Thursday, April 27, 2023

NSITSP Offers Media Training - Be prepared for the next cyber "incident"

As far as I can remember, going back forty years in this industry, I've never seen a session on media training for IT consultants. Yes, the upper echelons of Microsoft, Adobe, and Intel all get media training. Now we're starting to bring it to SMB IT consultants!

Way back (two years ago), I was really struck by the media response to the big Kaseya attack. And, to a lesser degree, the Colonial Pipeline attack, and pretty much all cyber security incidents. 

The media were largely ill-informed. Of course they didn't understand the technology. That's okay. It's not their job. But they also didn't understand the most basic elements of what these attacks mean to businesses. They don't understand the channel, or retail markets, or cloud services, or onsite vs. remote. 

And so, they quickly jumped to conclusions. I've mentioned this several times in meetings. Their instant analysis includes statements like:

  • They (vendors/customers/IT consultants) obviously didn't know what they were doing.
  • The software must not be very good.
  • Or it was set up wrong.
  • The IT people didn't do their job.
  • Why would anyone outsource their IT support?
  • Why would any IT company use such dangerous, powerful tools?
  • and so forth.

ALL of these comments come from a position of being un-informed or ill-informed.

Now imagine the next big attack. (There will be one.) Imagine that you have some basic materials to give the media and some words they can use to explain what happened. Not in deep detail. But just enough so that they don't say wrong, insulting, uninformed things.

And then imagine that they want a one sentence quote. Or a six-second sound byte. They might talk to you for fifteen minutes. But if you want to be in the story, you need to give them one good sentence or one sound byte.

Can you do that?

Most professionals can talk for an hour about what they do. But they can't talk for six seconds. I was a radio broadcaster and DJ for ten years. I've written more than twenty books and hundreds of thousands of words. I have literally lost count of how many presentations I've made. 

I don't think I could deliver the one sentence that matters.

So I am grateful to have this training. I'm grateful that the NSITSP Marketing Committee and Steve Kazan have organized this. 

The session will cover:

  • Creating clear, impactful messages
  • Delivering smooth, solid answers to the tough questions
  • Avoiding missteps and gotchas
  • Positioning your narrative so the reporter gets what they need to write a great story that is also positive and on-message for you
  • and more

And I'm grateful that the Board of Directors has decided that this is a members-only training.

Way back when I started talking about the challenges of our industry, I mentioned this exact scenario. And I've said a thousand times: "Whenever people are talking about our industry, we should have a seat at the table."

This is what that looks like. I would *love* to have hundreds (or thousands) of IT consultants have the training it takes to talk to the media. To know how to prepare. What to say and what not to say.


If you're a member of the NSITSP, please click this link to register:

If you're a FREE member, now is a great time to join.

If you were to buy the smallest bit of media training, you would spend thousands of dollars. This is your opportunity to join for $125 or $150 and get it for free. See

If you've been over on the side asking, "What do I get for my money?" I hope you'll dig in, join us, and look around. At $150 or less, you don't have much on the line, and you're guaranteed to get your money's worth. 

Find out all the details here:

If you're not a member, join us! Then you can look around inside our site, see what we're up to, and join the movement to transform our industry into a profession.

If you're not sure about any of this, post a comment! Join the conversation. 


Thursday, April 20, 2023

NOW is the Perfect Time to Join the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community

 I posted a video you should watch about this topic: Three big reasons you should join my Community NOW.

Did you ever feel like the world was conspiring to tell you something? Me neither.

But I can tell you about Three Things that are pointing you to one great decision, a lot of excellent education, and a path to a more successful IT consulting business.

One - The SMB Online Conference. It only happens every three years. It's only $399 for two full days of amazing training that you will revisit again and again in the year ahead. It's May 17th and 18th. This is not like any online event you've seen before. Unless you were with us three years ago.

[ Note: It's only $299 between now and April 30th. On May 1st, it goes to $399. If you want to join 140+ friends at this event, head to ]

Two - IT Service Provider University
. Now in our tenth year, we have twenty-six 5-week courses to choose from. Ten of them are offered live each year. At only $399 each, these are the best value you'll find for any training focused 100% on improving YOUR managed service business.

[ Note: If you want to pay full price, now is a great time to sign up for Rayanne Buchianico's class on positioning your IT business for growth or sale. See ]

Three - The Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community was created to give you access to everything I've done and everything I offer across all three brands. That means, your membership includes 

  • Every book I've written
  • Every training I've ever done
  • Every checklist and SOPs I've published anywhere at anytime 
  • AND - You get free access to the SMB Online Conference
  • AND - You get free access to every 5-week class offered at IT Service Provider University

Just those trainings alone are worth more than $10,000 combined. And that's before you join in community activities and start downloading books. 

Why do I say all of these are pointing you to one great decision? Because we're going to raise the cost of membership by $100 per year on July 1st. If you join now at only $1,199, you lock in that price for life.


Join now - before the price goes up - and you lock in your membership price for life.

If you join now, you get live access to the SMB Online Conference in May. 

If you join now, you get live access to all of the courses we offer for the next twelve months.

Don't get me wrong: If you join AFTER July 1st and pay more, you'll still get the content from the Online Conference. But it will be on-demand . . . for the next three years.

Check out all the details right now at JOIN.Smallbizthoughts.ORG.


ASCII Navigate MSP Event Announced for Hawaii

Alysia from ASCII slipped this in my mailbox . . . 

I'm already registered. Join me in Hawaii December 7th!

ASCII Navigate MSP Event Announced for Hawaii

Bethesda, Maryland – April 20, 2023 – The ASCII Group, a membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers, is pleased to announce ASCII Navigate, a special one-day event taking place in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 7.

ASCII Navigate is an educational conference designed exclusively for MSPs to map their voyage of IT business ownership within a beautiful conference setting. The destination event will foster the cross-sharing of knowledge within the ASCII community through technical presentations, panel discussions and a keynote speaker. 

“In creating ASCII Navigate, we aimed to select a location that was meeting the needs of MSPs in a region that we had not previously held an event,” said Jessie Devine, VP Channel Development, The ASCII Group. “By offering MSPs in this area access to business building sessions and networking opportunities with peers and technology sponsors, we aspire to connect our community with those from Hawaii and beyond.”

“This is the first time we are bringing ASCII to the islands, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Jerry Koutavas, President, The ASCII Group. “Within our community we track the latest advancements and industry trends, and we look forward to bringing a channel event to Hawaii that is filled with actionable business intelligence.”

ASCII members, technology vendor partners and business leaders will gather for this in-person event at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. ASCII Navigate is designed for MSPs focused on revenue growth and expanding their current business model.

To learn more about ASCII Navigate, please visit

About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers. The Group has members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national and international reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of leading and major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit


KP Note: Register now - and tell them Karl said you had to!


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Join me at the 2023 Nonfiction Writers Conference - May 11-12

Join me at the 2023 Nonfiction Writers Conference!

The Nonfiction Writers Conference
May 11-12

If you're an author (even a fiction author), you should take a look at the 2023 Nonfiction Writers Conference. I love this conference because there's a lot of great discussion around marketing, promotion, paid speaking, and, of course, the business of writing. 

Please check it out:

I am honored to be on a panel with Donna Maria and Donna Hartley entitled, "Create Revenue Streams Around Your Book." Here's the session description:

"Wondering how you could leverage your book to increase your income? Join us for a live discussion with authors who are doing just that—making a full-time living around their books from speaking, courses, digital products, physical products, memberships, and more."

Donna Maria is the Founder and CEO of the entrepreneurial training company, the Indie Business Network. IBN is the first membership-based entrepreneurial training company on the Internet, and has been consistently 6-figure profitable for over two decades.

Donna Hartley is an international inspirational speaker and trainer for over three decades. Donna is a former Miss Hawaii and television actress, who worked with Robin Williams and Dick Van Dyke. Donna has shared her compelling story on NBC, ABC, PBS, and The New York Times. 

The Nonfiction Writers Conference
May 11-12

(My panel is on Friday)

I'd love to see you there!


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Position Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale - New Class Starts April 25th

Position Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale - Taught by Rayanne Buchianico


“Rayanne’s course on getting a company ready for growth or sale was amazing.” 
– David Streit, Stephill Associates

As your business matures, you want to take control of profits and your financial house. You invested the time to set up your chart of accounts, align income with COGS for easy measuring, and organize your reports and service desk. You have the information you need; this course teaches you how to use it.

This class provides unique content from a unique teacher! Rayanne is a managed service provider from Tampa, FL. She is also an accountant and an Intuit Certified ProAdvisor. In addition to her MSP business, Rayanne helps I.T. consultants to take control of their finances and understand their own business at a deeper level.

Only $399
Five Hours of Great Training

Topics for this class include:

  • Create KPIs specific to your company
  • Benchmark against your peers
  • Detailed cash flow management and measure debt against income
  • Measure service-level profits and improve profitability
  • Identify red flags in your business, make changes before they become problems
  • Prepare your company for growth, sale or merger
  • Use margins to price your services for profit
  • Income Tax Planning and Projections
  • Action plans for success

… And More!

Weekly Agenda

Week One

  • Plan
  • Organize
  • Documentation

Week Two

  • Valuation Methods
  • Working Capital
  • Tracking EBITDA

Week Three

  • Build KPIs
  • Develop Trends
  • Labor Costs

Week Four

  • Cash Flow Forecasting
  • Debt Reduction
  • Controlling Costs

Week Five

  • Workshop – Bring is together

Delivered by Rayanne Buchianico, Accounting Professional and QuickBooks Advisor. Rayanne has been an MSP – managed service provider – for many years and advises MSPs on how to get the most out of their QuickBooks and PSA integrations.

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and “office hours” with the instructor.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Owner or Operations Manager.


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

What's the Least-Defended Attack Point for Ransomware? Your Backups. Attend this Webinar and Learn More

Too many MSPs take backup for granted!

Backup is no longer the ultimate protection from ransomware - it's the least-defended attack point!

If can can change your retention policy for backups, how much damage could I do? Now, assume I have millions of dollars earned from ransomware payments. NOW has much damage can I do?

Cyber attacks are more sophisticated and well-funded than ever. What can you do?

Start by attending this free webinar with Asigra

Join us 

April 19th 
9:00 AM Pacific / Noon Eastern

with Eric Simmons, CEO of Asigra

Register now:

You know that your backups are full of ransomware and old, dangerous code. 

But - you say - "I have immutable backups."

How do you keep that junk out of your backups? And how do you keep out previously-unknown junk off your systems during a restore?

And how do you get back in business without taking forever to filter through every bit of code?

Face it: Your old backup is absolutely NOT doing the job you need it to do. It's 2023 and the cutting-edge backup you installed in 2020 is no longer protecting you. In fact, it's now a major attack point for cyber criminals.

Join Us April 19th are learn what Asigra is doing to take your security to the next level!


Monday, April 10, 2023

Free Coaching Cafe - at Channel Partners - May 3rd

ChannelWise has organized an amazing "Coffee Coaching" event at the Channel Partners Conference and Expo in Las Vegas - and I'm one of thirty coaches they've lined up for this event. It will be . . .

May 3rd

at the Venetian in Las Vegas

Details, coaches, and sign-up are at

Seriously: Check out the page full of coaches.

Kathryn Rose from ChannelWise arranged for the National Society of IT Service Providers to bring some coaches, so Amy Babinchak, Jeff Ponts, and I will be giving away 25-minute coaching sessions.

Plus, you can connect with 

  • Pete Busam
  • Erick Simpson
  • Kathryn Rose
  • Rich Freeman
  • Heather Margolis
  • Dina Moskowitz

and dozens of other coaches and advisors!

As a business professional, you know the value of continuous learning and growth. So I hope you'll agree that 25 minutes with any of these coaches would be worthwhile. And it's one of the few things you can do in Vegas that doesn't cost you anything.

I made this little video, which I think is funny, to let you know what I'm up to:


This event is open to all business owners and entrepreneurs, regardless of industry or level of experience. We believe that everyone should have access to high-quality coaching so this is free for everyone who registers.

And, finally, a huge thanks goes to Amy and Jeff as well as Kathryn for making this happen on behalf of the NSITSP. You can show your gratitude by filling our calendar!

I hope to see you in Vegas, May 3rd!


Thursday, April 06, 2023

The Six Personalities Who Respond to AI

AI chat and AI art have dominated the tech news for the last six months. And in that short span of time, we've seen the six personalities that respond to most changes in technology. These six "people" are seen again and again. You probably know several of them. You probably are one of them.

And, of course, the world is a complicated place. So we are all some mixture of these.

Here are the personalities we see clearly today. My favorite is #5.

1. The Fearful. These folks have a vague response to a vague threat, based primarily on a hundred years of science fiction books and movies. 

People vs. Technology has been a solid basis for sci-fi since the very beginnings. The basic story line is that there's some kind of change just around the corner that's going to introduce a future threat and bring some horrible speculative thing into existence. The "thing" might be a creature, an event, or even a change in society or government. But it never would have happened without this technology advancement.

There's a significant slice of society that is always afraid of "the next" technology. These folks always love the technology we have right now, but they're afraid of whatever the new thing is. Then, the new technology becomes common and the fear moves on to the next big thing.

Sometimes, the fears come true - but almost never. As Mark Twain famously said, "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened." Fear of the unknown is a natural reaction, but we just need to keep it in perspective. Most of the things you worry about simply never happen.

2. The Apprehensive. These folks don't fear the future, per se, but worry about how it will affect them personally. The Apprehensive response is typified by the person what says, "I just saw AI Chat take my job away." The tiny bit of truth in this statement is that the most superficial parts of some jobs will become more automated. This happens to all industries over time. But, in reality, the jobs never go away; they just morph into something else.

In my short life (ahem), I've seen countless examples of people fearing that their jobs would disappear. Artists of all stripes are often fearful of photography, photocopying, electronic graphics, and so forth. But there's always a new, greater demand for creativity over time. Technology enables more creativity than it ever destroys. We've seen this since the earliest days of recorded history.

3. The Creatively Lazy. These people look at emerging technology and try to figure out how to get away with being paid the same to do less work. That's really just another side of the coin that says, "Be more efficient with the new technology." The only thing that really makes them cheaters is when they don't reveal their use of technology. And even that "cheating" is short lived. 

The easiest example of this today is students getting AI to write term papers or copy writers using AI to write better headlines than they can create themselves. But there are two big things to consider on this front. First, any teacher that can't tell if a term paper was written by AI today is a pretty bad teacher and doesn't deserve their salary. It will get better, but today's AI writing is boring, repetitive, and quickly goes down the wrong rabbit hole, often expanding more and more on a fact it got wrong. 

Second, it's not really cheating to use a tool that allows you to work faster. That really is the promise of technology. It's okay to use the tools of our trade.

In the world of technology, many people believe that you should never let a client see you using Google or online services from manufacturers. The logic is that clients could just do this themselves. But that's absurd. Whether a client sees you Google something or look it up in a Microsoft or Cisco forum, YOU have the skills to do that research. The client doesn't know how to isolate the terms that matter, or even know what the answers mean. They can't Google it because it takes experience and education to even know how to answer the question. 

The same is true with AI writing. See more under "The Creator," below.

4. The Enforcer. These are the people who put guard rails on emerging technology. They insist that we look at ethics as well as advancement. They're normally not responding to the fearmongers above, but from a different perspective altogether. 

I call these folks enforcers because they're motivated to make sure that the rules of civilized society remain enforced with regard to the emerging tech. For example, most technology is embraced by police departments before the courts or legislative branches of government have thought about it. The enforcers help to make sure that the technology is used in a way that's consistent with the rest of long-established rules around law enforcement. Here are a couple of specific examples.

With the evolution of the Internet, and the movement of data across "public" wires, government agencies have been able to tap into key routers across the Internet and basically listen on every single exchange of data. Someone needs to ask the questions: Is this legal? Is it constitutional? Is it right? Does it violate rights to privacy? Can it be used in court? 

Most recently, all those questions and more have been raised about the use of AI and facial recognition. Your face is scanned constantly when you are in certain public places. The AI seems to be better at recognizing white faces than black or Asian faces. Should the police still rely on it? Is this a violation of privacy? And again, is it legal, moral, and usable in court?

Over time, all technology becomes better understood by courts and legislatures. But someone needs to be asking the hard questions early in the evolution so that. I have been VERY pleased to see that ethical guidelines have become a standard part of the discussion of technology evolution, in particular with regard to AI.


5. The Creator (or Artist). The Creator sees new technology as a way to spark new ideas. Unlike the apprehensive, the creator's first response is, "Oh, goodie-goodie. What can I do with this?" Instead of fearing that someone will slack on their job, the creator sends employees off to go play with new technology and see what they come up with.

Today, the most common use for AI is to prompt our own ideas. In many ways, this is highest level response. "Hey Chat, give me ten ideas . . .." Or create an outline. Or give me writing prompts for my blog posts. (Note: I don't do this. Yet. I might some day. Today, my ego keeps me from it.)

The latest Wired Magazine (April 2023) has a great example of a teacher (Kelly Gibson) embracing Chat AI to help students to be more creative. She has students write an original thesis statement about a book they are reading. Then the class works as a group to use Chat AI to write an essay based on the thesis. Then the students each have to write an analysis of the work created by the AI. This is a great exercise in critical analysis and the use of AI.


This approach is beautiful for a couple of reasons. First, it embraces the inevitable without trying to put the genie back in the bottle. While the school district's first response was to ban AI, that's approximately as effective as banning phones in school. Gibson likens this to calculators. You can't stop calculators, so don't try. Instead, embrace the future and create assignments that demonstrate how to best use this tool going forward.

Second, this kind of assignment shows students that technology is not "good" or "bad" without context. It's just technology. After all, students in school today will see so much amazing technology in the years ahead that they actually need training on how to approach the evolution of technology, and how to creatively embrace it. For some, that creativity will be related to art. For others it will be science, or architecture, or even historical research.

6. The Entrepreneur. The Entrepreneur takes the Creator bent and turns it to commerce. Without looking beyond the channels I'm already subscribed to, I've seen dozens of videos pop up on how to use AI tools to make money. The entrepreneur (in all things) is willing to try new things and see if there's a business model there. As with the creator, the Entrepreneur embraces the technology first and then looks for ways to bring something new into the world that is only possible with the new technology.

Ultimately, some entrepreneurs will create new lines of business or new business categories. And if you're thinking you've already missed the boat, keep this bit of information in mind: It is absolutely wrong that "first to market" makes the most money. Especially with new technology, first to market usually means that you lose the most money. Then, the Creator types swoop in, improve on your idea, buy your failed infrastructure for ten cents on the dollar, and make a boatload of cash.

Sadly for me, I tend to be more entrepreneur than creator. Sigh. It's my lot in life.


As the old saying goes, it takes all kinds. We need people to keep us from adopting things too fast. But they shouldn't be allowed to stop progress altogether. We need people to set down some rules. But those rules need to evolve along with the technology.

And, ultimately, we don't have any choice. Technology has always evolved and will always evolve. An amazing new world is evolving right now in our lifetimes. It would be silly to pretend we can stop it or even slow it. We all have to accept the future eventually. You get to choose whether acceptance comes begrudgingly or eagerly.

As for me, I have believed in the power of technology since I was a child. I believe the future will be better because of the evolution of AI. Yes, we need strong ethical component, but that doesn't need to slow us down much at all.

How do you react to this brave new world of AI? Comments welcome!