Archive for July, 2008

Getting Fit

I did something remarkable last week and started going to the gym! Like many people I’m sure, I’d been paying for a local gym but never using it. I managed 3 sessions last week and plan to keep this up. I started all this by going running with my son who is 8.5 years old on a mile long run and it was hell (for me at least) and I had to keep stopping. That’s pretty pathetic as I have in the past run a couple of half marathons at about just under the 2 hour mark and a 10K in about 47 mins. I know I’m not going to break any world records as I’m not really a distance runner. I only ever did it because I was playing rugby (before I broke my arm and had to have a metal plate in it) and five-a-side league football. The training was a means to an end i.e. to play competitive sports. Training and keeping fit for it’s own sake was never my thing.

After the initial pain and just wanting to give up I’m starting to enjoy it and even within a week and a half I’m feeling much better and enjoying it. There’s no competitive end to it now, so it’s just about getting fit and staying healthy. It’s easy in the jobs we do to be just stuck sitting down and eating rubbish food, that is when we actually grab any lunch.

The gym sessions are for fitness are split in two. The first bit is all aerobic with a 10 min run on treadmill (approx 1.5km), 6 min (1000m) rowing, 6 min cyling. The second bit is weights (not heavy weights) with 12 x 3 reps of each and ending with situps. I could see from the heart rate monitor on the bikes my heart rate was high at about 170, meaning my body was having to work quite hard but in this week that has started to come down with doing the same intensity a sign  that my body is adjusting. Already, I’m thinking of mixing this up with some circuit training and running in between the gym sessions. I’m trying to make time to do this and not make excuses as to why I shouldn’t go.

One of my motivations is my wife who been getting up at 6.00am and going running for quite a few months which is very impressive and made me get off my backside. The kids keep trying to check for my six pack but that’s never going to come!

As they say, a healthy body a healthy mind.

Meet Andrea Russell

I can’t believe I don’t have a photo with Andrea from WPC, that is a major oversight but she is probably one of the most important people in our lives as SBSC Partners. She is the Worldwide Programme Manager for SBSC and lives and breaths the "blue badge". I’ve now worked with Andrea for just over a year and realised that underneath that outwardly cool, calm and collected exterior lies a very determined person. I know that often the feedback is that Microsoft does not listen and act but you can be sure that Andrea is pushing hard for SBSC Partners. She’s been known to corner people in the corridors of the Redmond Campus to demand stuff for us. She might not always get it but I know she won’t give up easily. She was the one who got Michael Risse over to a lunch with the SBSC PALs in Houston so we could ask him some questions including why the recent Small Business Vista Adverts were highlighting free support direct from Microsoft and didn’t mention SBSC Partners or any Partners!

She’s overseen an amazing period with SBSC Partners globally reaching about 15,000 over many different countries in a relatively short time. As she told us in Houston, it is the largest coherent Partner Group in Microsoft, bigger than any of the competencies so a "force to be reckoned with"!

It’s all about the people, it’s people who drive Change.

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Remix UK 08

I’m booked to go to Remix UK 08 on 18/19th September at the Brighton Centre. Apparently, this isn’t an event in its traditional form its a "48 hour conversation". Not sure what that actually means but it sounds good. Attendance at this event highlights the changes happening in what I’m doing. Remix is about Microsoft’s Web technologies and is aimed at Designers and Developers. The keynote speakers are :-

  • Scott Guthrie, Corporate VP, .NET Developer Division
  • Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher, Microsoft

The site for Remix says that Brighton is a "…really chilled out place that has a unique creative buzz about it, and if you’re from out of town you’ll be able down tools completely and just lay back and enjoy…"

The only problem is that it won’t be the usual crowd that I know, so means I’ll have to talk to people I don’t know …arrgghhh!! But, I’m really looking forward to it and if you are going let me know.

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Free eBook by Stuart Crawford for SBSC and SMB Community

Stuart Crawford has just released a new eBook for SBSC Partners and the SMB Community at large. Below is a description of it and a link to go get it :-

The Small Business IT market is evolving, the need for IT Professionals and SBSC to deliver more business focus solutions to our clients is now making SBSC’s and IT Professionals look hard at the services that they are delivering in the second half of 2008 and going into 2009.  With more emphasis being put on business process, workflow management, data retention, business continuity, managing relationships and doing all this as the small business tightens it’s belt just a bit.

What is out there to help the average SMB IT Professionals or SBSC member?

Connecting the Dots is a look at this changing IT landscape.  What we need to do now is prepare for what is around the corner.  This free eBook is available to all IT Professionals.  Why is it free?  Isn’t this what community is all about?  Stuart Crawford shares his insight on this changing landscape in this short eBook, get it today at http://blog.itsuccessmentor.com/connect-the-dots

"Dancing Boy" by Sean Daniel (SBS Product Team)

The explanation for this is on Mark’s blog. This is so funny!

The End of the Network Documentation Resource by Karl Palachuk

Karl has announced that his excellent Network Documentation Book/CD is no longer going to be available but it’s had a major impact on what many of us do. In fact, Karl has had a major impact and if there’s people of "high value" that other colleagues talk of then Karl is one of them. I’ve personally used his comments about Community on the Microsoft OEM Roadshow last year and they have been an inspiration for me to be involved. So to be mentioned in his blog post is fantastic, but again Karl makes a key point which is

The community of SMB Consultants and Small Business Specialists has dramatically raised the bar of professionalism within our profession.

Even this great book was not Karl’s best work nor the Service Agreements for SMB Consultants book, for me it was the SMB SAN Primer. An absolutely excellent title on using SANs, setting up/configuring them for an SMB scenario. It was a book way before its time and remains so …but it will have its time. I will put money on this and if you haven’t got a copy get one quick! It might just make you rethink what you do and how you deploy things.

SANs have been coming down in price all the time and it was no coincidence that Dell bought Equallogic.

As great as WPC was, there was one regret for me that Karl wasn’t there.

Meet Dave Sobel, CEO of Evolvetech

DSCF0016 You see I’ve been saving this one and Karl prompted this quite nicely as Karl has an uncanny habit of doing. I’m sure he’s doing some mind reading tricks or something.

Dave, Dave, Dave what can I say about him? Except that you can see from the pic the type of person he is, fun loving and slightly jealous that I’m more handsome than him but a whole lot less successful than him though!

Dave was popping up on countless media outlets at WPC giving us the gift of his insight, whether we wanted it or not. So many that I can’t even be bothered to link to them all, you’ll just to have Google it or something.

… seriously Dave is a great bloke and I’ve heard he likes English beer :-)

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SMB Forum Presentation on Proactive Community Membership

20080707194958(3) This is the presentation that was delivered by Mark Crall, David Lees and myself at the SMB Forum day at WPC 08 Houston. Now it’s yours to own and delight in and learn from the wisdom of what I humbly like to call the "Dream Team", nay visionaries, people who were not appreciated during their own lifetime but which future generations will look upon with great distinction :-)

You can download from Skydrive and feel free to disagree with what’s in it or add anything in the comments which you think is important. It’d actually be quite nice to have an ongoing discussion because no one has THE answer on this!

David Overton On Software plus Services

When I saw Dave recently at WPC he said he was writing this blog post and what an excellent one it is. It’s one of those ones where you should print it out and stick it your office wall or something or your bedroom wall if your partner/wife lets you :-)

It’s clear in my mind that SaaS and/or S+S is happening and we can’t be like king Canute and try stop the tide coming in by standing on the beach and waving our hands to stop the tide coming in.

The problem for Microsoft is that they have very few people who can articulate to Partners their S+S strategy and to be honest I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Okay, I’m off to start a campaign to bring Dave back to the happy family that is SBSC :-)

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Meet David Lees, South African SBSC PAL

DSCF0009 It was my pleasure to spend quite a bit of time with David Lees, the South African SBSC PAL and also to present with him on the SMB Forum Day on Proactive Community Membership.

First and foremost David is a business man, so what he does is in context of running a very successful practice. After the last WPC in Denver, David got back home and decided to change his business completely. He’d been running a Network Infrastructure/CRM business but decided that the time was right to focus. So, he sold his shares in his business and started a new business called Sector4 from scratch just working on CRM and set about growing this via Partner Networking.

What he’s achieved in 12 months is pretty amazing and now has 3/4 people in his business with 11 CRM Opportunities, 7 of which were Partner sourced and 7 more which are ongoing.

David and I talked quite a bit at WPC as we were staying at the same hotel and we both agreed that the focus for ourselves and building Community would be on Business Growth. We both felt optimistic about the future and pretty excited. For David, with the CRM Competency, it is a great area to be in at the moment as it is one of Microsoft’s fastest growing products and by all accounts CRM 4.0 is a pretty good product.

David is not a technical person, he’s a business analyst and he looked for the opportunity and seized it. He didn’t complain about Microsoft’s Strategy and the Partner Model, he just went out to be successful and do profitable business.

This is one person I’m definitely going to be keeping in touch with as he has a load of great advice about business and as they say stick around successful people.

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