Category Archives: IT Community Stuff

IT Nation 2015 – Bob Hoskins said “It’s good to talk”.

When the late and great Bob Hoskins back in 1995 said “It’s good to talk” within the BT adverts, it was all about ensuring people see the value of talking rather than the cost of making the phone call. Even in 2015 it is still true that we need to look at the massive benefits to be derived from being an active ‘go-giver’.

IT NationBack in a blog entry in September I mentioned that I was asked if I would speak at IT Nation in Orlando. This is a conference run by the provider of the main line of business software used at Business Computer Solutions, called ConnectWise. It is attended by close to 3,500 delegates with another 500 vendor representatives.

It’s a big event. The main stage display was driven by 16 projectors. Yes, I counted them all. The headline keynote speaker this year was Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s The Profit.

So, is it good to talk? Do I have anything to talk about? Can I fill a one-hour slot? Would people be adequately interested in what I have to say? What should I proffer as a topic?

Then it struck me that the issue of companies using shareholding as a way of buying loyalty of their staff may make an interesting topic. I came up with the title that ‘Ownership does not equal leadership’ and I was away …

Having read Dr Larry Little’s book, ‘Make a Difference’ (see my blog book review) I had already started to understand that some of the team at Business Computer Solutions are not and will never be leaders. Giving some of these people shares in the company and expecting them to become leaders would just be madness. Separating ownership from leadership is the only way forward.

AnimalsAs part of my book review and with this presentation in mind, I purchased four brilliant masks.

With the co-operation of a few of my team I got the following photographs to represent the types of characters in the team which made for an amusing slide during my presentation.

Nestlé Lion BarSo having visited the Cash and Carry, I packed three boxes of Nestle Lion bars into my suitcase and headed for Orlando.

At the start of the presentation Samantha handed out the chocolate bars and I gave the statutory health and safety warning about nut allergies. That said, most of the chocolate had been eaten by the time I gave the warning. I had an afternoon slot and I think the energy boost was welcomed by most.

One of the delegates posted a picture of his half eaten chocolate bar on social media, which wasn’t one of the outcomes I expected.

AlbertAlthough I was, as you would expect, apprehensive at the start, I soon found my stride and delivered about 45 minutes of content and fended 15 minutes of questions.

I had a queue of people who wanted to chat after, which was a great feeling. In fact, a feeling only bettered by people stopping me in the corridor later in the evening to say that they had been in my presentation and had gained value from it.

I started out thinking that the only outcome for me would be that I will have the ‘bragging rights’ to say that I have ‘Spoken at IT Nation’. What I didn’t factor was the benefits of the education I would gain on the journey of researching my presentation. Looking closely at various IT businesses and getting details of those that have introduced sharing ownership well and those that have made a horrendous mess of it.

The research that went into preparing a 45-minute presentation would probably make a half-decent 200-page book. Maybe this is the topic of my first book? Another unexpected benefit of being a ‘go-giver’.

So I reckon Bob was right, it’s good to talk.

IT Nation 2015 Proffered Topic

Having been involved in the last few ConnectWise user group meetings in the UK, when they put a call out for speakers at IT Nation 2015 ( in Orlando, Florida I thought, well why not. My wife (business partner and friend), Samantha thinks I may just be a little bit mad. I have never even been to an IT Nation event before let alone put myself forward to speak.

Maybe that’s why I am fearless?IT Nation 2015

ConnectWise is the main line of business application we use within our IT Managed Service Provider business in Kent and it is a large contributing factor to the adherence of procedures that have created our success and growth over the last few years.

My topic of ‘Ownership does not equal leadership’ has been accepted and I have been scheduled to speak as a ‘Thought Leader’ on 12th November, Thursday at 3pm (so 8pm in the UK).

A common discussion topic in business is how to attract, motivate, develop and retain the best staff. Many business owners assume sharing ownership is the best way to achieve finding the best staff and believe it to be what their staff want. They learn the truth in time and at their cost. Join ConnectWise Partner, Gareth Johns as he highlights the risks of sharing ownership and offers some alternative strategies gleaned from over 25 years of experience.

I look forward to sharing details of this event with you on my return to the UK late November.