Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The SMB Community Watering Hole

SMB Nation is the first, the largest, and the most diverse SMB-focused conference around.

Most consultants who "just" attend a conference once or twice a year may not be aware of all the groups, organizations, and communities that make up the The SMB Community.

Some people attend Jeff's IT Pro conference. Some people attend SMB Summit. Some people belong to HTG. Some belong to MSPSN. Or MSPU. Some people are Microsoft MVPs. Some people come from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, the UK, or a dozen other countries.

But they all come together at SMB Nation -- the great community watering hole.

A few people asked about those who were missing. But the great sub-communities were all represented.

I attended an "HTG All" meeting on Sunday night, so I know that HTG members made up more than 10% of the total attendees.

Our booth had a big package that included membership in both MSPU and SMBTN. I didn't count noses, but at least another 10% belong to each of those groups.

Every year, Harry manages to bring together a collection of people representing just about every community out there.

So yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that I missed the conference and this morning I'm sorry that I won't get to experience it again until next year.

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Community in Perspective

I was telling someone yesterday that "I'm Switzerland." I don't feel compelled to belong to this group and not that group. I don't feel compelled to only have these friends and not those friends.

If something has value for my business, I'm going to participate if I can.

We can't all run around the country, or the world, attending every event. But everyone should get involved and attend something.

The landscape is changing and maturing all the time. It's hard to keep up. And it's a lot harder to keep up if you focus on who's friends with whom, who you "should" talk to and who you "shouldn't" talk to, etc.

Let's do business!

I like smaller conferences because they're "high touch." But larger conferences have a completely different look and feel. Sometimes I want to find out where first-timers are in their business. At other times, I want to hang out with experienced CEOs of larger businesses.

So I'll continue to attend a variety of events.

But SMB Nation remains the one big watering hole where we all can meet.

I encourage everyone to come back next year.

I'll see you there.


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