Friday, November 09, 2007

An Explosion of Communities

I was talking with a friend the other day and we were trying to figure out all the alliances within the SMB space just in North America.

I'm sure some are missing here, but here are the highlights as I see them:

1) Blogs and blogrolls. 99% output, with ocassional input. Still, a community, especially when someone responds to a blog post by creating their own blog post.

2) SMB Nation. Part conferences, part magazine, part email newsletter. Much of the community links back to SMB Nation.

3) SMB Group Leads. Leaders of the user groups. Yahoo group. Web site. Groove site. Ocassional in-person meetings.

4) Yahoo Groups. Primarily SmallBizIT, SMBManagedServices, MSSmallBiz. Plus "tech help" sites like sbs2k.

5) ASCII Group. Commercial enterprise, membership organization. Training. Their own online groups. Group buying power.

6) ICCA. Professional membership group. Conferences. Training. Magazine. Group buying power.

7) IAMCP. Microsoft marketing tool in disguise. Local groups. Meetings, website, events, networking.

8) SMBTN. Conferences. Coalition of user groups/individuals. Group buying power.

9) MSPU. Training for managed services. Books. Help desk. Webinars. Online materials.

10) MSPSN. Peer groups. Online forums. Trainings. Webinars. Group buying power.

11) HTG. Peer groups. Books. Business strategy.

12) Robin Robins. Membership-based. Monthly phone conferences. Audio programs. Marketing materials and strategies.

13) Vendor based services: ConnectWise, AutoTask, etc. Training on their own systems mixed with education and Business strategy.

14) Microsoft initiatives. Eric Ligman and the whole SBSC thing. PAMs and PALs. Mike Iem and the user group initiative. To some extend TS2 folks. In some areas they really participate in the groups.

15) Channel partners. (e.g., SonicWall, Trend) Some only give lip service to the SMB/SBS/User Group community. Others participate -- both speaking to the groups and listening to what they say.

16) The MVP community. Membership determined by Microsoft, of course. But a community that exists because of the community spirit of its members.

17) Culminis. An organization designed to support user groups. International community.

18) User Groups. Hundreds of them from sea to shining sea. In many ways, the U.G.s are the glue that keeps the rest of it together. They filter information about all of this stuff and help facilitate the flow of information up and down, and all around.

And what did I miss? Dozens and dozens of blogs, for sure. Email lists? Other groups? Different communities?

And Podcasts.


Are you connected?


  1. Anonymous11:45 AM

    ASCII Group ( will hold 10 "Boot Camps" in 2008 in the US and one in Canada with 30 or so vendors and trainers in conjunction with SYNNEX. We will be announcing a new E&O insurance program with Lloyds of London at astonishing low rates and a major new distributor that will give VPA pricing to ASCII (our 9th one), and other new surprises... stay tuned

  2. How about CompTIA... arguably the largest association of computer professionals. Get on their "hot" list and the reward is free junkets to their events. Then there's the MSPAlliance, one of the less commercial of industry gatherings... heavily into certification and government lobbying...

    -- Bob V.
    Autotask Corporation


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