SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Business 101: A reading list for lifelong learners

biz101 draft3

Ready to level up your working knowledge of business? Here’s what to read now — and next.

Business 101, with Nilofer Merchant

First, read these 2 foundational books…
1. The Change Masters
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Free Press, 1985

“A foundational book for your collection. When a colleague recently switched careers, I lent her this incredibly dog-eared book from college days. Rosabeth Moss Kanter helped coined the idea and term ’empowerment’ in the 1970s, a sure sign she was ahead of her time. Even though The Change Masters was published forty years ago, it’s relevant. Why? Because all progress is made by those that are change masters. Become one.”

2. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations
Clay Shirky
Penguin, 2008

“A few years back, I took out Clay Shirky’s book and found it filled with scribbles. While it’s almost passé now to talk of how Obama organized a large community to sweep into the presidency, Shirky’s book is textbook quality for what will happen next. It points to a new truth: Today, connected individuals can do what once only large organizations could. So look past the timeliness of his stories to see the timeless.”

Then, try these 4 to understand current needs…

1. Opposable Mind: Winning through Integrative Thinking
Roger Martin
Harvard Business Review, 2009

“I’m convinced that the way we create an abundant future of prosperity will require a global redesign of what is possible. And I think Roger Martin’s idea here could be key. When you hold two ideas as opposites, you’ll never find a way for both things to be true. But to go forward and reconcile some deep divides we have, we’re going to have to find new solutions to old problems through new thinking. Martin’s book is like yoga for the mind.”

2. Redesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)
John Maeda
MIT Press, 2011

“The real question is: How will we reinvent the world around us? Well, fundamentally, it will involve having folks take the big step away from just being themselves (the thing we all know best) and join in doing something with others (the people we fear may let us down). John Maeda’s book captures a modern leader’s challenge to switch gears and become a social, collaborative leader.”

3. The Difference
Scott E. Page
Princeton University Press, 2010

“Complex systems turn out to be adaptive and resilient, and therefore thriving, systems. Sounds like something our world needs more of, right? See how a math theorist argues for including difference –- that is, cognitive difference — into our lives, our workplaces and ultimately what we create. The value of this difference is a proven truth, not a feel-good mantra, for how you shape both better ideas and new solutions. It’s going to be central to what happens next.”

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Start-up: Seattle’s Young Start-up Culture

Start-up: Seattle’s Young Start-up Culture

There has been a very interesting conversation in the Brelsford house lately about start-ups. Dad (that’s me) is involved in a Big Data start-up in addition to owning SMB Nation (run day-to-day by the amazing Jenny).

My wife is old school cul-de-sac suburban Chicago-style and is on a life journey of acknowledgement and acceptance of entrepreneurship. In a future life, may she come back as a small business start-up owner. My youngest son, Harry Jr., more closely fits the demographic and intent of a recent Seattle Times article titled “Young entrepreneurs dive in to start their own businesses, despite the high failure rate” published Sunday, May 15, 2016.

The point is this. In both our dining room and the article, there is a legitimate conversation to funding a young person to create a start-up and get life experience in addition to (or instead of) paying for college. My position is that I think a young person should look at start-up alternatives that INCLUDE education. For example, what about a Gap Year where my son might work in a start-up? Or how about getting the first two years of basic college courses online (from an accredited source of course) while working in or directing a start-up by day. A decade hence, I think Harry Jr. would be richer for the experience. But I am firm that getting a bachelors and masters is a mandatory requirement on my shift. Education is both a tool and a ticket. Period.

Anyways, enough editorializing. The Seattle Times article is a must read and can be found here.

 

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Deploying Windows 10 Webinar / Thursday Nov 12, 2015 12 PM - 1 PM PST

Presented by: Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation & Grant Thompson Founding Partner of MG Technology Group

Want to learn more about Windows 10? Wondering where to find the information? Sign up here! 

Join us next Thursday for an educational webinar on Deploying Windows 10. - windows 10 logo

This webinar will take you through Windows10 deployment from an outside-looking-in independent expert viewpoint. Needless to say, there are new and updated ways to deploy Windows 10. In this session, we review new recommendations for upgrading existing devices using a simple in-place upgrade process, provisioning tools for transforming new devices into ones ready for enterprise use, as well as updates to traditional deployment tools and techniques (ADK and beyond). We also talk about application compatibility, hardware requirements, and other common deployment questions.

Bottom Line: You’ll learn about the new release cycle, Azure AD, upgrade paths and scenarios, dynamic provisioning, and more. And can you really run Windows 10 on a stick?
Be sure to invite your customers to show them how the Windows 10 solutions can help them operate more efficiently and empower them to grow their business.

Also remember since your customers are attending, you can register this event with Microsoft Community Connections and receive giveaway software and materials.

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

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D&H to deliver XYZprinting 3D printers to SMBs, education sector

3D printer manufacturer XYZprinting announced today it partnered with D&H Distributing to expand distribution of its 3D printers and products.

Its printers are the most affordable worldwide, according to XYZprinting, as it strives to open the door to 3D accessibility for SMBs and the K-12 and higher education sectors.

“XYZprinting offers a wide variety of 3D printers to satisfy different customer needs at a competitive pricepoints. We’re thrilled to provide their industry-leading, accessible and affordable 3D printers to our rapidly expanding list of customers,” said Rob Eby, vice president of purchasing at D&H. “As 3D printing continues to drive demand in the marketplace, especially in the education sector, we look forward to working with XYZprinting to increase consumer accessibility to these sought-after solutions.”  

The XYZprinting 3D printers start at $399, and users can build everything from phone and music player cases to children’s toys.

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SMB Nation Firms up Sessions and Pre-Day Content for its 11th Annual Fall Conference

conference logoSMB Nation has firmed up its pre-day and conference content for its 11th Annual Fall Conference. Set to kick off with the pre-day programming on Wednesday, Oct. 9, the conference will be held Thursday, Oct. 10-Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Rio Conference Center in Las Vegas.

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Rackspace Survey: Demands for Cloud-Centric IT Skills are on the Upswing

New research, including a survey of 1,300 companies commissioned by Rackspace, has found that more than half of organizations’ cloud deployments are being hampered by a shortage of cloud computing skills.

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CompTIA Adds E-learning Options to Channel Training Curriculum

CompTIA said that it will add new e-learning options to its comprehensive education and training programs for the IT channel. CompTIA Executive Certificate programs in cloud computing, mobile technologies and IT security will be available in e-learning modules beginning April 1. Additional courses will be added in the coming months.

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Friday Afternoon Club with: Chris Frey, Lenovo’s VP North American Channels

I always enjoy having the opportunity to engage in a one-to-one conversation with members of our community--VARs, MSPs and vendors alike. This week, my discussion was with Chris Frey, Lenovo’s VP North American Channels. During our 30-minute chat, Frey and I talked about everything from the top verticals Lenovo is targeting, the predictions related to the PC market, the company’s K-12 initiative and also the swirling rumors regarding the company’s takeover of BlackBerry, (which Frey said he could not discuss).

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