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.

Start-over: Technology Innovation in 435 Congressional Districts

Before the end of the year, Karl Palachuk and I intend to do our quarterly analyst briefing webinar that typically enjoys a receptive audience. On deck on the agenda for our to-be-announced 4Q Analyst Report webinar is a non-partisan review of the election. We’ll stick to the facts and discuss how it results impact MSPs. Trust us!
 
I want to leak one topic right here, right now. At a high-level it concerns each part of America having the ability to innovate technology. For example, my hometown Anchorage Alaska could be an Arctic engineering powerhouse (it’s the same altitude as Finland which is very technologically oriented).
 
This amazing study here was published by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and written by John Wu, Adams Nager and Jospeh Chuzhin. It’s pitch is simple: “Contrary to perceptions, America’s innovation-driven, high-tech economy is not concentrated around hubs like Silicon Valley; it is widely diffused—and every state and congressional district has a stake in its success.”
 
Description
 
For years, policy discussions about America’s innovation-driven, high-tech economy have focused on just a few iconic places, such as the Route 128 tech corridor around Boston, Massachusetts; Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; and, of course, California’s white-hot Silicon Valley. This has always been too myopic a view of how innovation is distributed across the country, because many other metropolitan areas and regions—from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to Philadelphia—are innovative hot spots, too, and many more areas are developing tech capabilities. An unfortunate result of this myopia has been that policy debates about how to bolster the country’s innovative capacity have often been seen as the province of only the few members of Congress who represent districts or states that are recognizably tech-heavy, while many members from other districts focus on other issues. This needs to change, not only because the premise is incorrect, but also because the country’s competitive position in the global economy hinges on developing a broad-based, bipartisan, bicameral understanding and support for federal policies to spur innovation and growth.
A defining trend of the last decade is the degree to which technology—information technology, in particular—has become a critical driver of productivity and competitiveness for the whole economy, not just the tech sector itself. This is abundantly clear throughout the United States, as revealed in both traditional economic data, such as high-tech export activity, and in newer metrics, such as broadband deployment. Indeed, all districts have some kind of technology and innovation-driven activity occurring locally, either because long-established industries such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and professional services are rapidly evolving into tech-enabled industries, or because new developments such as cloud computing and ubiquitous access to broadband Internet service allow innovators to create new, IT-enabled enterprises in any small town or rural area they may choose, not just in Silicon Valley or Boston.
 
Bottom Line
 
This is a great study. You’ll need to get your smarts on to read the 56+ pages but, trust me, it’s worth it! Download here. 
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Announcing SMB Nation M&A Services!

Operating in stealth mode the past few months, we’re ready to come out of the closet. Yes – we are now offering advisory services to MSPs and resellers trying to adjust their business portfolios to start over in a Tim Carlsenthighly disrupted technology market. To date we’ve had four (4) beta clients as we discovered and refined our services offering. And we’re ready to assist you too!

Our offering is very simple. This year we are dedicated to telling the start-up and start over story in the IT community because, quite frankly, cloud changed everything. Just yesterday I once again found myself repeating in a conversation that Windows Small Business Server (SBS) is gone. So whatcha’ gonna do? Call Ghost Busters? Rather call our own Tim Carlsen at 206-890-0015 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. who serves as our M&A specialist. He brings a career from the financial services sector and has worked in numerous start-ups. He’s a matchmaker bringing together buy-side and sell-side parties to consummate transactions. Whether it’s a merger of equals or a true acquisition between MSPs and resellers, Tim’s your man. We have a starter package for a relatively low fee with a back-end kicker when the deal closes.

Doing nothing is no longer an option. If you start your business model pivot now in 4Q, it’s likely you’ll go into 2017 looking forward to the future

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Reinventing StorageCraft with Analytics


So it turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks! StorageCraft, its balance sheet in great shape after an investment round, is starting to make acquisitions. The idea is simple. Reinvent itself by buying missing portfolio elements instead of relying solely on internal innovation. It’s a way to move “fast fast” as Ross Perot liked to say.

Last week StorageCraft announced it was acquiring the analytical intellectual property (IP) of Gillware Online Backup, a Madison, WI-based vendor. I spoke with StorageCraft executives and this acquisition has the effect of leapfrogging StorageCraft into the hottest part of IT right now – analytics.


The basic story is fairly pedestrian: using Gillware IP and applying analysis, the StorageCraft product will morph into helping you determine which data to prioritize in a backup scenario. It’s changing the model of incurring costs associated with inefficient backups.


“For far too long, the storage industry has promoted a one-dimensional approach of simply adding more capacity,” said Matt Medeiros, Chairman and CEO of StorageCraft. “Organizations are finally realizing that this model is obsolete since a significant portion of their costs is wasted backing up and storing irrelevant data.”


“Gillware and StorageCraft have been strong partners for years,” said Wes Gill, Founder and President of Gillware Data Recovery. “Through this partnership, we have successfully provided a combined suite of data analytics and access products, ensuring immediate recovery. Our team of data experts is excited to join the StorageCraft family and expand StorageCraft’s platform of products.”


“I’m really excited about the Gillware talent pool - world class technologists in data access and analytics,” said StorageCraft Chief Technology Officer Scott Barnes. “Gillware’s predictive capabilities enable our solution to determine which data is mission-critical: What do I need now? Not all data is equal.”


Effective immediately, existing Gillware and StorageCraft partners will have full access to the products via the Gillware portal. All products will be available globally via StorageCraft’s partner portal in November.


“Gillware will help fuel our expansion plans,” said Marvin Blough, Vice President of Worldwide Sales. “This one move adds thousands of customers in North America alone who are already familiar with the benefits of the combined Gillware-StorageCraft solution.”


Forward looking statements
StorageCraft’s acquisition of Gillware Online Backup is the latest in a series of moves that is rapidly enhancing the company’s suite of intelligent data protection solutions, increasing its global presence and strengthening its research and development team. In my conversation, it was noted that this is only the start of some early acquisitions and delving into the Big Data analytics area. For example, StorageCraft is accumulating heaps of information with its operations. This analytics engine could easily be enhanced to incorporate predictive elements like mean failure time for storage devices, etc. That would allow the MSP to proactively purchase replacement parts and keep clients fat and happy.


I’ll be monitoring StorageCraft’s efforts over the next months.

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G.E. Starts Over as Software Company

Many SMB Nation members have seen the recent G.E. television advertisement where a younger geek tells parents and friends he is joining old school G.E. as a developer. Needless to say, the geek’s career aspirations are met with disdain in this deadpan spot. But gethere is truth to humor. Recently the New York Times article “G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-up” states the obvious that G.E. has to reinvent itself to survive and thrive.

The net-net of the article, which you should read, is about G.E. capitalizing on the Internet of Things (IoT) with software controls.

I applaud G.E. for hitting it head-on. For the past year, I’ve preached that the old school server-side SMB Nation ‘puter guys have got to reinvent or retire. And I’m starting to run out of words LOL. I’ve sliced and diced this conversation and enjoyed the interchanges with SMB Nation readers and event attendees along the way. In fact, join our dialog on our Facebook page here.

 

Tips for pulling a “G.E.” reskilling maneuver?
Consider teaming with our training partner, SQLSoft3, to re-up your hard core skill sets. Right now it’s offering exam vouchers below cost and it has an upcoming Azure course you can attend online.

Finally, to bring this conversation full circle, be sure to check-out the G.E. job board for giggles.  Here you can see what skills are in demand. And point your kids to the same site for a stir to see their reaction.

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Back to School - Karl's Books!

With Fall arriving quickly, it’s time to sharpen the saw as a life learner. In the spirit of “back to school,” Karl Palachuk has just released a four (4) volume “Managed Services Operations Manual” audio book set.

This is important to know for several reasons, the least of which is many of you are trying to “start over” in the new-new world of cloud.

Firstly, many SMB Nation fans have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) whether you want to admit it or not. How do I know this?

Because you are a high tech entrepreneur running your own MSP consulting reseller practice. And having ADHD is actually a success factor (even your secret weapon) despite what the Catholic nuns told you in grammar school. What I’ve personally found and studies now confirm is audio books are a way for ADHD afflicted people to “read books” and absorb the content. (Success secret: You can also have other documents read aloud in Windows 10 with the [Windows] [Enter] keystroke sequence to launch Narrator).

 

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Buy Karl's Books! Keep your eyes open for a future webcast featuring Karl (Superman) and me (Batman) as we debate learning methods between ADHD and non-ADHD entrepreneurs. For example, I’m huge on using Slack and OneNote as a way to put everything back together again in my mind. Karl promotes the single screen experience and avoiding email pop-ups. We intend to host debate this before the end of 2016.

Second, I can honestly say, if I were starting-over, I’d start with Karl’s operations books. Why? Because for many years I resisted bing operationally oriented and then I finally hired Jenny Hallmark to run things. The point is that I learned to honor the importance of operations the hard way. And while I’m streetwise today about this matter, I’d be a better entrepreneur if I had the likes of Karl’s knowledge nuggets earlier in my career. This is something you can attend to right here, right now.

Third, Karl is a long-time friend of the SMB Nation family and has offered a 10 percent savings coupon for you. Here is how you enjoy the savings. Read the blog about what the Managed Services Operations Manual offering is and decide if this is right for you. Then when you purchase, enter the code smbnation2016 for the additional 15 percent savings.

Think of it this way. The entire Karl bundle is cheaper than one (1) undergraduate textbook in Aerospace Engineering. Trust me.

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