October 7, 2007
VMworld 2007 update– several of you have asked how this two week trip went, and I have been meaning to share some thoughts, so…
1. San Francisco is an amazingly beautiful city. Yes, the weather was cool, clear and practically perfect the whole time (little fog and no drizzle) and yes, there are seedy parts and lots of homeless bodies stuck in corners here and there, yet… I can clearly see why everyone wants to live there. The buildings are large and impressive, the streets generally clean, the food excellent, the people (in Chinatown, at least) friendly and helpful and much of the architecture is just beautiful. Of course, the prices are significantly higher and parking … well, God Himself has trouble finding one 🙂
2. I attended a 2 day class downtown near my hotel the first week, and it was very productive. As a result, eTG, Inc. is now certified to do a consulting analysis that few VMware dealers in this area (or the US) are able to do. For the technical among you, it is something called Capacity Planner, and it allows us to accurately predict how a virtualization project will go for our clients before they even start. This is a big deal, because it removes uncertainty from the process and makes getting pilot project approval much easier. PTL! We plan to use this certification to the max in our sales and marketing during the next few years.
3. Later in the week I drove down to LA to meet Beth and Serena and spend a few days with my brother Stephen and his family. This is my 3rd trip there in the last few years, and it is always great to see him. Beth blogged about this part extensively a week ago, so I will just share a picture of the coastline I took on the way back up Rt 1 to San Francisco for VMworld itself. Frankly, Rt 1 is so high and winding at times that is is scary; three more feet, and your wheel drops off a shoulder that could send you tumbling down a rocky cliff! Amazing view, isn’t it?
4. VMworld 2007 itself was just great; I always leave feeling excited about what I am doing and the value and great services we have to offer our clients. This year was no exception, as some announcements were made which will keep VMware at the forefront of virtualization in the software industry. Again, for the curious among you, this overview is a great way to get a feel for what happened at the conference. On the downside, the conference is very intense, so I don’t have as much time to rest, reflect and talk to other conferees as I would like. Furthermore, at a venue where they know 5000+ laptops are going to fire up at once, they still don’t have enough wireless bandwidth available. Come on guys! This is the third year I have had this problem, and it is a problem, because (being the entire tech support dept. of our company) I did have client calls to respond to. On another upside, I did get to meet the 2nd principle of a large VMware consulting firm we are building a partnership relationship with (I met the 1st guy last year in LA). It happened by “accident” (again)– we both happened to be asking questions after a Partner Day session, and I realized who the other guy was. We spoke briefly, and once we get some paperwork signed, I hope to work on the relationship further.
5. Finally, it was great to have part of my family with me on a business trip (for the first time). Though I didn’t see them much except late at night, it was so good to have someone to come back to at the hotel. I think a lot of the (mostly) guys who go to these conferences see it as an excuse to party away from their families, but “with my family” has always been, and always will be, the main place I want to be. With such a beautiful, charming wife and amazing kids, wouldn’t you, too? 🙂 Next year VMworld is in Las Vegas, at The Venetian, and my wife tells me she will be going to San Diego with Mom & Dad for the Navy Reunion. … 🙁
(Midnight says she’ll go with me; she hears that cats are treated royally at these high-priced Vegas hotels… ha!)
July 31, 2007
In past years many of you have received newsletters and prayed for eThomasGroup.biz, which is the software consulting business Ted started in early 2002 after being laid off at work. For the years since then, Ted has struggled to find the right place to grow and serve SMB (small and medium sized business) clients in the IT world. eTG, Inc. started with one client, and has picked up a few more, but not enough to sustain us and grow the company. Recently Ted began a marketing effort, is in the process of re-branding the company, and for the last several years has been diligently building relationships on a regional basis with other VARs (value added resellers) who deal with companies in eTG, Inc.’s target market. About a week ago all of these things came together in an amazing way as the Lord worked out a great opportunity for us to move to the next level. On the way back from a training session in Atlanta, Ted got a call from a business in Lexington who had a client needing VMware products. Since that has been the eTG, Inc. focus for the last 2 years, Ted was able to immediately arrange a meeting (that same day, as he was driving through Lexington, not more than 4-5 miles from their office!) and a large software deal was signed 2 days later. PTL!!!
Now the hard part comes– delivering on the sale. Lots more things need to come together to make this work, but we have complete confidence in the Lord of amazing co-incidences. He’s going to help us and guide our steps (Is. 30:19-22), just as He has been all these years. Pray with us for a successful completion, and for strength to develop more partner relationships with those whom the Lord would have us serve. For all those who are reading this and have helped us with prayer and suggestions in the past– we thank you! It’s working…
Some recent positive steps include:
– a successful followup sale of additional software to the client mentioned above, which came after a lunch-time presentation of our software and services to their sales staff. Since they are a storage vendor with a number of clients who could use virtualization products, this is exciting news.
– a recent conference call with one of the storage vendor’s clients, during which I successfully explained the benefits and features of an additional VMware product they are interested in.
– another MI (meaningful interaction) today with the corporate management of one of eTG, Inc.‘s existing clients. At the end of our presentation, they asked for a proposal!
– a verbal wholesale agreement with a larger VMware consulting firm based in Atlanta. This will allow eTG, Inc. to get a better discount on VMware software and theoretically make more $ on each sale.
In general, we are working hard to tighten up our sales and marketing efforts and keep the pipeline full. Our goal by the end of this year is to be making enough $ to hire a part-time office manager, allowing Beth to concentrate more fully on designing and building our new home and teaching Serena in Chenoweth Academy.
Prayer requests include a safe and profitable trip to San Francisco in Sept. for the VMworld conference, the completion of our rebranding efforts for the company, Ted passing the VI3 certification exam (I did the 2.5 exam before) and an additional 3 major clients by the end of 2007.