Microsoft Small Business Summit a Failure?

Events, Microsoft, SMB

There is a lot of public bashing about Microsoft Small Business Summit being a failure. From webcasts crashing to the poor application design all the way to the following line mentioned in the newsgroups:

"This has got to be the cheesiest setup ran by MS that I've seen and certainly would not make a small biz owner confident in going MS." – James Barrett

Ouch. Most of the fault here should go to the incompetent web developer Microsoft hired to put this thing together for them. I mean, when you're designing a nationwide campaign that will have broad appeal and require massive bandwidth do you trust your webmaster that can't figure out his way out of FrontPage/Dreamweaver or do you put it in the hands of people that run porn sites? No really, who do you think is more competent? Art school dropout or someone that needs to push thousands of simultaneous streams of Jenna Jameson without a nanosecond buffering pause? Nuff said. But lets stop bashing for a moment and consider what a success this has been for Microsoft and for small business everywhere. As someone that heavily promotes Microsoft SST presentations (TS2, Connections, Technet) I can tell you that the hardest thing to do is get a busy small business entrepreneur to take four hours away from their business in the middle of the day. It is down right impossible. Every single event I go to has roughly 400 invitations sent out to customers and potential customers — roughly 10-20 actually show up. Why? Time is money, and time from 8:00am – 5:00pm is even more money! I think that the idea of reaching these people over the web is absolutely brilliant. Really, I do. And despite engineering failures the site is pretty straight forward – watch the show, get the kit, find a local shop to help you with your small business technology. It looks good. Also keep in mind that this is the very first try by Microsoft to do something of this scale. Yes they have tons of LiveMeeting presentations every day but the attendance on those is dreadful – most of them have less than 30 people and the biggest one I've ever been on had just a touch over 100. They knew they could not pull this off in house, they just prospected their vendor poorly. We have all done that. Let's just try to be thankful that this event actually happened and that future ones are better. We are all trying to make small business aware of their need for stable managed networks and software and any effort on that part, no matter how poorly executed, is an A+ in my book.

9 Responses to Microsoft Small Business Summit a Failure?

  1. Nick McTare says:

    wtf? this is the first time I am hearing about this!!!!

    I thought you were supposed to inform us of all these events and shit?

  2. happyfunboy says:

    yep…with better backend execution…this would be a grand-slam for small biz.

    the content has been a good mix of 4 different tracks.

    and, other than the technical difficulties…the summit has been worth tuning in to listen.

    however…i didn’t recommend it to any of my clients…and i’m glad i didn’t.

    me putting up with the terrible logistical problems is on thing.

    asking my clients to put up with that?

    oh hell no!

  3. MJ Petersen says:

    If you made it past the glitches and problems the content was actually fairly on the money. They were quite low level and strategic which is what works the best in small business. However, I do not think many people have made it past the problems if I hardly got in there. Who knows, perhaps free office is incentive enough but I think James is right on this being sub-par for Microsoft.

  4. Anonymous says:

    ROFL. I attended a single seminar yesterday and got 40 messages asking me to rate it. Great job guys!

  5. Vlad says:


    Since when am I the Microsoft Event announcement monkey? Here’s your refund for reading my blog.


  6. Ghengis Khan says:

    Day three seems that they have gotten things improved and functional; however, that might just be the net affect of the loss of attendees who gave up after the first couple of days. Eric’s licensing event more than a few hundred.

    If you attended any of the events on the first day, even but for a partial, make sure to evaluate it so that MS learns how awful that experience was.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I received well over 3000 messages from them. My god have they not done enough to alienate small business from their products?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I saw three of them and for the most part content was shit. Not only were they factually incorrect but the presentations were piss poor.

    I like your enthusiasm Vlad but sorry, this does not cut it for the biggest tech company out there. Even venture-fund startup crackbabies could do better, Microsoft ought to be ashamed of how poorly executed and organized this was.

    They did one heck of a job marketing it but you should not be defending this broken pos.

  9. Vlad says:


    Two things:
    If you want your feedback to be taken seriously and even considered as anything even remotely unrelated to bitching and whining please provide your name and/or your contact info. Microsoft folks troll my sites all the time and have been known to contact the source to straighten things out and correct any problems that may be there.

    Second, there is such a thing as feedback and then there is senseless whining and bitching. How are you possibly being damaged by this? How is this impacting your ability to do business with Microsoft? How is this impeding you from going about your day-to-day that you can have such a strong opinion about something you are getting for free?

    I mean come on give them a friggin break already. Do you do everything right on your first attempt? If you do, I want your resume and you can have my job.


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