Saturday, March 31, 2012

Taking the SMB 150 Too Seriously?

I've been told that I'm taking the SMB 150 contest too seriously. If you're not familiar with it, check out Basically, the SMB 150 list is a joint venture of SMB Nation and SMBTN. They want to compile a list of influential people in the SMB space. It brings attention to both organizations and gives Harry some fodder for a magazine article.

Is this a "serious" contest? I'd have to say no. When you look at some of the votes, there are amazing and influential people who have almost none. Some people I find influential are not on the nominee list at all. Plus, you can vote as many times as you want for as many people as you want.
So the "voting" piece is just an opportunity for a fun-fest.

At some point, a panel of judges (mostly from SMBTN, I believe) will look at the list of nominees and come up with 150 winners. It's not scientific. It's not a reproducible experiment. It's not the definitive list. But it IS a list, and reflects some interesting aspects of the current SMB community.
I have been putting up "ads" for the SMB 150 because it's fun. You can see them on my Facebook page: Obviously, I'm not taking this too seriously.

I also blogged about it a few times:

My Recommendations for the SMB 150

Support the Women of the SMB 150

And I put out a self-serving press release:
Small Business Author Karl Palachuk Nominated as "SMB 150" Influencer

Now to answer the question:

Why Put Effort Into Promoting the SMB 150 List
There are three reasons.

1st, it's fun. It's always okay to have fun in your job. Part of having success is enjoying what you do. I have lots of friends in the SMB Community, so this is a great excuse to spread some joy. And if my friends at SMB Nation and SMBTN get some extra attention, then that's fine with me.

2nd, it brings attention to our Community. Even if you think it's a hokey and unscientific poll, it's still a great excuse to open discussions, bring attention to our community, and highlight some people who really do contribute to the community. My first blog post was a list of about 80 people that I think you should vote for, with a few words on each. That took some effort. But it brings attention to the truly good, professional people we have in the community!

3rd, it's a great marketing opportunity. Any time you can talk about something that's important to you, and get others to talk about it as well, that's good. In my case, I've got three approaches. I have the fun approach on Facebook. I have written some serious blog posts. And I've generated a major press release. That means I paid to send it to 250,000 subscribers on PRWeb.

That press release looks like NEWS to people and web bots who aren't worried about whether it's scientific.

My press release has received more than 65,000 impressions. It's been read more than 800 times on the primary PRWeb site. And it's been picked up by at least 65 major media sites. To see a sampling of the coverage, see

In other words, you can make marketing fodder out of whatever you want. All marketing has a compounding effect. So a few thousand extra links to me and and my company is always good.

Just like everything else in life, you can take something and interpret it to make good things happen!

One Final Word on Community
The SMB (SBS / MSP / IT Pro) community has been growing and evolving for years. What makes us a community is our willingness to get together and do things. For fun. For self-improvement. For the broader community. For each other.

As the IT Pro community has matured over the last ten years, some people have gone off to do their own thing.

I love the people at ConnectWise.
I love the people at Autotask.
I love the people at HTG.
I love the people at Technology Marketing Toolkit.

But as each of those groups has grown successful, their members are participating less and less with the larger community. The funny thing is that their leadership is NOT participating less. But the members are.

There are easily more than a million IT Pro consultants around the world. A few thousand participate in the "community."

Sometimes I go to a conference and joke that I know everyone there. But, really, I've never been to conference of any size where I knew everyone. Even in Sacramento, we'll hold an event with 40 people, and ten of them will be people I've never met before.

Many people don't see value in the community for whatever reason. Some people just see all of us as their competition. Some people are hunkered down in the bad economy and waiting to participate when things get better.

As for me, I have grown to truly love this community. I have so many friends all over the world because of it.

So when a community activity gives me a chance to 1) Have fun, 2) Promote the Community, and 3) Do Some Marketing, that's just perfect for me!

(Don't forget to vote today:



  1. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Right on have some fun. I like just getting some PR for Special Olympics.

  2. You are brilliant my friend, and I could not agree more. I am really honored to be nominated in your company, and so happy to represent Cisco and Women in IT! Thanks for promoting a great organization, in a fun way, with your creative marketing skills!

    I am having fun voting for those I respect and admire, {and for all those reading} please consider voting for me too :)

  3. Well written Karl. A fantastic sumation of the event and all your comments are right on the ball.

    I too have been nominated and this event has been fun for me.


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