A Great Event and Community

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I have spent the last two days at Technology Marketing Toolkit‘s 2nd Quarter Producer’s Club meeting.  Technology Marketing Toolkit (TMT) is a marketing and sales coaching organization for service firms in the IT industry, specifically Managed Services Providers.

TMT’s mission is “To build a community of success-minded entrepreneurs that inspires excellenceencourages collaboration and expands the capacity of all members to achieve great things.”

The company was founded by Robin Robins and has evolved around her personal brand, expertise and mission over the last 15 + years.  Specifically, Robin’s top areas of expertise are:

  • Creating low-cost marketing plans for “startup” MSPs and IT services businesses that are “one-man-band” to $1 million in sales.
  • Creating more sophisticated sales and marketing systems for larger, growth-mode MSPs in the $1 to $10 million range.
  • Creating reliable, repeatable “Marketing Oil Wells” using marketing automation and CRM systems to maximize the performance of any marketing campaign or plan.
  • Creating multi-media sequencing campaigns that generate 2-3 times the average response and results.
  • Cultivating extremely profitable sponsorship and strategic joint venture partnerships.
  • Coaching IT sales and marketing teams for peak performance.
  • Creating high-performance sales processes and playbooks for IT services and MSP sales.

I was Robin’s second client when she was getting started.  Her coaching and guidance were integral to the success of my business and our eventual acquistion.  It’s been wonderful to watch TMT grow into the impressive community that it is today.  I remained a highly satisfied client until 2016, after I had sold and integrated my MSP business into the company that acquired us.

Along the way, Robin and I have become friends and confidants with tremendous mutual respect for one another.  As I embark on my next adventure, I’m excited to be working with Robin and her team on a special project for her members.  Here are some pictures of Robin and I on stage this morning, announcing this new program, which will be exclusive to her membership.  It was nice to be back on stage with Robin.

One of the hallmarks of Robin’s events are the speakers she brings in for educational sessions.  This meeting was no exception.  The educational sessions touched on all manner of marketing, sales and general business improvements.

Members also share successful strategies they have implemented.  These may be related to generating more leads, closing more sales or gaining operational efficiencies in the business.  Some of the best ideas are shared during these member sessions.  The are panels, workshops and vendor sponsor booths, many of whom also have brief opportunities to speak to the attendees in between sessions.

There is usually also one headline speaker that closes out the event.  Today, that speaker was none other than Shark Tank‘s Daymond John.  Daymond shared his life journey in an entertaining, funny and informative hour and a half talk, much of it set to hip hop music, the inspiration behind his wildly successful FUBU brand.  I had hoped to be able to get to meet Daymond and grab a quick picture with him, but I had to leave for the airport before his session wrapped up.  I did manage to capture a couple of pictures of Daymond on stage.

It’s been a great couple of days reconnecting with friends and colleagues in the industry, as well as meeting new people.  I’ve always found these meetings highly valuable and this time was no different.

It’s great to be engaging with the industry in new and exciting ways.  There’s more to follow here.  Stand by for my formal announcement soon.

Good Computer Security Tips from the FTC

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The FTC maintains some excellent computer security tips at their OnGuard Online web page.  I encourage you to bookmark this page and check it frequently for updated tips.  Here are two video’s that are helpful to secure your computer and keep you safe while using public WiFi.

While you’re on the site, be sure to review the 10 Tips to Avoid Fraud sheet as well.  This page expands on the following list of what you can do:

  1. Spot imposters.
  2. Do online searches.
  3. Don’t believe your caller ID.
  4. Don’t pay upfront for a promise.
  5. Consider how you pay.
  6. Talk to someone.
  7. Hang up on robocalls.
  8. Be skeptical about free trial offers.
  9. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back.
  10. Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams.

It’s Good to be Back!

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Hello from Nashville!  I’m so excited to be attending the Technology Marketing Toolkit Q2 Producer’s Club meeting in Franklin, TN for the next two days.Q2 PC MtgTechnology Marketing Toolkit was a key business partner to my MSP, Jenaly.  Robin Robins and her team were instrumental in the success of my business as our trusted marketing consultants.  I was Robin’s second client nearly 15 years ago.  Watching her business flourish as my own business did was a real treat.  Just as I watched my clients businesses flourish as we worked together over many years, it was a true win-win.

I am grateful to Robin for the invitation to attend the meeting this week and catch up with industry friends and colleagues as I pursure new opportunities.  I’ve already had some great meetings that have my mind full of possibilities.

I’ll share more as the event unfolds and look forward to sharing some exciting news in the very near future.

HTTPS Phishing…Be On The Lookout For It

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Any website that begins HTTPS is secure, right?  If that padlock icon HTTPS_iconis there, along with the S, you’re safe, right?  Maybe.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) issued a warning about HTTPS phishing today and we all need to take heed.  Hackers are impersonating legitimate HTTPS sites, complete with third-party SSL security certificates, to make these sites look legitimate.  The problem is, they may not be and if you enter your credentials into one of these hacker sites, you could expose your account.

This is a tricky one, as it requires even more vigilance than a simple email phish.  A successful HTTPS phish could be very damaging.

Please review the IC3 alert here.  Also, please review Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) tips on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks.  Both links contain useful information and reminders that you should share with your teams.

Father’s Day Ideas for the Techy Dad

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The following was published in today’s Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

Father’s Day is just around the corner, so it’s a good time to look at some of the techy gifts that may make the dad in your life, one happy guy.

Father's day message on a white keyboardIf you’ve got a dad who loves sports, consider a new smart TV. With sizes ranging up to 65-inches and larger at reasonable prices, it’s a great time to upgrade an older or smaller set. With ultra-high definition, watching the Sox or any sporting event will practically feel like you’re sitting on the sideline. Especially if you are considering cutting the cord, a smart TV is a great investment as you’ll be able to access many streaming services right from the TV and not necessarily have to add a streaming stick to the equation.

If you do think a streaming stick would be a nice gift for your dad this year, the two best ones are the Amazon Fire TV and Roku. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, the Fire TV stick is the best option. If you’re not, try to check out both and go with the one that seems the most intuitive to use.

If you’ve got a dad into smart home technologies, there are tons of gadgets you can add to the mix. If he’s just getting started, start with a smart home hub. Check out the Wink and Samsung SmartThings hubs. Both are easy to setup and work with and support the widest array of smart home devices. From controlling lights to in-ground sprinkler systems, there’s hardly anything you can’t do. Check out the smart home display areas at local retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s for more idea.

If you’ve got a dad into music, you’ve got lots of options. If a whole house music system is on the list, check out Sonos for the best wireless music system on the market today. Start with a Play 1 speaker and he can grow the system from there. If it’s more personal music that’s of interest, a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones of a bluetooth speaker will surely be appreciated.

If you’ve got a real audiophile on your hands, complete with a collection of vintage LPs, think about a connected turntable, so he can bring those LPs into the modern digital era. Could be a fun project to keep someone busy and out of trouble.

If you’ve got a fitness-minded dad, you’ve got a lot of great options as well. For a real experience, consider gifting a membership to your local Orange Theory Fitness studio. Orange Theory combines a one-hour workout with smart tech to monitor your heart rate through the workout in real time. The data is fed to an app and email, so dad can really see his progress over time. It’s motivating, not to mention fun. If a membership is not his thing, consider a fitness tracker like a FitBit, Garmin or Apple Watch along with a smart scale to monitor weight and body fat. Especially for someone who likes to do their own thing when it comes to fitness, these devices help and make it more fun.

With summer about to arrive, a lot of people get back to reading books, especially at the beach or on vacation. A Kindle is the best way to keep dad’s library of books with him without needing to pack a separate back just to bring them along. You can even gift your dad magazine subscriptions he can read on the device.

Speaking of summer, you may also consider a smart grilling thermostat if you’ve got a foodie dad. These connect to an app on a smartphone and monitor what’s grilling so dad can get that perfect steak. I could go on for pages with more techy ideas. Hopefully, one or more of these will help your dad enjoy this Father’s Day.

Finally, a quick update on me. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that for the past two years, I’ve worked for a company called Onepath, after it acquired the last business I was with. I decided to move on from Onepath and as of June 1, I’m working on my own again, consulting to the IT industry and select clients. I’m excited about this next chapter in my career and look forward to continuing these columns and sharing insights into the wonderful world of technology with you. Thanks for your continued readership.