ConnectWise IT Nation, State of Vlad, Cheap Xerox

Boss, Cloud, ExchangeDefender, IT Business
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It’s been almost a week since the last blog post. I’m ashamed not only because it’s been a week since the last post but because I’ve written dozens of them in that time but just haven’t hit publish… yet. On a certain level I’m starting to wonder if certain things need to even be said anymore or if anyone is listening. So if you are, feel free to scroll down to the part that says ConnectWise. Otherwise, here is some stuff that I can’t figure out.

1– Screw Karl Palachuk. Not the guy himself, he’s awesome and I’m proud to count him as a friend that knows the real Vlad. But his work pisses me off at times, particularly Relax Focus Succeed. I’d say go buy the book and read it but I know you won’t. I did. The big idea is that workaholics tend to be less successful and probably cause a lot more problems for themselves but not being able to distance themselves from their work or enjoy their life. What pisses me off is that he is right – or perhaps the fact that I’m just not like that. I don’t “relax” – I just think of something else I could occupy all my time with. Then I look at some of my friends who seem to be on vacations more often than they are at work and how their businesses are crumbling.. I just haven’t found a substitute for hard work (and lot’s of it) and the suggestion that relaxing instead of cramming is better just bugs me.

2– Things sure seem easier. I don’t really have any posts in the queue or additional thoughts on The death of a MSP salesman or where the VAR/MSP businesses that focus on dying infrastructure are going. I have less and less of those discussions with partners these days and things played out pretty much exactly how I wrote they would play out here for for years. My day-to-day is about taking great ideas and figuring out how stuff we’re already doing fits the mold, there is no massive paradigm shift.

3– I have run out of people to be angry at. I used to be disappointed when we lost business to a competitor or when partners told me about how much better solution X was than us. Now I just kind of feel sorry for them all. I think a major factor here is just how successful we are and how much money we are making – individual features and lost deals are so small in context of how big everything has become. I used to talk to folks that just didn’t get it or never acted on something that would be great for them and their clients – now I just feel bad for them. I feel even worse for my competitors – from seeing just how hard they have to work and travel and how many stones they have to turn to find that next person… to the ones working for my large nameless competitors that seem to have figured out they want to kill each other on price but all they seem to have managed to do is completely dishearten their employees. I no longer work on the guts of the solution so I don’t take it personally; I no longer face competition that isn’t a step or two behind us and that is making it difficult to be mad at someone and work with incredible passion that comes from competition. I’m only focused on making everything I’m making better every day – and that generates a lot less blog therapy.

All in all, I am feeling pretty good and extremely fortunate and thankful for what I’m doing, where I’m at and all the awesome people and partners we have in this business. I don’t really feel like I need to put up Vladville scarecrows up and make scared partners talk to Andy Goodman first 🙂

Now.. ConnectWise

I’ll be there next month for HTG and for ConnectWise when the big show kicks off at the beginning of November. ExchangeDefender will be there officially as a sponsor and we’ll have a booth and a golf hole and all that usual stuff. Be nice and don’t ask about Shockey Monkey, my team will have a lot of stuff to talk to you about when it comes to our new ConnectWise integration. As a matter of fact (and respect) we won’t even discuss all the changes with Shockey Monkey until the ConnectWise IT Nation is over. I know you’re curious but if you can’t find enough stuff to be excited about at the IT Nation there is something wrong with you.

I probably will not be at the event in a very official role.

Last year I wasn’t scheduled to be at ConnectWise at all – my second kid was about to be born and I didn’t even bother asking for a show pass. But whenever I could sneak out I would go and spend a few hours at the bar talking to partners about what we are doing. It was the absolute best thing I ever did.

I showed up at the event and sat at the bar. I sent out an email to our partners and asked them to send me appointment requests.

Then as they sat down I handed them a cheap xerox copy of the features we’re thinking about working on and asked them to rank it in the order of priority. It had everything from stuff we had nearly finished to the sci-fi features we didn’t even have on the drawing board. I sat there, chatted with my partners, got a sense of what we should focus on and for the most part just chatted about business in general and where we’re collectively going.

Now don’t take the “sci-fi” to mean things that we had no intention of developing. Some (honestly – most) of my more ambitious plans are really just good and well intentioned ideas – but without pitching it to people and getting the feedback and ideas and help I don’t really know how to go from point A to B to C and so on. We figure it out collectively.

I’d like to say just one thing – A year after that initial survey, all but one feature that was on the list has been finished and by IT nation, 100% of that feature list should be done.

This is why I always talk about the importance of our partners to our business. I could take that list and give it to the people that work on these products and services and tell them – Hey, I know you’d rather get A or B or C done. But our partners need K sooner, shift gears and work on that – and as much as everyone that works for me likes to argue with me and play me out to be an idiot with a thick accent, they take your opinions and demands a lot more seriously. It was evidence of what we needed to do – and I look forward to doing that again this year!

So there you go folks. Life is good. We delivered. You made us extremely successful. I don’t even feel compelled to link to the partner application or pimp anything in any way – just thank you from the bottom of my heart and my money bin, look forward to all the awesome stuff that’s coming.

P.S. I’ll be in Scottsdale, Arizona this week for the nAble conference. If you’d like to meet or have a drink or see any of the cool stuff that we’ll show off next month – drop me an email.