XD LiveOnline! Workshop Q&A

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This is regarding the blog post I made on Monday announcing ExchangeDefender’s XD LiveOnline! Workshop training series. To sum it up, it’s a free 4 hour at-your-desk training seminar for MSP business owners and employees. Our ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey platforms have grown so much both in size and cross-industry utilization that the void of practical business training is actually holding us (our partners) back. Yes, it’s free, sign up here.

That blog post lead to a lot of signups and even more questions and I hope to address some of the top ones here today and offer some more details:

Q: Can we sponsor this? Can we offer content in exchange for promotion? Can we buy this and private brand it for our own customers? Will you be selling the leads?

In short, no.

There will be no commercial content in the workshop – not from us, not from our vendors, not from our partners or industry in general. The whole focus of the event is on our partners success. I know, it sounds like a cliché but please check my track record: Much like everything I’ve ever done in this business, if you take care of your partners best interest first the rest will fall in place and we hope to bring in revenues on the back of service sales and on future training workshops, not through advertising.

The first event is free. The future quarterly workshops will be between $49 and $149 as described on the site.

Q: Why call it a workshop instead of a webinar or training event? What is this 30/60/90 thing? Will there be a certification badge or something I can use to show I’ve done this?

We decided to call it a workshop because bulk of the value you will receive is not during the 4 hours of the actual content/discussion. It’s before and after, allow me to explain:

Each event will have 4 core content areas (about 30 minutes each) followed by a Q&A from the audience (about 15-20 minutes each) followed by a short break.

Every event will be followed by a quiz, additional resources, attention report, and what we are calling a 30/60/90 day plan to put some of the lessons you learned at the event into actual, practical business activity.

The way we intend to structure this is to provide some leadup as well as followup to the event that just makes sense. Before the event you will receive a list of topics, presentations, resources and so on so you can best determine who needs to participate in the event. During the event we will be measuring how attentive you are – giving you a score at the end that shows if you were primarily in the webinar or primary on Facebook or otherwise distracted. At the conclusion of the event, we will send you a quiz and the result of it will give you an idea of how well you’ve comprehended the material we presented.

Finally, each workshop will have a set agenda. It could be to build a better web site, to implement a better process, to figure out a better way to document things, to establish some service or subscription that you need for your business. You know all those great ideas you get at conferences that you jot down and want to get done but you return to the office to get pounded by requests from all angles until you forget what you wanted to do in the first place? Well, I do. And one of the goals of the 30/60/90 day plan is that we will give you easy to follow project steps and remind you 30/60/90 days out what you should have accomplished by then. Call it accountability as a service. Call it nagging. You spent the time to learn something, it’s a waste if you don’t do anything with it. Unless you’re just burning money to be presented with good ideas so you can feel better… in which case I would like to invite you to my garage because there are far better ways of enjoying your money, trust me.

Q: What are the topics that you will discuss? Who will present them? Is this accredited training I can get CPE for?

The training and topics that we will be presenting are from the New York Times best sellers list, Nobel laureates, Harvard Business Review – as interpreted by us. No, you won’t get CPE or college credit for it and this is by no means University of Phoenix. We spend a lot of time in business books, training events, webinars.. and barely scrape 1-2% from each that we can implement in our business. We intend to share those 1-2% with you.

Think of it as a subscription to Cliffs Notes of the best business books out there, combined and delivered by the people that run the kind of business that you run.

We will likely deliver the first few ourselves and then involve our industry friends as well if there is interest in continuing this for more than one year.

Q: The time is inconvenient for me. How about a live in-person event?

I’m sorry. If there is sufficient international interest we will consider doing more than one of these. Unfortunately we are only human and are doing this on top of our daily responsibilities at ExchangeDefender to help our partners. You’re welcome to sign up and get the resources, recordings, etc and if there is a demand for it we will figure out a way to do it at other times as well.

We also have to be mindful of time constraints: There is only a 15-20 minute window for Q&A after each session. If we had 1,000 people in the session that Q&A would leave a lot of people disappointed and us working until 3AM to answer every question.

As for live events, no. The core value of this is that you can do it at work / at home / on the road and not be disconnected from business or incurring ridiculous fees on top for travel and hotel. Economies of scale also don’t agree with affordable training at which point vendors, advertisers and sponsors get involved and hotel food, drink and AV department get involved and suddenly you’re back at your typical “we told you it was training so thanks for showing up for that but in the meantime sit there while we sell you shit” conference.

Q: What are some of the topics you are considering? Is this for me (business owner) or my people?

Here are some of them that we have on the agenda, not sure in which order we will be presenting them or how we will be implementing the 30/60/90 plans:

Personal Info / Career management
Billing & Accounting
Open Forum / Townhall
Lead Generation
Social Media
Project Management
Resource Management

We will let you know which topics we will cover ahead of time so you can decide who should be watching it.

The content itself is general and practical in nature: it applies to everyone working in business no matter whether they own a business or work in one. We all struggle with the same problems and we recommend sending more than one person in along with you. You only get one quiz per employee so sitting in a conference room watching it as a group is probably not the most efficient way to do this but if you’re on a limited budget it will work.

Q: So are you now a training company as well?

No. But there is a tremendous need and we simply have nowhere to refer our partners for help. We have a very profitable and successful business but without our partners improving that kind of limits our potential as well, so it’s a win win.

This is not an ExchangeDefender exclusive event as it covers our Shockey Monkey clients as well. But I do not have any delusions of grandeur that this will become something as big as ExchangeDefender or Shockey Monkey, it’s just be something we do to help our partners for which we see no other viable alternative. We have a choice of doing nothing or doing something… so we are doing this.