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.

Should MSPs Unionize?

Earlier this month, the Seattle Times ran a thoughtful article about a long journey for Microsoft contractors to unionize. The short story is these “perma-temps” where seeking benefits and stability afforded permanent Microsoft employees. Please read here before proceeding further so you have the proper context about what I plan to say.

Many words have been written over the past two years about the changing nature of the relationship between partners and vendors. My own take is that partners pride themselves as technology and business advisors providing value as consultants to clients. That’s what gets us up in the morning. No doubt about it.

But in a quantitative-based “Marketing 2.0” world of measurable metrics, the SMB vendors have become not nice people, viewing us as “resellers” who have no other passion than to sell licenses. Their Jim Crow language about “partnering” and their degrading actions are repulsive and highly offensive to our culture. And they don’t care. It’s all about the monthly pipeline report. Unknowingly they are increasingly biting the hand that feeds them.
This sets up the dynamic for considering some type of organization. When relationships are out of balance, there will be a reaction. Just ask the US Republican party in this Fall’s elections. Given over 80% of the SMB Nation tribe self-identifies themselves as MSPs, I’d offer this is a segment you shouldn’t ignore.

percentage MSPs

Years ago, under the late Jim Locke, the fledging SMB Technology Network (SMBTN) messaged aspects of organizing as a collective to bargain both against and fairly with the vendors. It was one of its pillars if not mission statement. While its intentions were noble, it didn’t execute broadly to truly organize MSPs to cut better deals with vendors and receive better treatment.


So in the spirit of late August crowd sourcing, use the comment section to tell me what you think. Should MSPs lead a revolution?

PS - this topic is just in time for Labor day next week LOL!

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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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