Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nine Lives Media Releases 2009 MSP Mentor 250

Our friends Joe Panettieri, Amy Katz, and Kim whose last name I don't know are spending the week posting the massive MSP Mentor 250.

See . . .
- Da Blog:
- Da List:

At various places on the web site you'll find these descriptions for the MSP Mento 250 list:

  • "The report features CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, marketing experts, PR pros, association leaders and other top minds who are shaping the global managed services ecosystem."

  • "[O]ur annual look at the executives, entrepreneurs and experts shaping the global managed services market."

  • ". . . the report will help you network with managed services experts across the globe."

  • ". . . potential partners for your managed services efforts."

I am honored to be on this list. There are a bunch of names you know, or have heard of. There are also many names of people you haven't heard of. And while it might take you a long time to check them all out, it's worth doing so.

Joe describes the list as a kind of rolodex for the MSP industry. I think that's pretty accurate.

If you want to learn more than names, you'll need to follow links to their blogs (click on first name), twitter account (click on last name), and their company web site (click on company name).

If you investigate three or four companies a day, it will take 80 business days -- four months -- to get through the list. If you ramp it up from there, you might be done by the end of the year!

Thank you, Nine Lives Media, for providing this list. I know it's not the ultimate guide to the known universe. But it's a great resource for people in our industry.

Keeping Up on What's Going Down

I'm often asked how I keep up with everything that's going on. Well, dirty little secret time: I don't. No one does. No one can. You have to figure out for yourself how you're going to filter all the massive data in our business.

We've all heard it said that dealing with Microsoft is like drinking from a firehose. The same is true of attending a conference filled with content. The same is true with the list of great blogs out there. And all the new books. And all the training videos.

And on and on.

You have no hope of keeping track of all that. Sorry.

What can you do?

Well, you have to divide and conquer. Here's a quick plan (which you're probably already doing):

Step One: Determine the things you are simply not going to learn. Draw a line and make no effort to learn these things.

For example, I used to write code. Now I don't even try to keep up. I wouldn't think of programming today.

Be open to changing the list of things you're not going to learn.

Step Two: Determine the things you want to really jump into and become an expert at. What do you want to do everyday? What gives you joy, gets your blood running, and makes you have fun on the job? Do more of that.

Make plans to learn in these areas and dedicate yourself to being one of the best. You can get to the top pretty easily in the technology business because it's an expanding universe and very few people are trying to be at the top in any one area of interest.

So now you've taken care of the two ends: What you won't try to learn and what you really want to learn.

In the big middle is a vast array of things you need to know something about, even if you're not an expert. This group is divided into two easy pieces . . .

Step Three: Divide everything else into things you know and things you're aware of.

For example, you probably know about IP 4 addressing, DNS, and the basics of routing IP 4. You're probably aware of IP 6 addressing and aware that someday you'll have to decide to either ignore it or learn it.

The group of things you intend to know becomes a second tier of expertise for you. In fact, it's the great body of generalized knowledge you have about servers, networking, troubleshooting, wireless, etc.

The group of things you intend to be aware of is a larger group, and a little harder to define. This information generally comes to you through an ambient awareness of what's being discussed in blogs, at conferences, in the media, and within professional associations such as Comptia. You don't have to KNOW this stuff, but you want to have a general sense of the topics, the disagreements, and the evolution of technology.

Now let's get back to the question of how you keep up on "everything" in our business.

Remember, we said you can't. :-)

But what you can do is to choose really good filters to help you raise awareness in certain areas. These filters include things like Susan Bradley's blog, RSS feeds from TechNet, and maybe a little CNET.

The MSP Mentor 250 list is a great place to start if you want to build your network of people to connect to. You'll find connections to blogs, twitter, and home pages. From there you might choose to find these people on FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.

You still have to work to stay up on what's going down. But this list is a wonderful place to start.

Pace yourself. You have a year before the next list comes out.


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