Sunday, September 30, 2007

Self Interest Properly Understood

[ KP Note: The entire "Managed Services in a Month" series has been collected, collated, and indexed. Still free. You may access it now at ]

I wrote the following article on the day before I was named SBSer of the Year. I considered not posting it because of the timing. Then I figured, what the heck. This is a blog, and this is what's on my mind. So here you are:

Self Interest Properly Understood

Why, you might ask, do I want you to be a Managed Service Provider? Why do I care if Cyber Goober Guys of Pig's Knuckle, Arkansas provides managed services? What does KPEnterprises (Sacramento's Premier Microsoft Small Business Specialist) get out of that?

In his excellent book Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville coined the phrase "self interest properly understood."

The basic argument is that we participate in communities and contribute to the bigger picture because, in the long run, we will get more out of it.

And what's the "more" I want out of this long-range view? That's easy: I want our entire profession to be more professional. I want clients to expect more out of us (all of us). I want us to expect more from ourselves and each other.

I want our entire industry to take one huge step up. I want us all to deliver a higher level of service.

And to get paid accordingly.

Many people adjust the air in their car tires and top off their wiper fluid. But they don't call themselves mechanics. And many people fix their cars and help their neighbors, but they know they're hobbyists; they know they're not mechanics.

But somehow, when it comes to computers, anyone who knows how to change a screen saver considers himself a computer consultant.

Clients don't know the difference between a $40 firewall and a $3,000 firewall. Fine. It's not their job. But when a "consultant" doesn't know the difference, there's a problem.

Remember our friend Tocqueville? He was writing to his friends in France about the march of democracy. His conclusion was this: It's coming and you can't stop it. If you fight it, you'll lose. But even though you can't stop it from coming, you can jump in and participate -- and help affect what democracy looks like as it takes hold.

We're in the same boat: I believe the future is one of professionalism. You can fight it, but you'll lose. You can ignore it and be left behind. Or you can participate and help mold the future of your chosen profession.

I've never been one for fighting against the inevitable.

The choice, then, is between 1) responding to an evolving business environment or 2) influencing the evolving business environment. I choose the latter.


How Was Your Month?

Well, lots people started the month of September with me -- on the trail to managed services. I've received dozens of emails from people who are giving it a try. And I've received several success stories.

But where's everyone else?

Remember lesson #1:

Get Off Your Butt.

Stop stalling. Don't delay. Do it. Do it. Do it.

If you're stuck, send me a note. I can't solve all your problmes, but I can give you a little perspective, point you to some resources, and be your cheerleader.

No. I won't wear tights.

1 comment:

  1. This is just a brilliant post and congratulations on the SBSer of the Year Award. If there is anything that defines or should define our Community then this is exactly it!


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