Never Ask a Cancer Patient This……….

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I’ve heard strange questions or statements from people about being diagnosed with cancer. The following statement takes the “Heres Your Sign” Award for September. Let me know if you heard something better.

I ran into a friend at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago who I’ve haven’t seen in a couple of years. He said that he had heard that I had terminal cancer, I confirmed the rumor to which he replied “So when are you going to die?”

I think that this question falls under the heading of ignorant. I’m still stable & kicking.

Remember that no matter how Peter Bill Waynebad your life may seem at the       time there is always someone else who’s life is worse and your life will get better

the doctors continue to tell me that I’m stable

.

Bill

The Power of Community

Bill & Sons, Trent and Trevor

Bill & Sons, Trent and Trevor

The Power of Community

This is the unofficial official last word on Sage Summit 2013. A lot of positives have been written about this year’s conference. I’ve heard very little negative and its success is due to the work of the entire Event team. As of this writing they’re already meeting to plan for next year’s invasion of Sin City, Las Vegas!

Even though the doctors have told me not to plan out that far it’s my goal to be in Las Vegas next year enjoying what has long become my favorite conference. As my doctor told me she’s been wrong 100% of the time, there is something to be said for consistency.

It was very evident to me this past Summit that the group that I started in May of 2008 passed the group status and now sits comfortably on its own as a community. The difference you ask?

The first point is that groups are managed while communities are nurtured.
A ‘group’ has a connotation of people being put together, where a ‘community’ has a connotation that individuals have come togetheron their own.
Is your group perceived as a benefit to its members?
Does your group keep your members engaged and interested?

Let me give you a couple of examples why I think the LinkedIn Group is a community.

Because of my cancer I haven’t been able to earn what I need to cover my monthly expenses, so I had made the decision not to attend. Summit. In May I received an email from Joe Noll, ‎President at RKL eSolutions LLC in Lancaster PA. In his email he offered to pay for my registration, airfare and hotel costs. I have never communicated with Joe in any form. I was dumbfounded. When I asked him why he was doing this his answer “for all that I’ve done and continue to do for the Sage Community”

My registration was covered by Sage, thanks Ed Kless and to top things off Dave Knorr, Renee Knorr & Cheryl Masseth sent me a check for consulting services that were marginal at best.Bill Sean Tess BorosBill Diana Peter

All the “best of health” wishes, kind words, hugs, finally meeting Sarah Michel, who is the impetus behind this blog; Joe Ward, spending time with Wayne Schulz, Robert Wood, Diana Waterman and many others.

A community band together in times of need helps those that need the help. I’m sure there are other stories out there like mine. The truth is, I had too much pride to publicize my situation and I know I’m not the only one. How can people help if they don’t know? There is a community all around you know that will help. Use it when need and more important help those that need your help.

My only wish for this community after I’m gone is that it retains its sense of a community and continues to grow by attracting quality members.
Pascal Bill Cannons
Hope to see you all In Las Vegas

Saying goodbye to Tom Miller – or – what do you do when Superman retires? by Peter Wolf on February 6, 2013

Tom Miller @ Sage Summit

Tom Miller @ Sage Summit

Tom Miller has announced that he will retire from Sage North America on March 29, 2013.

This is not new news – it’s been out there for a while now. It took me a while to figure out what I would like to say.

I would like to use this space and honor his legacy.

Personally I’ve always been the type of guy that likes to sharpen the saw by reading smart ideas by smart people presented in new and interesting ways. Yet, while reading these sources of information and inspiration, I’m always reminded of the classics – Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Peter Drucker, Napoleon Hill – which, to me, are the fundamental sources upon which most other business philosophies are built upon.

I am not going out too far on a limb to say: Tom Miller is the embodiment of these fundamental sources of business inspiration.

He’s a living, breathing example of those classics.

I would challenge anyone to name a time where they interacted with Tom and didn’t come away richer for the experience. Whether it’s direct advice or, more likely than not, you walking away thinking you came up with a great idea even though he skillfully planted it, fed and watered it and helped it grow.

Tom has mastered the unbelievably difficult skill of helping others reach their potential. He’s not in the fish-handing-out business, he’s in the teaching-people-to-fish business.

He embodies the positive thinking, get ‘er done, 1 + 1 can equal 3 mentality that I aspire to maintain. Tom doesn’t see obstacles and problems, he sees opportunities and exciting challenges. Tom believes in the power of free enterprise and the ability of sharp business owners to find ways to create value for their customers, their partners and themselves.

And, as a software reseller, you can rest easy knowing that Tom has walked a mile (or two) in your shoes. He understands what it means to hump for sales and to motivate teams and to struggle to find talent and to keep customers happy.

He’s been there and done that. He knows your pain and, when he commiserates with you, you believe it and you feel it.

As such a staunch channel advocate, he has overseen a very difficult transition as Sage has made controversial (some would say necessary) moves to a more aggressive and more self-deterministic future that has changed the Sage channel dynamic. During this period, he has continued to advocate for Sage and the future of Sage while also continuing to provide a rich and deep set of partner services to help Sage channel partners transition to become Firms of the Future and learn self-sustaining skills in the Sales, Marketing and Consulting Academies.

Partners that have taken advantage of these – and other – programs provided by Tom’s team have come away stronger for the experience. I know that my company has.

Tom is also sharp as a tack. He understands the big picture and can dive down into the details when necessary. Present him with a problem that has been plaguing you for a while and he can distill it to its essence in a single conversation.

And he’ll have you walking away thinking you solved it on your own and the two of you just had a nice long chat.

I have only known Tom for a few brief years and – mostly due to his personal charisma and style – I consider him a teacher, a mentor and a friend. I feel fortunate to have met him, to know him and to see such a class act firsthand.

Tom epitomizes the ability of one man to create a cascading positive influence in the world.

If you’d like to leave a comment on Peter’s LinkedIn Post please click on this link  http://linkd.in/VOmvZN

Thank you, Tom.

Insights 2010

Tammy Mathews, Bill Kizer & some short guy at Sage Insights 2010 ~ Denver, Colorado

Photograph Taken By Wayne Schulz

Like a lot of other Sage Partners, Employees & Exhibitors I just returned home from Sage’s Annual Partner Conference. It was held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and I’m happy to report that I think this was the best Insights that I’ve attended.  It was refreshing, positive and had the feel of a large family reunion without the drunk uncle.

My only negative was the size of that damned convention center. I made the mistake of wearing new shoes to walk endlessly throughout the monolithic Center. It seemed to me that the halls were about 6 miles long and of course sessions covered every square foot available. At the end of the first day my feet were killing me, I developed blisters and I promise that I will never scoff at another woman when they complain about walking in heels. I think that I was the only person there who actually missed the Gaylord hotels, especially the Nashville property where everyone gets lost at least once and when you get lost in the Orlando Gaylord at least you had the alligators to keep you distracted while you wandered aimlessly. If my calculations are correct I walked a total of 493 miles in 4 days! Not really but it seemed that way.

Now that I’ve whined about the walking, let’s get to the good stuff. The keynotes were succinct. As usual Himanshu was dynamite. Tom Miller held his own even though he had to follow Himanshu. I always enjoy listening to Laurie Schultz. I especially enjoyed Sue Swenson’s opening day keynote.

The sessions that I attended seemed to be more relevant and timely. Ed Kless had a 3 part (that’s 3 straight hours) session titled “Firm Of The Future” and I don’t think that anyone left. There were more sessions on Social Media which seemed to be well attended. The Social Media Session that was moderated by Dennis Frahmann was phenomenal and I could have sat through another 2-3 hours. The panel was well picked and there were a lot of good questions. There were several hands on sessions that also looked packed.

Rob Johnson was giving out signed copies of his new book Kick Your Own Ass. I wrote about my misadventures with the book on the group website http://www.sage-li-group.com.

The difference in 2009 versus 2010 was papable, the chatter I heard was how far we’ve come as a company & how the future is looking brighter than ever. We’ve got a long ways to go, but it looks like we’re headed in the right direction.

I’ve included some of the comments that were posted in the Discussions area of Sage LinkedIn Partners, Employees & Alumni Community: :

Peter Wolf

    Peter Wolf, President at Azamba Consulting Group

    1. Content / conference itself: I’m finding that overall the mood is upbeat and positive. A lot of folks are seeing an uptick in prospect and client interest again – in some cases this is early stage proposals and in others this is signed orders.

    I feel that the Sage executives are an open, forthright group and they are keeping their committments to their three (?? is it more ??) key initiatives. Kudos to them all and to all the other Sage people that help make that possible.As anyone who has watched Seinfeld knows… anybody can MAKE committments – it’s keeping them… that’s the hard part. They seem to be doing a great job from what I can see. As always, it’s great to re-connect with people that we haven’t seen for a year and to put in some face time to all the new friends made via Social networking over the last 12 months. I tip my hat to Bill Kizer and crew for establishing this group – it really helps keep the conversations going (good and bad) throughout the year. 2. Venue / food / layout. These things never seem to bother me although I have found that they are typically a “common enemy” for a lot of people. 😉

    I have a booth (#520 – shameless plug) and appreciate that the booths are placed closer together than last year (where there was a football field separating one side from the other in any given row). It makes the flow seem more energetic which is great.

    John Hoyt

    John Hoyt, Partner, Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP – Consulting Group Enterprise Solutions

    The Conference:
    Overall rating – Excellent.
    There was no special motivational speaker, which is great. They always have the same message, and the fact that we are at Insights means we are already motivated. Sage management motivating us is sufficient.The keynotes at all levels were concise and to the point, and I hope everyone else got the message as I did. The management team, at last, has a focus and are all on the same page. I support their efforts wholeheartedly!
    I took advantage of most of the sessions by Ed Kless, and these were invaluable to me. We cannot get too much of this information, but the interaction of the other people in these was key. I’m not convinced that updates on product roadmaps add much beyond the quarterly update presentations we get. I would like to see drilldown deeper into details that we cannot cover during those. I know there were sessions on BI and SQL, so these may be what I am looking for. The trade show was comprehensive, but I had a difficult time getting to everything. To exhibitors – I really don’t need gimmicks. Just present your product, so I can quickly understand what you have, and move on.The Venue:
    This layout and the logistics for me were far superior to the Gaylords. I want to escape to a separate hotel, where the facilities, food and drink are different, and probably better.

    I did not mind the food – it had more flavor and spice than in previous years. It’s never going to be haute cuisine, but that’s not why we’re here, and it is adequate. I would have liked champagne during the cocktail hours, but that’s just me!

    Wayne Schulz

    Wayne Schulz, Schulz Consulting http://www.s-consult.com

    I thought the numbers of people were down but those who attended were much more experienced and open about sharing.

    I’ve never been to a competitor’s conference but I’m pretty sure at those events that the regular folk like us don’t have a chance to talk to the top VP’s and President…… of course I couldn’t think of anything to actually talk to Jodi about other than how glad I was that we weren’t at the Gaylord Opryland this year (which was flooded in about 8 feet of water ) but I guess you have to start somewhere 😉

    Here’s what I’d like to see in future conferences:

    1. I guess we still need road map sessions – but it seems that new streets and highways get built faster than the maps can be updated …

    What I’d like to see is a session on “why we did this” where Sage product folks could explain the real rationale behind some of the product feature decisions.

    I saw a glimpse of this in the hands-on training classes and it was very helpful to understand the reason behind why a particular feature may or may not have been added.

    2. One Powerpoint Keynote/Session Rule…

    Sage Executives are best when they’re not on script. Skip the bulk of those Powerpoints — or mail them out after the conference.

    I realize you have to create some standard message type content for a keynote but I find myself listening most closely to the speaker when they’re not on a script.

    I think both Ed and Rob do this for their “classes” — which are really more like learning events….. the last time I went to Ed’s session he announced that he had 30 minutes of presentation (thankfully usually only one PPT) and then the class could vote on what they’d like to talk about (it’s always related to the overall theme of the session).

    I think it works — at the Firm of the Future there had to be 60 people who sat through 3 concurrent sessions without leaving. As best I could tell just about every single person in the room participated….

    Oh and for some reason these sessions also product almost zero rants about policy and/or Sage — nearly all the discussion is about how to improve…. there’s a big lesson in these session formats imho.

    3. Let the product people get more involved in keynotes. Scott Zandenberg (sp) was great (loved his opening cartoon about change in the install base). The hands-on classroom was excellent when they went off-script and talked about why a change was or wasn’t made to the product.

    My feedback to everyone at Sage was that I think most people realize that product and technology related issues are tough to change. The one thing I am looking for Sage to work hard to improve is communication — providing us with the type of product and Sage communications that increase our enthusiasm and confidence for the products.

    Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson, VP Sales & Marketing at Suntico

    As a first-timer I was delighted to meet so many great people from Sage and the Sage partner community in North America. There seems to be a strong cooperative spirit among many of the partners which is impressive. Almost everyone I spoke to commented about a pick-up in business or at least in sales enquiries in 2010 which is very encouraging.

    As an exhibitor I did not get to go to many of the sessions but that is OK. I thought the exhibitors were well looked after, and there was plenty of productive trade-show time.

    I learned an awfull lot, made some excellent contacts, received some very generous offers of assisitance and as a result I am refining my market entry strategy for the US.

    I loved Denver.

    Gary Feldman

    Gary Feldman, President at I-Business Network, LLC and Owner, I-Business Network, LLC

    Insights was and remains one of the best events of its kind, especially for a software company in the market Sage serves.
    1. The content was as informative and substantive as ever. I really appreciated the number and quality of the external experts (the CRM road ahead was especially good). The keynotes and other presenters are packing a lot of content (even Himansu) into a small amount of time. Tom Miller was a perfect example of too much information in too little time. The one area for improvement is the motivational aspect of the conference as a sales event. Sage could punch up the energy level with a master of ceremony that can ignite the energy at the begining of the conference. The painters and singers was an attempt at this. A truly dynamic presence could invigorate during the show and beyond.2. The Denver convention center is a fabulous facility. The Wells Fargo auditorium is really nice (although the seats are a little cramped). The tradeshow layout was good although I beleive the Sage booth should be in front of the door as the main attraction. I think half way between the narrow isles and football field seperation would allow for more traffic and better visibility.

    I do like the Gaylord combined facility and hotel as it allows you to go back to the room during short breaks. Not all Gaylords were equal and the DC facility was beautiful, but more cramped than the others. I hope we have the problem of too many people for the small hallways!

    Although the number of people was down, the quality of the conversations was up this year. Well worth the time to increase our knowledge and social capital. Continue reading