In full transparency, this is the 1st time in my professional career that I have had… time. The time to sit back and really think about what got me here, what I’m interested in, what motivates me, and what kind of impact that I want to have on this world.
To help me really dig into these questions, I hired a company that helped me facilitate a completely anonymous survey about how people view me! Risky, I know… but, it had to be done.
I had sent this survey out to friends that have known me for years from all kinds of situations… from business relationships to people I’ve gotten to know from coaching youth sports (ice hockey and baseball). I sent this survey to current and former employees. I even sent this survey to a few people that don’t necessarily admire me, but I figured would provide some raw feedback… good, bad, or indifferent. And boy was I right…
So far, this turned out to be the single most impactful tool to help me better understand myself, zoom in on strengths and weaknesses and help jump-start the next chapter of my entrepreneurial journey.
While I have been extremely fortunate over the years, I have also spent countless nights up until 2 AM working my ass off to build several amazing, well-respected, and sought-after businesses.
How did I do this? I have learned some invaluable lessons early in my career that stick with me to this day…
● I’m not always the smartest person in the room. In fact, I have often been the least intelligent person in the room. However, the fact that I was in the room in the first place is what counted. And, I made it count.
● Surround yourself with those who have strengths in areas where you do not. This perhaps has been one of my greatest strengths. If I have been good at one thing, it’s been recognizing talent and empowering that talent so that it flourishes.
Time and time again, I have hired and been bailed out by the best and the brightest. Some of these team members have gone on to achieve things I could not dream of and that’s super rewarding to witness.
● If I wanted to build world-class Professional Services, IT Consulting, and Software Companies, I needed to be a student of innovation. I needed to spend the time required to either re-define existing markets or create new ones. I never wanted to be another knock-off of an existing concept, technique, or technology.
Admittedly, I got this wrong quite a few times (thank goodness for patient business partners… Brian Dunn). Knowing that I could fail a few times and that people like Brian had my back, I was able to have that elusive “lightbulb” moment that has come to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and a lifetime of professional satisfaction.
● The most important lesson is the drive to do right by others. From employees to vendors, partners, and customers, always trying to do right, treating people fairly and respectfully has created more professional and political capital over the years. It’s a simple concept, right? But far too often people with influence, power, or just a good idea toss out basic decency and respect and let disingenuous motivations dictate their decision making and approach. I may have not gotten it right every time, but I can look back at what I have accomplished at this point and say I tried to uphold the principles of decency, honor, and respect.
So why this message and why now? As I have had time to reflect on where we, “the channel” (MSPs/ IT Providers & Vendors), have been and where we are going, I can see that the challenges that we faced as an industry over the past 14 months have prepared us for the unprecedented opportunity to innovate and grow moving forward. I’m setting out on a new mission.
Over my career, I have built technology companies that have scaled and been acquired. I have built an IT services and technology reseller that has generated nearly $200 Million in sales and counting. I have also helped hundreds of other vendors, MSPs and IT services providers to generate more than $5,000,000,000 in sales. And, with all of this, I have never seen an opportunity as large as what’s in front of the Channel Industry.
We are sitting at the doorstep of a global re-opening and market acceleration like we have never seen before. Never has there been such a large opportunity sitting right in front of the channel saying, “come get me.”
We are an entirely new Channel, and we must recognize that we are playing a new game. This game is a team sport. Our evolution has been fueled by our customer’s appetite to consume new and innovative technologies. These customers are demanding solutions that make them more productive, remote-capable, secure, and profitable. The only way we win at this game is if we work together as a team.
It is up to us as an industry to listen to each other, collectively innovate and above all else do right by each other so the entire industry flourishes, not just a select few who may or may not have our best interests in mind.
I’m setting out on a mission to invest in and help guide and mentor innovative technology vendors that are deeply committed to helping our industry maximize its potential. It’s a team sport, it’s about time we start acting like it!