Sunday, October 14, 2007

Please Pass the Secret Sauce


I've been silent for awhile so I could be head down working on a new SMB Books project. Very fun stuff coming soon.

In the meantime . . .

I have a vision of the future. It involves you.

If you've seen me speak, you may have heard my comment that "There are two kinds of consultants."

The short version is: There are people who share what they know and encourage others to get involved,

and there are people who keep everything to themselves as if they've got the "secret sauce" and they don't want to let the rest of us in on it.

Well, here's the real secret: There Are No Secrets to Success. Success can be achieved in ten thousand different ways. They all involve hard work, dedication, and professionalism.

As a result: I can tell you everything, in excrutiating detail, about my business. And I know with perfect certainty that you won't steal any business from me. There are two reasons for this.

First, You're Human. Shocking, I know. But there are consequences of being human.

Second, You're not me. Perhaps less shocking. :-)

To the first point: No two human beings are on the same communications wave length. Sometimes we "click" with someone who seems to be on the same wavelength, but that just means we're close.

When you tell me something about your business, you can be crystal clear and I still won't understand exactly what you mean. You can draw me pictures, write a white paper, make a video, open your financials, walk me through it. But no matter what you do, I'm going to interpret your commucations based on my own personal knowledge, experience, comfort level, etc.

If you need an example, spend sixty seconds listening to one side of a telephone tech support call.

In other words, because we're human, all communication is filtered and interpretted. So even if I give you all my secret sauce, you're going to add a little something here and take out something there. I can influence you, but you can't put your business into the mold I've built for my business.

On the second point: You're not me. And that means that you've already built a business. You already have SOPs (standard operating procedures) for marketing and billing, for building servers and paying employees. There may be a few things where you say "we have no system at all," but that's not true. Even if your marketing plan consists of putting off marketing for someday, that's what you're doing.

Because we're different, I can't take your ideas and transplant them into my business. Even if I try to "steal" your secret sauce, I can't. Look at the Managed Services movement of the last couple of years. With the feeding frenzy of information from Erick Simpson, Amy Luby, Level Platforms, Kaseya, and a dozen other players, you'd think we'd all be doing the same thing, right?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

You are more likely to find two people with the same birthday who have both been struck by lightening than to find two companies that implement managed services the same way. There are just too many variables.

Good News; What's Next?

The very good news in all this is that we should feel free to help one another!

We can talk to each other about what works and what doesn't. I can give you what I know and you can give me what you know, and we can reap whatever benefits we find in that conversation.

And the more people who participate, cooperate, and contribute, the better off we'll all be. Here's a public tip of the hat to the dynamic duo who each put a real push on to get new people engaged and participating in the community: Vlad ( and Chris (

And if I could name them all, I'd add all the bloggers, and the user group leaders, and the PALs, and the MVPs, and many others.

But even with all those engaged people, the community of idea pushers is still only a few hundred. It's not a thousand and it's not ten thousand.

It should be.

I'd like to see ten thousand people get engaged and contributing to the community.

Please Pass the Secret Sauce.

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