Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pimping and Selling to SMB Consultants

I joke with several of my SMB Buddies about Pimping and Selling to SMB Consultants.

In reality, we don't see ourselves as 100% vendors. Yes, we're selling something. But we're also participating in the community, starting user groups, speaking to user groups, and helping to sell other people's stuff that we believe in.

So, for example, Vlad gives me some iPods and t-shirts to put on my sales table. I get to have a good little give-away and Own Web Now gets some cheap promotion for Shockey Monkey, his managed services management tool.

I pimp Erick. Erick pimps Stuart. Stuart pimps Matt. Matt pimps me. We all pimp Arlin.

Yes, at some level we all have something to sell. But we also believe in each other and the things the others are pushing.

Last weekend I had the great honor of speaking at the Independent Computer Consultants Association's 31st conference in Washington, DC. In the preday for that, Dave Sobel moderated a panel that consisted of Stuart, Arlin, Erick, Matt, and me.

We all had to pay our way to DC. We all chose to take a weekend, plus travel time, away from family and business. None of us made as much as it cost to be there.

So, yes, we had something to sell. But we also enjoyed being together, touring the monuments at night as a group, and meeting a lot of new friends.

We enjoy participatig in the larger community. And we don't push products we don't believe in.

Most importantly, we also turn "off" and enjoy not selling.

I have several people in my calendar labelled with "call _____ NGR." NGR means No Good Reason. I might call Dave Sobel because I have a question about virtualization. But I might also call him for no good reason. The topic might be black jack, terminal server licensing, telephone systems, the place we ate in New Orleans, or Big Elvis.

The point is: It's not all about work.

There are some people who simply refuse to mention any product or service without getting a check first. There are some people who sell and sell and sell and never turn off. And sometimes they turn off more people than they turn on.

So, while we joke about pimping (Vlad's son put on the pimp hat before he could walk), we still consider ourselves part of the community rather than leaches on the community.

If you hear us joking about pimping to the masses, please remember that we're also trying to build the community.


  1. Am I really that clueless? I've been hearing about Shockey Monkey for some time now, but when I go to the site, all I see is a nice looking logo. Nothing about what it is or why I need it.

    Maybe I'm not "cool" enough? Hey! I've been to Hollywood, I KNOW I'm cool.

  2. Anonymous5:02 PM

    Honestly, then stop calling it "pimping".

    On the one hand you urge people to remember that making money isn't an evil thing. On the other hand you jokingly call the practice of selling to consultants "pimping".

    The true profession of being a pimp is not something to be proud of.

    Be proud of what you do. You at least go to conferences and pay for them out of your hard earned funds with a possibility of earning possibly some of that money back for at least a break even.

    That's not a bad thing. And certainly showcases that you are an astute business person.

    I think it may be wise to disclose a vendor tie in when it is there, someone funding you, paying your way, paying for the hotel, etc.

    But unless you honestly think you are exploiting people (which I seriously doubt anyone would say you do), then you aren't a pimp in anyone's dictionary.

  3. Building friendship even among competitors is one of the best values the community has to offer. We are not islands.

    My favorite Dave Sobel moment. We're riding the mission to mars ride (not it's real name because I can't think of it). At the end of the ride we sucessfully land on mars. At that moment Dave picks up his phone. "This is Dave" Now that's cell reception.

  4. Wow, lots to say here.

    Karl, I do the same thing. The number of SMS and email messages I sent for NGR is staggering sometimes, and just keeps me in touch people I consider friends.

    Karl and I talk all kinds of things, and its not just business. We've had great evenings just playing blackjack, and I made sure to pass on some travel tips for he and his wife. It's good to have "peeps" you know and can rely on, besides just in business.

    I'm on the road a lot, it seems. The travel becomes fun when you have people to share it with, and the support of one another makes the world go around. I do business better with a beer in my hand anyway, and having people to do it with who support you make it so much more enjoyable.

    As for the pimpin'... No, we're proud of it. But for anonymous... it's a way of acknowledging that there ARE those in the industry who are slimy about it. When I use the pimp term with friends, it's a way to remind ourselves not to reach that point. If you take yourself too seriously, you get sucked in. Thus, Always Be Pimpin'.

    Don't take yourself too seriously, and remember, you're in it for life balance. Have some fun. ABP.

    Pimpin' virtualization,

  5. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Aloha Karl -

    I was recently turned on to your blog by Vlad during a strong bout of "Karl pimping" - I have to say I'm very impressed at the level of thought and intelligence conveyed in your posts.

    Mahalo, and keep up the good work.


Feedback Welcome

Please note, however, that spam will be deleted, as will abusive posts.

Disagreements welcome!