Thursday, December 01, 2016

How Much Did SMB Spend on IT?

IDC research says that by the close of 2016, SMBs (under 500 employees) will have collectively spent $564 Billion on IT hardware, software and services. (That includes SAAS like Salesforce and Office365 and managed services like RMM).

Amazon announced that they are getting in the Virtual Server space at $5 per month. They are starting selling cable-voice bundles for Comcast and Frontier. There is a heavy rumor that Amazon will be offering Hosted VoIP soon (possibly powered by BroadCloud).

You have to start thinking value-add, retention, customer satisfaction and upselling. I have been chanting outcomes and bundles for a long time. Going forward selling product just won't work -- they can buy that via a click on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Employee Turnover

I have been helping a friend with some issues pertaining to "an employee exodus" (4 out 15 people are leaving in a month). Surprisingly, there is a bunch of writing on this topic.

Fred Wilson has written about it twice recently. In the first post, he writes about getting employees back to shipping and coding. He also mentions that most of these companies are mission driven.

He even writes, "And if you don’t work in a company that is mission driven, or if you don’t connect with your company’s mission, then I would encourage you to quit and join a company that you are inspired to work for and then throw yourself at that work." Well, in sales without belief in product or company, it is a challenge to sell. In many positions, it is probably somewhat similar: if you think the company sucks, it is hard to do your best work. You want employees who believe in the company.

“Take Care Of Your Employees And They’ll Take Care Of Your Business,” Says Richard Branson.

In the second post, "The number one cause of employee unhappiness and unwanted departures is “I don’t understand where we are going.” That is a failure of leadership on the CEO’s part.

The CEO's main job is to set culture, vision, mission. Next it is to sell. But as Hugh MacLeod points out,
All campaigns are ultimately internal. In other words, selling to your employees comes first. Selling them on vision, mission, culture. (I won't quote Simon Sinek here because I have done it too often.)

People leave for a number of reasons:

  • # 1 People leave Managers, not jobs. 
  • Bored or unchallenged.
  • Co-workers
  • No Recognition.
  • Not Meaningfully Contributing (not meaningful work).
  • Lack of or a Change in Culture or Vision.

This was a great article about why people leave and how to change that culture. Worth the read!

How Safe is Your Copyright Harbor?

"BMG is striking back after two American internet ISPs tried to get a declaratory judgment for their cases against BMG. The companies in question are RCN and Windstream." See story HERE.

"Windstream is urging a New York federal court to rule that ISPs are not liable for the file trading behavior of their broadband subscribers. Late last year a Virginia federal jury ruled that ISPs could be held liable for the file sharing behavior of customers on their network, contrary to the belief that ISPs are protected from liability via safe harbor provisions embedded in the DMCA," according to DSLR, which is closely following the story as is TorrentFreak.

"In fact, Cox Communications was ordered to pay $25 million for not doing enough about piracy on its network, despite being one of the more aggressive ISPs on this front over the years."

BMG has anti-piracy partner named Rightscorp. There other groups chasing copyright infringements including ASCAP and MPAA.

I wonder how much of this is due to DPI, the content examination that they do and the data gathering, etc.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Many of you customize everything for clients. I have often explained that it doesn't scale, but Seth Godin explains it here. There is nothing wrong with customizing but there is an actual cost associated with doing so -- and with on-going support for that custom solution.

Why Upsell

Why do they ask if you want fries with that? "Elmer Wheeler was a sales trainer nearly a century ago. He got hired by a chain of drugstores to increase sales at the soda fountain. In those days, a meal might consist of just an ice cream soda for a nickel. But for an extra penny or two, you could add a raw egg (protein!). Obviously, if more people added an egg, profits would go up. Wheeler taught the jerks (isn't that a great job title?) to ask anyone who ordered a soda, "One egg or two?" Sales of the egg add-on skyrocketed." From who else but Seth Godin.

If 10% of the people buy the add-on, your ARPU increases, revenue goes up and profits should increase (unless you sell underwater).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Tidbits

"A federal judge in Texas has issued a nationwide injunction blocking President Obama's overtime pay rule. The executive action, which was due to take effect December 1st, would require employers to pay overtime to workers earning less than $47,476 a year." WSJ reports. Original post.

Oracle bought the managed DNS provider that suffered a DDoS attack recently, DYN.

"You can do better. Especially if you have happy customers and product-market fit. That’s the hardest part today. Too many vendors, too many products..... disruption means there absolutely, positively, are another 50-100 customers out there for every single one you have today. There is no chance you have maxxed our your market. There isn’t." [saas sales]

SaaS Founders take on PR (Public Relations/Publicity).

IN the midst of the Polycom acquisition saga and VTECH buying snom, quietly, Frost & Sullivan honored Grandstream with Global Enterprise IP Endpoints Market Company of the Year Award, which I never heard of.

Windstream filed to discontinue SMB DSL service in CLEC territories due to the equipment is no longer supported (and they only have 300 customers using it!)

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading.

Now register for the Goal Setting webinar.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

On Leadership for CEOs

Great collection of advice for CEOs on leadership from successful CEOs like Warren Buffett.

This cartoon from GapingVoid sums up Leadership nicely.

New Overtime Laws Hit Dec. 1

This video explains some of the changes coming from the federal overtime laws.

"Right now, if a worker earns a salary of more than $23,660 a year they're exempt from earning overtime. If they earn less than that, they can be paid time and a half for every hour over 40 in a week. The big change is that threshold for an exempt employee is moving to $47,476 a year. That means if you earn less than that, you will be eligible for overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours a week. That change is coming December 1, 2016."

The Federal Dept. of Labor is being challenged by 20 states (see here).

"The new rule clarifies which workers qualify for an exemption and states that any worker who makes less than $47,476 per year or $913 per week is eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week, regardless of job title or description.
The DOL notes that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), under which the overtime pay protection rule falls, covers employees of enterprises that have an “annual gross volume of sales made, or business done,” of $500,000 or more. In addition, employees of certain entities are covered by the FLSA regardless of the gross volume of sales or business done."

Just thought you might need to know.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The WLAN Business

Extreme Networks just bought the Wireless LAN business from Zebra Technology. Maybe they want the old Ruckus business, too. Brocade bought Ruckus earlier this year but now that Broadcom is acquiring Brocade, Ruckus will be spun off or sold.

"Nearly two-thirds (64%) of small to medium-sized businesses – more than 7 million – would like to take advantage of ‘Wi-Fi as a Service’ offerings from managed services providers (MSPs), according to a Wi-Fi as a service survey conducted by iGR." [source]

Privacy Policy as Profitable

How can you be like DuckDuckGo? DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine. "By offering one thing that other search engines don’t offer, a promise not to store your search history, DuckDuckGo has grown impressively, year after year, with no signs of that abating." [AVC]

There is a lot of room for you to join the Privacy Safeguard segment.

AT&T had to stop charging for privacy.

Broadband Providers Will Need Permission to Collect Private Data. The FCC privacy policy is HERE.


There are ways to make email more profitable. A study by 451 is here with stats about email usage.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Big Stuff Happening

Following the news of CenturyLink buying Level3 and C-Link dumping its data center business on a coalition of PE Firms. (There are also many other deals, read here.) The rumors once again prove true with Windstream doing an all-stock deal to acquire EarthLink (value $1.1B.) Nice graphic of the synergies. I guess WIND had to do something while its rival, C-Link, got bigger by eating Level3. And buying EarthLink was cheap. It gives them fiber - from old CLECs that ELNK bought: Deltacom, IFN, One Comm and Choice - as well as the New Edge Networks nationwide DSL network. It gives WIND a retail vertical that maybe they can focus on. It does not fill in gaps in the Western USA and does provide some overlap in the Eastern USA -- if ELNK can provide accurate fiber maps (if not call me I have them!).

One interesting deal is Oracle wanting to buy NetSuite. "Oracle said in a statement on Saturday that holders of 53 percent of unaffiliated NetSuite shares agreed to tender their shares by the deadline of Friday. The deal will be completed on Monday, Oracle said. Oracle offered to buy NetSuite in July for $109 a share in response to challenges from rival enterprise software companies like Workday and Salesforce that have popular cloud-based software products."

Oracle is mish-mash of acquisitions (Acme Packet?). No idea what the strategy is there other than to sell up and down the stack to every sector of business on the globe. You? We have something for you. And for you and you and you!

How LinkedIn Drove a Wedge Between Microsoft and Salesforce. The value of the data on LinkedIn made for a bloody fight. Worth the read on NYT.

Facebook reported $7.01 billion in revenue, up 56 percent year-over-year, and quarterly profit nearly tripled to $2.38 billion.
The company saw $6.82 billion in ad revenue, roughly 84 percent of which stemmed from mobile. What's next for FB? The telecom gear industry! "Facebook announced a piece of network equipment known as an optical switch, which it calls Voyager. In geek-speak, this is the first "white box" transponder and routing device for Open Packet DWDM optical networks."

We Don't Sell Iced Tea

I like this ad about the Lemonade Stand, because it is the opposite of what most entrepreneurs do.

Most founders would run in the house and try to make iced tea to sell to the people who ask for it. That is not a good strategy. Be like the kids: Sell your lemonade! Say No to the iced tea.

When you have enough bandwidth, add a new product (the iced tea). But give an honest effort to selling the lemonade before adding a new product or tweaking your lemonade into Arnold Palmers.