Saturday, September 06, 2008

MSP Revolution Provides New and Spectacular Content

Hats off. Kudos. Deep and Humble Bows.

Amy Luby and MSP Revolution have created an event that is truly powerful, new, different, and amazing.

Sound like too much superlative? It's not.

Yesterday Amy and MSPSN presented one of the greatest events I've every experienced in the SMB space at any conference. It really, honestly took content to a new level.

As you may know, I attend several events over the course of a year. I've seen the conferences and dog-and-pony shows for years. I've presented a few myself, from Prague to Seattle and a lotta places in between.

So after awhile you begin to wonder when you'll see something new and refreshing. Jeff Middleton did it two years ago by introducing a new conference format at SBS Migration. SMBTN did it this year with a long conference format this Spring.

But even though those events were spectacular, they both grew out of a format with a context that is familiar to all of us. What Amy and MSPSN did Friday was outside the context of anything that's been done before in the SMB space.

Amy worked with Andromeda Training, Inc. ( to develop an eight-hour business simulation game that teaches business owners and managers how to understand the flow of money into, inside, and out of their organizations.

The game was very "mature" in the sense that it was very thoroughly developed and the content was completely customized for the SMB VAR and Managed Service Provider. It is very clear that many, many hours went into training the instructors about how the technology business and sales process works.

Like many people I talked to, I was dreading the day a little before it started. Role playing isn't my thing. I had visions of practicing sales speeches on each other. Instead, I found myself in the middle of a fantastic, engaging game somewhere between Risk and Monopoly, built entirely around financial education for the SMB Consultant.

While competing in teams of 6-7 people, we learned about cash flow, balance sheets, and the moving of assets. Sounds boring, but it wasn't. People were spying on each other, scheming, speculating, and even gambling on different strategies.

Each "round" of play represented a calendar month. In that month, resources could do specific work: sales, admin, tech support. You could buy licenses to provide managed services. You could bid on jobs with recurring revenue, break/fix work, or some combination of these.

In order to succeed, teams needed to take risks, allocate resources effectively, make sales, deliver work (monitoring and break/fix), pay the bills, expand capacity, and not waste money.

The game was surprisingly elaborate and 100% engaging. More than 70 people played, and no one was bored.

Eight hours.

At the end, participants had a much clearer understanding of how finances work within a company.

Most of us spend 99.9% of our time in QuickBooks looking at the Profit and Loss report or income statement. We might run a Balance Sheet once a quarter, and that's because the accountant asks us to.

This game demonstrated how assets and liabilities move around and are related to each other within the balance sheet. It also showed how actions that look good on the Profit and Loss report can kill your cash flow and therefore you business.

I believe every person in the game gained a better understanding of their own finances by playing the game. I know I did, and I've been running balance sheets and P&L's for fifteen years.

You've heard many times that the best thing about professional conferences is the interaction with your peers to talk about your business and strategy. This was eight hours of that, wrapped around a great educational game.



Amazing job, Amy and MSPSN.

So, the preday went well. Day One was over the top.

Now I'm ready for Day Two.

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