Big Things In 2015

Boss
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It’s the time to look forward to 2016. What’s going to be big in 2016, Vlad, what do I focus on going forward?

I’ll get to that in about two weeks because I know everyone loves those posts but right now you ought to be focused on everything that went right and wrong in 2015. If you own or run a business odds are you aren’t getting paid any more just for showing up, there are no attendance and participation trophies in business (unless you’re an employee and even that’s more of a question with outsourcing). It’s time to take a long, good (or ugly) look at the year you are wrapping up and look at what went well and what went poorly.

Simply put: Your biggest opportunity to succeed immediately is to correct the problems and bad habits you’ve developed in your business over the year, rather than finding a new product, service, agenda or task you could pursue. And no time for doing that like the last two weeks of the year.

Here are things to go over:

– Is everyone happy?
– Why isn’t everyone happy?
– Are you up/down on the year? Why?
– Where are you wasting time?
– Are you utilizing your talent efficiently?
– If not, do you need new talent or new tasks?
– Are your clients happy? Have they all heard from you?
– Anyone stagnant? Cut/remove/repurpose.

ouchofficeThose should get you started. Explain your results against your agenda and see where you came short. This should be an ongoing process anyhow but we all know things tend to slip off the plate from time to time – so no excuses.

Sometimes people get caught up in the positive vibe around the holiday season and refuse to look at the ugliness during the seemingly only calendar convenient time of the year with some breathing room. If you put that off, your problems continue to linger, you don’t make as much progress and this same time next year you’re wondering why you aren’t making more money. This is not about being the Grinch and ruining your Christmas, it’s about looking at things that didn’t play out in 2015 – finding out why – and correcting it so that next year is more prosperous.

You cannot have it all. And the competition has never been tougher while making $ has never been less certain or predictable. I always say on Facebook “times is tough” and with fewer and fewer things being given, easy and simple the more you have to step your game up to be successful in the long term. Everyone can get lucky briefly, long term success takes long term commitment.

You can’t look at 2016 until you’ve looked long and hard at 2015. Hope it was a great one – and to those of you that work with us at ExchangeDefender, I hope we were a big part of your success so far!

Oversimplified IT

Boss, IT Business
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One of the most difficult things to discuss with my partners is the obsession with process and details. As a former techie and a developer, I understand, you want to bring the same sense of analytics, control and testing to your business development. You want to anticipate problems, solutions to those problems, document and prepare for even the most remote of unlikely scenarios…

And inevitably you will fail.

Business is not about that. Business development sure as hell isn’t.

Business moves fast. This is why spending enormous amounts of time discussing and anticipating issues is counterproductive in business – you are in front of a potential client to solve a problem, not introduce them to every other problem down the road that they may encounter. Would you like to know why? Because they see the existing, current, real problem as an issue that is a bottleneck in their business.

Business outcomes can be unpredictable. Marketing for example. What you put in is not always going to be what comes out. We’ve spent a better part of the year on our 2016 marketing plan where we do events for our partners – we could have thrown it together in a quarter but we didn’t want to wing that commitment – and in the end it might be a flop, which is why we don’t only do one thing.

Business is all about service. Do not overthink it – the only reason someone is paying you in IT (don’t kid yourself, your skills aren’t universal you’re not a doctor or a lawyer or anyone with a shred of regulatory approval/control) is because you are willing to do something they don’t want to do themselves.

I’m not encouraging people to be reckless.

I am encouraging you to move faster. If business is fast, with unpredictable outcomes and is all about how you can serve your client – spend less time imagining problems and more time asking people what else you could do for them. Ditto for those of you working for someone else as an employee – nobody ever got fired for wanting to do more work. #initiative

And if you doubt me here is some dream crushing as a CEO of a software business: It’s still going to be shit. If you were good at anticipating problems you’d work in QA not in business – stuff is going to crash, cloud is going to go down, Internet will get slow and random things will fail. It’s a race – get more faster. It’s Friday, get to it.

Profiting vs. Commoditizing

Cloud, GTD, IT Business
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Email is a commodity as far as IT goes. Has been for a better part of a decade and with the few exceptions (compliance, audit, disaster recovery) not a highly profitable task without massive scale.

Two years ago we started offering migrations as a part of our hosted email model, then extended that with migrations of compliance archiving products as our competitors started going out of business, started piling on support, billing, etc to get our partners a profit profile that is consistent and virtually eliminates the costs associated with email support entirely.

As you may imagine, this is something that appeals to small business IT the most as they have the least amount of time and flexibility to provide these services around the clock profitably, consistently and effectively. And, much like myself, you’d be completely wrong in that assumption.

Here is what my typical SMB partner discussion goes like:

Vlad: So here is what we do [… blah blah …] does any of that seem like it would help.
Partner: We resell Office 365/Google Apps/Appliance X but we don’t make much margin there.
Vlad: Right, so (repeating) here is what we do that eliminates the cost structure of it all..
Partner: But that costs more.

Sometimes it gets tiring trying to convince people whose business model is convincing other businesses to outsource IT to outsource the most expensive and least profitable piece of that business. But that’s my job and here is the other part of it..

As I’ve been talking here for the past year or so, this is the gold rush moment for SMB IT – and we’re doing all we can to help partners all over the spectrum to get to the cloud faster and more profitably. The more clients you have the larger market you serve the more services you can provide. We’ve spent better part of the year developing those and we’ll be launching them in 2016.

Here is how I see it: The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the service, not the price. We’ve raised the price in 2014 and will likely do so in 2016 and we’ve grown right along with it – people don’t sit around trying to knock $1 off the price (some, like me, might try to do so just as a sport) but they go livid when things don’t work. That’s how we continue to build the business and how we view the future – yeah, we’ll lose people to Outlook.com or Gmail but I can show you the numbers of our archiving, encryption, compliance and services that come on top of it that people love to pay for.

I used love for a reason, mostly because I hear it a lot. When things go well and when things go wrong. “I love you guys because you have to deal with that stuff and I hate it.”

I am always asked about “What’s next?” yet the response is rather boring and strategic: Find out what I can build scale at, generate profits, outsource annoyances and keep delivering services that others hate being accountable for. Some folks consider commodity as something that lacks value – but if people need it and rely on it who am I not to profit from it? You think the Walmart heirs are crying themselves to sleep?

What this simple eye test says about your values and IT salary potential

Boss, Humor
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There is an entire pseudo-science dedicated to telling managers just what kind of potential employee they might be hiring. Are you a leader or a follower? What personality type are you? What four letters does Briggs Myers spot you as? What’s your DISC profile?

In reality just about everyone that can figure out an iPhone can figure out what the right answer is for the role they are applying for. These things become somewhat of an astrology, palm reading, biorythm, ora glow, horoscope, etc – utter nonsense that’s true enough if you believe hard enough and are refusing to consider every other time when those things are just dead wrong.

But… I, Vlad Mazek, Certified Life Coach & Nutritional Expert, have come up with a fool proof way to determine if you should fire your staff and replace them with someone new.

wowclickhere

Step 1: Post the image above to your Facebook wall.

Step 2: Most of your employees will ignore it. Smart. If your employees like your link, they are probably harmlessly wasting time. If they comment on the link they are likely bored, reassign them to data entry. If, god forbid, they share the link as something profound fire them immediately and sue them for theft of company resources (that way you don’t have to worry about being called for references and employment checks as Google will just turn up the case details).

I call this the Mazek-Goldegg Social Media Profiler. You can read all about it in my 240 page book that will be coming out in January. Do you want to find the hard working, ethical, driven, considerate and reasonably intelligent workforce that will thrive with an in your business serving your best interests each and every day, guaranteed? If you read that run on pile of garbage more than once and thought it made perfect sense there is a marketing toolkit I’d like to sell you. Only $999 if you pay right now, breaks even with the first employee you shitcan through the proven peer group reviewed process.

</rant>

Joke aside, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and have closed November on a high note. I wish you lots of success, happiness (and less idiots sharing bullshit on your feed) in December and hope you are working hard on your plans for 2016.

How to close 2015

IT Business
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Now I know these sorts of posts aren’t popular (after all, everyone wants uninformed predictions about 2016 ala Nostradumbass of IT) but they are necessary. As you know, I’m a huge fan of not fighting the calendar and doing business every single day – but towards the end of the year you need to kick into a new gear because people with big budgets and decisions that need to be made are making them as things slow down – December. So here is a quickie checklist that I go through. Hope it works for you.

Focus on company
– Sit down with the CFO, CPA, another CPA and discuss new tax strategies, rules, etc. If you employ people in multiple states (or do business on multiple continents) it’s time to look over the new rules.
– Once you know what the rules are… design a game plan around it. At ExchangeDefender we are launching 3 major new products and one large line of business, all of which we need to let people know about before the 1st.

Focus on staff
– What do you need to do in order to keep them employed? My people never believe me when I say “I am the most thankful for you because without you, I’d have to do your job” – But I used to, after all this at one point was just me. And every day that I don’t have to think about something is a day in paradise city. Here are some things to consider:

– Not everyone is the same

– Everyone doesn’t get motivated by the same benefits

– It’s usually something stupid that they need/want that you never would have imagined. But that’s sort of the thing, when you have a grain of sand in your shoe and you have to deal with it every day.. it’s a big deal

– “What do you want to do next year” – Everyone has projects, ideas, kids, life issues, etc. Sort them out.

Focus on clients
– Thanks. Thank you for all your money.
– What can we do better? It’s clear you keep on paying us for some reason, what else can we do better to make your life easier. Just like employees, everyone you deal with has a relationship with you and it’s on you to make everyone happy.
– How is business? What sort of issues are your clients facing? How can you help?

WAYWO

This is pretty much a boss shirt at OWN but “What are you working on?” is an ever present thing if you’re in IT – our field changes all the time and if you keep on doing the same thing one day you’ll lift your head up from the desk and be out of a job.

The last part of the last month of the year is an inward look to evaluate what you are doing to drive your business forward, to make your employees more fulfilled and what your clients need you to do. What are you doing to make people happier? More successful? More effective? More valuable?

I always shake my head during the partner calls when people say “Nothing new, just busy” to me. Business is an evolution of your service – to your staff, to your clients, to your community. You need to be moving, not busy. Really busy all of a sudden – outsource, contract, chop, sell: You shouldn’t be busy. You should be profitable and valuable. Busy is the word people who stuff envelopes for $7.75/hr do at home because they looked at classifieds in the newspaper at the low point in their life and ended up in a job about to be nuked by a robot. It’s for telemarketers. It’s for burger flippers during lunch rush. It’s not for IT. If you’re busy, you’re screwed.

Close 2015 like 2016 will be the best year of your business. For ExchangeDefender, Own Web Now, Shockey Monkey, etc it has been and it will be – and I thank you all for that. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Is strong encryption a fundamental civil liberty

IT Culture, Rant
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For a moment let’s ignore political affiliations. Let’s ignore whatever you may feel towards Snowden’s brain dump that exposed just how much the US government violates your privacy. Let’s ignore that our government is thoroughly incapable of preventing terrorist attacks: From commander in chief holding his dick and reading kids stories (while passenger aircraft are slamming into WTC and Pentagon) to the tens of thousands of TSA agents that continue to let stuff slip. Let’s even ignore the nationality, religion, motive, mental health – We live in a nation where we are getting murdered without regard for the color of our skin or the content of our character. It’s sad.

There are widespread calls from our politicians, lobbyists and virtually every other scared mouthpiece on TV to further violate your privacy by putting loopholes and backdoors into encryption products and services you use every single day.

The argument is as follows:

(paraphrasing) “These terrorists are using strong encryption to go dark and we have no ways or means to monitor or track them. We are asking companies like Apple, Microsoft, etc to create backdoors in their systems so that government can break encryption and help protect the country by spying on the terrorism suspects”

Sounds seemingly harmless, right?

Except when those backdoors go in, it’s just a matter of time till they are hacked, exposed and used to violate your right to privacy.

Except that there is literally no oversight over who has access to these systems, for what purpose and under what terms.

Except that government already has access to tons of this information already and is incapable (or unwilling to act on it).

Think about what is sitting in your iPhone right now – your bank accounts, your pictures, your home surveillance system (alarm, camera, thermostat), your travel patterns and your location data everything down to your blood pressure and whether you had a nightmare last night.

Giving government the right to break that encryption on demand, without oversight, without due process and without accountability – when they have proven that they cannot prevent disasters even when they have full intelligence, plenty of warning and time – should give you pause to hopefully ask yourself for what purpose they actually want all this data for if it’s not for catching criminals and preventing mass murders.

Digital Jihad

Now for a moment allow me to get more specific on the subject of sophistication of planning a terrorist attack in plain sight. ISIS, ISIL, IS or whatever you call them are not hiding: They are publishing stuff using their Twitter accounts, just like you and me. They even have a magazine.

Why isn’t our government shutting those accounts down? Why aren’t they taking their Youtube channels and videos down? Why are their forums still online? Why does the US government – through extreme threats, subpoenas and law enforcement force Internet Service Providers to keep these sites up even after they violate terms of service and cause the said company a public black eye as a terrorism supporter – because the government needs to be able to track them.

So aspiring terrorists, in the third world are granted more civil liberties and free public hate speech but US citizens are being asked to forgo their right to privacy in order to do what?

We live in a free country. We pay a huge price for that.

Let’s not allow handful of would be terrorists half the world away to take away our rights, our liberties and our privacy. If the US government feels so strongly about censorship, privacy violations, curbing free speech and so on may I recommend the following: Go after Youtube. Go after Twitter. Go after Facebook (WhatsApp). Go after Snapchat. All of these are for profit corporations based in United States – shut off the terrorists access to social media, to their funding – which they are doing in public.

As we have seen after 9/11, government is very quick to take civil liberties away (Patriot act) and very slow to give it away. It’s quick to detain, harass and intimidate citizens (TSA) but remains completely unaccountable and begging for even more.

And just one final observation:

If terrorists truly hate America, our freedoms, our way of life – then they are doing a marvelous job of helping our government take them away from us.

Terrorist state, half the world away, which there is lots of evidence was set up and funded by us (along with pictures of their leadership with Senator McCain) launches a small scale terrorist attack and all of a sudden US citizens should give up their privacy?

Think about it. Then go download PGP.

Open API vs. Fighting Hobos With A Broken Beer Bottle

Humor, IT Business
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There is a reason why 40oz beer comes in a plastic bottle, they know that by the time your life has fallen to the point that you’ve pounded one by yourself some bloodshed is about to occur. Or in the IT world, you’ve reached the level of being a product manager of an application framework, aka API:

API: Aspiring Programmer Improvises (better known by it’s marketing term Application Programming Interface) is a Buddhist take on the modern software development where two otherwise unrelated parties independently conspire to induce great pain and suffering on a third party unintentionally. Have you ever wanted to punch someone in the face really hard for no reason but were afraid of the consequences?

Fear not. You can be an API developer.

Now, I cannot say what I really want to say on this topic because people get really upset. Here is how API championing work is done.

Step 1: Someone from marketing fails at marketing. You can’t trust those people with swag anymore but people like them because they handed out a lot of swag in their lifetime so now they are responsible for the least accountable part of the development process: convincing other companies to put their intro level developer apprentices and interns into splicing the crap together so it barely passes Q&A. On a Friday.

Step 2: Well, thing is, we don’t really have the money for this. Or time to train you. Or really any motivation to explain this to you but here are 3 year old help files we wrote and here is this guys phone number – he refactored our code a while back and almost has it working so bother him.

Step 3: Thing barely works. Intern uses Babelfish to translate what he thinks his project does and sends it off to marketing. They set aside $50,000 for banners, booths and collateral explaining how this will make their piece of software bigger than Microsoft Windows in the 90s and perhaps even more relevant to modern life than fire and round wheels.

That is exactly how it works. Every software company, ever.

Now this is where the people who don’t work in software development should really just STFU and repost crap fed to them by marketing.. but they don’t.. so let me clear it up for you. It’s not about Open API. Those words don’t mean what you think they mean. Literally everyone will open up their API (i.e. introduce you to the spaghetti code written by last summers intern) just to avoid a lawsuit. They don’t break competitiveness by “opening” their API or providing this mythical “intellectual property” any developer working for $3/hr in Bangalore can refactor and implement. No. The way you crush your software business enemies isn’t with lawyers and restrictions and NDA and confidentiality. From the Art of War by Sun Tzu:

To defeat your software enemies you must give them the illusion of weakness. Open your API. Then defeat them through plausibly deniable incompetence, constant changes, lack of documentation, lack of accountability and robo-updated support requests sent to the purgatory (aka QA/dev).

By now most of real developers are ripping out their hair. Kiddding. You’re already bald. But seriously, let’s kill this bullshit myth of open API. It’s not about defeating your enemy with a “no” – it’s about perpetual emasculation of their credibility through constant changes, delays, promised features, bad documentation, and so on. If you’re not evil enough already, follow these simple steps:

Illusion of an API is more powerful than an API

The best way to get people excited about working with you is to completely get them vested into your mutual failure. Invite every developer you know to your development meeting and treat them with the Magna Carta of false hope: a yellow note pad. Sit in front of the room with a pen in hand and say “What would you like us to open up in our API next?”

This same methodology is used by 900 sex lines (are those still around?) where you pay $3.99 for the first minute and $0.99 for each additional minute as you explain exactly what kind of fantasy you want. Except with the removed benefit of having to keep your pants on. Euphoria is still the same. Sell them on the fantasy of two unrelated platforms freely exchanging information.

BYOB

Bring your own bastard. Other developers might be snarky, sarcastic or god forbid actually call you out on your bullshit. It’s good to have a real developer there, crouching in the corner behind the podium to assertively dismiss any idea or misconceptions that might lead to additional work. Remember, it’s not about opening up your API and creating further workload that won’t give you any additional revenue streams. It’s all about hope and dreams.

If you and your bastard developer dance well the whole room will leave with hope that things will work but everyone will mutually hope it doesn’t go beyond people actually trying to use the frankenstein and lead to more support.

But that one dude will still try

Some people have too much time on their hands. So they’ll try to turn your pile of body parts, failed projects, Fiver contributions, open source files dragged into the wrong folder and a company logo into a fully functioning system. Let’s face it, you’ve failed as a product manager. Take accountability, admit fault and resign. Or…. Make those bitches pay:

Step 1: Randomly change your API without notice. This is the simplest way to break someone at their core and send them down the swirling vortex or uninformed people and half hearted escalations. It buys you at least a month or two. It’s like giving someone an overcooked steak and a double edged knife to cut it with – the harder they try to prove it’s not their fault the more they bleed!

Step 2: Keep the API the same but change data types. This way you can claim that your API has not changed but it will break the integration nonetheless. You used to have a txt field? Well toodaaloo motherfucker, it’s encoded HTML now.

Step 3: Rate limits without documentation. Some people will straight up make it past the hair pulling and bleeding all over their keyboard – too late for Sun Tzu methods now – it’s time to go on full Chinese water torture now. Drip. Drip. Drip. Make your system randomly drop API calls and requests at certain hour. On certain days. For certain vendors. Make sure you have your vendors pass an ID string so you can randomly discriminate against them. Don’t bother randomizing this, even when you get called out on it so what – it’s their word against yours, here have a free tshirt.

Step 4: Come up with a new API. Let’s face it, eventually people will grow tired of your incompetent/evil stuff and to fix this stalemate they will fix it with the new API. That is still in progress. By a developer whose skills are still in progress. Who wants to earn the respect of his elders through revolutionary ninja code fixes and brand new code framework toolkits that will definitely never grow defunct when their developer gets a real job. Bonus: Newbie has no f’n clue how to optimize software either, making the new API more inefficient as it gets more users. It’s how developers reach enlightenment and get promoted to actual software projects – when their initial stumbles work but produce catastrophic rewrite-from-scratch-worthy crap down the road.

And there you have it folks. The completely accurate and factually correct assessment of how to look like the nicest, most open, developer friendly and growing platform in public while being a complete sadistic sociopath hell bent on making your partners realize it would take less effort to write their own platform then spend another fucking minute supporting yours. But this is of course totally unrelated to this.

Now the 64k question: Who wants to be an integration vendor? Smile

My Week With Microsoft SurfaceBook

Gadgets
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Last week Microsoft unleashed the Surfacebook – Windows 10 powered laptop with a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet. What’s not to love? I ordered one in hopes that it would be as awesome as all Microsoft MVPs assure me their Surface tablets are. I blogged my first impressions here, it is an impressive looking device.

With all the Windows 10 features it actually is the most impressive laptop on the market by a long shot. You can pick a complex password and only login with a four digit PIN. Too much work? You can set it to recognize your face so every time you open it up it will automatically log you in. Enabling “Ok Cortana” prompts allows you to talk to it and accomplish many tasks as you would on your iPhone with Siri. To top it off, device is absolutely gorgeous!

If I were to struggle to find a single fault with it.. I guess it would be the fact that it didn’t really work.

Crashes Galore

I have a Windows 10 desktop PC that is a few years old and I have never seen a blue screen on it. On Surfacebook I got a few. Each day. To keep things fair, I only used Microsoft apps and the only third party stuff I installed were Chrome, Firefox and Skype.

Nearly every time I detached the screen from the laptop the thing crashed. I was so thrilled when I finally detached it to watch a Netflix movie when it didn’t crash – just to crash in the worst possible way when I attached it back. The power button on the top of it is merely a suggestion in those situation, as the speakers blared the fraction of the second of the movie it got frozen on holding the power button did pretty much nothing. Nor did closing the lid.

Weird Ergonomics

Surfacebook doesn’t feel like a notepad – in a traditional sense where the LCD panel is quite light and skinny and can be pulled up with one finger. Not so with Surfacebook, you need to use both hands to pry it open and even then it’s not really easy.

The screen itself for some inexplicable reason doesn’t come with the Surface infinity kickstand so when you detach it from the base you’re lugging around a 13” piece of glass basically begging for it to be broken and tossed around on the desk. Unfortunately, iFixIt reported that it’s the least repairable notebook on the market so while this might be a mistake you can make with your iPad it’s going to be a lot tougher to handle with a $2,500 Surfacebook.

Everything About It Feels Wrong

Sound sucks. Keyboard sucks.

Touchpad… dear god… English is still pretty new to me so I don’t know the word that matches my level of anger with the touchpad.

Using the Microsoft touchpad on Surfacebook is kind of like getting to know a new lover. There is a way she likes to be touched in a sensual mood, like when you’re scrolling from a document and every now and then you might hit that special spot that makes her tingle and accidentally scroll down 5 pages. Then there are times when she is kinky, like when you’re trying to select a piece of text in a middle of a web page, no matter how you angle it she swings back in the opposite direction. Sometimes she is tired, no matter how gently or how rough you touch her it does nothing. If I were to pick my favorite it’s when she is clearly lost in a fantasy… you swipe up, down, click.. and she closes Excel, opens whatever was behind it on the desktop 80 times and you just do your best not to get consumed in her passion and… #50shadesofSurfacebook

So yea, it’s like that – except you got fucked by a $2,500 laptop.

Of course, you can always carry a mouse with you. Along with a separate tablet case. And a kickstand for the tablet portion. And by the time you get everything Sufacebook needs to be perfect you’re pretty much stuck having to check her because there is no way all that gear fits into a backpack.

Conclusion

Microsoft Surfacebook is gorgeous. Beautiful. Powerful. Flexible. Almost too good to be true.

And then, much like the mirage that is getting a hooker in Las Vegas, that gorgeous girl turns out to be a dude. That you need a whole lot of parts to make work the way you want to that isn’t anything you actually wanted from a laptop.

I wrapped it up and sent it back to Microsoft.

P.S. I would like to apologize to the Las Vegas hookers. Particularly the ones that are transitioned/ing – I have never used your services and I did not mean to insult you by comparing you to what is likely the worst laptop I’ve had since a Dell about a decade ago.

My Availability in November

Boss
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Welcome to November – two more months left in this calendar year and that’s a ton of business to be done and lots of setting up for CY’16 so if you need me or we aren’t working as much or as well as we should give me a call. With that in mind, until I work out the bugs with the cloning machine here is my calendar:

November 23-28 New York City

December 25 – Jan 1 Paris, Amsterdam

If you happen to be in either place during this time and want to catch up for lunch or dinner, let me know in advance. Otherwise just shoot me a meeting request via email and let’s go from there.

Next Two Weeks

There are like 6 conferences happening in Orlando right now, along with a packed schedule that I happen to have over the next few weeks as we’re trying to launch big marketing and partner strategy stuff – so we’re about as booked as it gets for things like in person meetings and office visits. Here is where I will be over the next few days:

Fri Nov 6 – Magic Kingdom
Sat Nov 7 – Gainesville UF game, Epcot run from 11 PM – 4 AM
Sun Nov 8 – More Epcot Wine & Dine
Nov 9 – Nov 12 – Slammed.
Sat Nov 14 – Gainesville UF game
Sun Nov 15 – Epcot Wine & Dine

If you’re around any of those over the next week or two, let me know and let’s catch up. Otherwise I’m kind of slammed. If you know me from my 20s or early 30s where I slept 2 hours a night and had 3 lunches and then went to back to back parties.. That dude got a wife and kids and multiple businesses and started running and he (probably) won’t be at the bar at 2 AM. I know, I miss him too but life is good.

So drop me an email. Look forward to DDoSing my calendar for the rest of the year and I think you’re going to love all the stuff we’ve been cooking up for ‘16.

Life after IT

Boss, IT Business, Rant
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Every now and then I have what I like to call existential crisis conversations with my partners: I don’t know what I’m going to do next?!?!

And to an extent, I understand why some people get into this frenzy – you’re being fed a steady diet of “what’s next” usually by people who flame out and are back at doing the exact same thing a year later. Folks… I’ll say this slowly: that’s not success. For every guy that loads up on debt, gets lucky, sells his business and makes a killing there are millions of those that don’t. And like I said, if that were a winning strategy those folks would be out on a yacht, not in a job. Or worse, same or lower job.

So now that we’ve clarified that bit of fantasy..

Success in IT business is no different than success in any other business – you learn to benefit from change, you learn how to hire and train people to manage a business and you pursue the next idea.

Not all ideas will be winners.

But once you know how to build, manage and scale a winning idea you start to diversify, you start to invest and you begin to invest in ideas and people – not in the process and perfection. I’ve seen so many people fail trying to be perfect operators of a business and end up failing to deal with the change.

This is why it hurts me so much when I see CEOs of companies out going to trade shows that double down on sales, process and marketing. No. No. No. No. You’ve already proven you know how to sell, market and implement stuff enough that someone paid you to get you to the point of having employees and enough time away from clients to attend that show – now is not the time to invest in yourself – unless you intend to never get ahead. This is where you invest in your people, send them to these conferences, give them ownership of tasks, projects and services. It’s hard to give up being a control freak but nobody is coming to take away the CEO job – so move on.

So the answer – what are you doing next? First, what else are you doing? What sorts of investments do you have? What other side businesses do you have? What does your portfolio look like? You can run more than one business effectively at a time – and if you can’t then you have the wrong people working for you. If you can’t trust your team then you need to work on that first.

Perfection is not the be all end all of business. Selling your business is not the goal. Entrepreneurship isn’t about finding a greater fool (because if you’re selling you’re admitting you don’t know how to have it make any more profits than it’s currently making) it’s about creating multiple profit streams.