Archive for June, 2008

Welcome, Steve Wright new Group Leader of AMITPRO

After a smooth transition, Steve Wright of BMS Digital Solutions in Leicestershire, is taking over as the Group Leader of AMITPRO from myself. It’s great to see that the Group has matured enough to be able to do this and have the members work so closely together.

Steve has been a part of the Group from the early days and I only have respect for those people who are willing to take on these roles. Steve has been in business a long time and runs a very successful IT Managed Services business which is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist and Certified Partner. I know he’s someone that within the Group that we look up to in business terms and value his advice.

Steve has also been a major contributor to the SBS Community and regularly provides feedback to Microsoft on all things SBSC, as well as writing a blog.

I’m still going to be a regular attendee of the Group and supporting in any way that I can.

Congratulation Steve and thanks for volunteering.

Robbie's Guide to SBSC Partner Engagement

It’s no secret that I’ve always been a fan of Robbie’s approach to Partner Engagement when he was here in the UK and I’ve been following his Aussie Blog with interest. He still gets mentioned a lot here in the UK, which is a testament to the mark he made.

His current approach in Australia is a great example of just putting in the long hard hours and pounding the streets talking to SBSC Partners face to face. One thing that caught my attention was that he’s talking of taking content and information out first to the SBS Groups. It ties in so much with my own thinking and what I’ve been suggesting to Microsoft here in the UK recently. There have been a number of people at Microsoft UK who have been getting out to the SBS Groups including Sonal Gathani, Emma Antunes, David Overton, Chris Parkes, Emily Lambert, Danny Ovens and Dominic Gill. I’m sure there are others but these are the ones that I know of.

Whilst every new SBSC Programme Lead has to find their own way of working, I will certainly be pointing to some of the learnings that Robbie is highlighting on his blog. I’ve chatted with Emily (the new SBSC Programme Manager) recently and she’s aware of the challenge but she’s also up for the challenge as well. She’ll get my full support if the engagement will be focused around the SBS Groups. I’ll also be telling her to be open with us and tell us when what we are asking is just not realistic and doesn’t fit around Microsoft’s priorities.

Also check out the feedback from the Aussie SBSC Roundtable Discussions, sound familiar? Surprising how we all pretty much want the same thing! The challenges faced by SBSC Partners the world over are the same.

Microsoft, work with your most proactive SBSC Partners

That’s my message! It’s simple, it’s succinct and everything follows from that. Forget the "scale" thing because it just doesn’t work. Run X number of free marketing campaigns and not enough Partners will take it up, run Y number of events and not enough Partners will turn up. Do "in person" customer facing events with those proactive SBSC Partners who engage with you.

Why should I work my butt off so that an SBSC Partner down the road who does nothing can earn the benefits? The return on your investment Microsoft will be so much more if you do this.

Work with the most engaged SBSC Partners, you know who they are, and forget the rest!

Elisabeth Vanderveldt on Partner Profitability Webcast

Liz, one of the SBSC PAL’s for Canada is on fine form in this webcast from Digital WPC.

The overview of this webcast is :-

The network effect: It’s about harnessing the combined impact Microsoft partners can have when they come together behind a promising initiative or technology. Hear from Microsoft partners and industry leaders to learn how you can leverage the network effect to increase revenue. And hear about the latest technology trends. Then, continue the discussion on the Partner Profitability Blog.

Bill Gates Farewell Speech

Here is Bill Gates farewell speech. It’s hard to believe that he started Microsoft from nothing, beat IBM and left them crying into their mainframes and pummelled Lotus into virtual obscurity and pretty much held its own against Linux. It might seem like Microsoft has been ever present but I’m old enough to remember a time before it. As I head off for WPC in the next week, I will be drinking the koolaid and getting "super excited" and believing that Windows 7 is what my customers really need!

Happy times :-)

Sonal Gathani, Microsoft UK SBS Product Manager is Blogging

Good on you Sonal, she’s started a blog at

I’ve given Microsoft a rough ride recently but only because I care about the relationship between SBSC Partners and Microsoft.

Thank you for listening and acting on it!

So please, please give her the feedback, comments, thoughts, whatever…

Nick's SMB Blog

Another UK SBSer has joined the realms of blogdom. Nick Lloyd of Sirona Solutions has got some good stuff on his blog already even though he didn’t put me as one of the blogs that inspired him to start (oh! the bruised ego!), but luckily he did put Tubbsy.

I know Nick is trying to find his "focus" but I would say go with the flow and that it’s very difficult to have a strategic plan around blogging.

LTAS Event – Venture Capital, both sides of the fence

I’m very excited to bring you an amazing event that my Partner, Ashish has organised as part of our London Technology Acceleration Service.

LTAS Entrepreneurs Master Class

Venture Capital – Both sides of the fence!

6:30pm ? 9:30pm, Wednesday, 2nd July 2008,

The Hubworking Centre, 8?9 Talbot Court, London EC3V 0BP
Registration fees: £10 email or online booking before the event. £15 at the door. Email to register and to receive details of how to pay.

LTAS Events
LTAS Events present a great opportunity to listen to the strategies and vision of some of Britain’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, technologists along side active investment managers managing millions of pounds of funds focused on the technology sector.

Event Brief
An exclusive event presenting an opportunity to gain a genuine insight into the process of raising venture capital and getting products to market for entrepreneurs.

Tom Weiss
Co? founded TV Genius in 2005. TV Genius provides software to power the next generation of Electronic Program Guides for AOL, ITV, IPC, BSkyB. Tom is the author of the popular ‘Mobile Strategies’ book a definitive guide to MVNO and Convergence. Before starting TV Genius he worked at T?Mobile as Vice President Key Service Introductions where he led the technology initiative behind the EURO2004.

Tom will talk about his experiences of developing and growing a successful technology business.

Paul Amery
Paul joined Skype in 2006 as Director of Platform and Developer Program. Here he was responsible for the launch of Skype’s first distribution platform and was voted one of the VOIP industry top 20 influencers. Before Skype he worked at Orange as the Head of Strategic Partnering. Here he created and launched the Orange Partner, the groups 50,000+ strong global partner site.

Paul will talk about his experiences of developing world class software products and services with focus on developing Alliances and Partner programs.

Alasdair Greig
As an Investment Manager at NorthStar Equity Investors, Alasdair is responsible for the originating and execution of new investments into innovative new technology businesses. Prior to joining NorthStar Equity, Alasdair spent four years with The Cambridge Gateway Fund a £35m early stage technology and life sciences fund, based in Cambridge. He has complete understanding of the investment process and is constantly reviewing the readiness of business that approach NorthStar Equity for raising business finance.

Alasdair will talk about what professional investors really do look for in a technology company.

6:30 PM – Arrival & Registration
7:00 PM – Welcome from Simon Read, Organiser LTAS
7:15 PM – Tom Weiss – “Growing a successful technology business.”
7:40 PM – Paul Amery – “ How to develop effective Alliances and Partner Programs for a growing software business.”
8:05 PM
Alasdair Greig – “What professional investors really do look for in a technology company.”
8:30 PM – Networking / Coffee
9:30 PM – Close

Top CEO Blogs

I was wondering how many top CEOs actually blog? Who is the most senior person in Microsoft who blogs? I know Microsoft’s blogging policy is "blog smart" and it got me to thinking why Bill Gates never started blogging? Wouldn’t that have been the really smart thing to do?

Seth Godin reckons that CEOs should only blog if they can satisfy 4 out of 5 of the following criteria :-

  • Candour
  • Urgency
  • Timeliness
  • Pithiness
  • Controversy

I then tried to find the best known CEO blogging and I could only think of Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz, although here is a list of other CEOs blogging by Mario Sundar. Do you know of any more?

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Message from Scott Dodds

Following on from the recent meeting with Scott Dodds, he’s sent a mail as a follow up which I’ve highlighted below. It’s great that Scott is taking this on personally because I know SBSC Partners are feeling "unloved"! Let’s hope it translate into real changes.

Many thanks for attending the Small Business roundtable at the Hawthorns last Thursday.  I thought it was a great debate and a great meeting of minds!

The clear messages we took from the discussion are that there needs to be a consistency of messaging to small businesses about the value of ICT, and there is a clear opportunity to use the SBSC brand to achieve this.  In support of this we need to get back-to-basics by offering you a simple marketing tool-kit to engage SMB’s e.g. event in a box, access to merchandising etc.

I would like to suggest that we continue this conversation over the coming months through Dom and Nick, and I look forward to meeting with you all again in due course.

Kind regards


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