run, you put them up as a puppet to make it seem like you care. Which leads me to the most important point we can learn from the debacle of would-be SMB-IT:

It ain’t dead..

There is this myth out there that small business IT providers are struggling. We work with thousands of partners and I can tell you they are doing better than ever.

There is another myth that Microsof is somehow on a downward spiral in SMB without the partners.. quite the contrary: They are now charging what they used to give away for free, they have finally converted their products into annuities and they are converting all that inefficiency of inept computer repairmen into their reoccuring revenue.

Microsoft won. Partners won. The guys that lost out were idiots that argued with common sense – that’s not a prophecy, that’s just calling it like it is.

If I am guilty of anything.. it’s pointing out the trends, Microsoft CEO quotes, Microsoft product development, consumerization and other stuff any decent business owner and even middle level manager with 4 hours of community college economics would have told you: marketplace does not reward inefficiency.

Now for the really ugly truth

The death spiral of the SMB IT is just in it’s beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with you about technology, implementation, best practices, your resume or how savvy you happen to be. You’re not wrong. It’s just that it doesn’t matter. Sorry.

The companies that are thriving right now are not necessarily great at IT.

But how can it be? How can something inferior beat out something that is so much better?

Because purchasing decisions in SMB, midmarket and even enterprise aren’t made on 100% rational arguments and the academic correctness of your thesis. They are made on limited information, great service, flexibility and the faith that you’re getting something more than you’re paying for (aka “getting a great deal”).

This is something that has been driving ExchangeDefender and it’s partners since 2007. Recently Shockey Monkey has also gone in that direction, with nearly 10,000 companies building their business on it.

These folks are thriving.

We’re not the easiest to work with. We’re not the cheapest. We’re far from the biggest. Kind of like our partners – but guess what: we’re doing better than we ever have.

Why?

Because we’re constantly adding to what we do and we’re constantly talking about it. Not at the next release, not at the next event or party, not at the next quarter. When it’s done, it’s out there.

So while others are busy with partnerships and strategic alliances and trying to sell as much stuff before the time on the clock runs out and VC money dries up… we’re extending the time on the clock.

This is ultimately what made the difference for IT Solution Providers out there. If you were a VAR and you bet the entire house on Y2K you died in the boom. Or MSP. Or web design. Or social media marketing. Or whatever next cycle happens to be. I don’t care if your business makes tens of thousands of dollars a year or tens of millions of dollars, we are in business of selling technology that changes daily and you cannot stop evolution by peer grouping it up with the same bastards that are stuck heading down the same tunnel, trying to perfect the efficiency at which you’re heading towards the light. You have to constantly pay attention to what is going on and constantly evolve.

IT is not a very forgiving industry – and it’s not kind to it’s fortunetellers either – but you don’t have to predict the future nor do you have to be right: You just have to be agile and you have to stay informed.

And you have to react. Information is worthless if you don’t take advantage of it.

It kills me that so many of you are sitting around waiting, hoping, wishing.. day dreaming about blue oceans and what Windows 8 is going to do for you.. Snap the fuck out of it and start talking to your clients. Get more clients. Make sure they know what is going on and make sure they have the advantage.

I do the same for my partners. Not because I’m a prophet, but because I’m a CEO of a company they rely on. There is no $ in being right, but you will always get paid for a job well done. So get back to work and stop whining about what others are doing.

Love,

-Vlad

P.S. If you didn’t like this, now would be a great time to unsubscribe. Because what I got coming for you tomorrow is really going to make you livid.

2 Responses to Vladstradamus Part 1

  1. Vlad, great points…this reminds me of something I learned along time ago “What are we going to manage when there is nothing left on the network to manage?”

    I have a friend who fixes AS400’s. 30 years after businesses really stopped using them. He has a life but makes his $100,000 a year. Who am I to tell him what to do? He is happy..and understands he is not in a growth business. Sure, he can fight IBM and others who shutdown their AS400 divisions. But, he would rather just help those who need these server for archival reasons only and support them until he retires.

    Sure, SBS isn’t going away tomorrow…but like you, saw the end of it…I was a SBSC PAL and knew that MSFT just paid lip service to SMB IT Pros just to ride that wave.

    Anyways…great post sir

    Stuart Crawford
    MSP Coach
    Burlington, ON

  2. Great article Vlad! Can’t wait for tomorrows post!

    -Ted

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