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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Law of Compensation - We're going Stratospheric!

Compensation and Stratospheric in the same sentence? Is it possible that in a few paragraphs, I can make you rich? I hope I can!

We continue our journey through the "Five Laws of Stratospheric Success" as described in my favorite little red book, The Go-Giver. Hopefully you have already read about the first law (The Law of Value) in my previous posting. More importantly, hopefully you've already applied the first law! If not, STOP! Go back and read "Stratospheric Success! Really? Stratospheric?"

The Law of Compensation
Your income is determined by
how many people you serve
and how well you serve them.

As I mentioned in my last weblog post, I'm not about to give a play-by-play of the book, but instead I will explain what I take away from it. There are three pieces to this law (income, how many and how well).
"How many" and "How well" are easy. The more people you serve and the better you serve them seems obvious to me. If you limit how well you serve, or you limit how many you serve, you can be successful. But you can only be compensated on that limited scale.

Income is the most interesting word to me. If the word "income" were not in this law, the law would be easier for me to grasp. Compensation doesn't have to be about money. I am compensated daily by the satisfactions of solving problems, working hard, helping a friend/colleague/client, getting a hug from one of my boys, etc. But none of these compensations have anything to do with income.

I think (actually hope) that this law validates something that I have said hundreds of times over the past 10 years. If I/we deep down care about every individual client and their business (truly care - not just going through the motions), and we take personally their concern/problem/business, the money will take care of itself. I have tried to live this way from the first day that I went into business.

The Condition... Remember "the condition" from the last post? Laws are great, but if we don't practice them, then we are not allowed back to learn the next law. And as I mentioned, they are easy to execute. Here's my example of what I have done recently to reach out and try to serve. I'm not sure that I hit a home run with this one, but I'm learning too.

As I was reading The Go-Giver, I had many thoughts of the group of people who I influence (and who influence me) on a daily basis - specifically the team that makes up ITConnexx. The day after I finished this little red book of genius, I ran out and bought 10 copies. I shared a copy with every person in our company. I don't expect that handing out 10 copies of a book will fill my bank account. What I hope is that we build a company of Go-Givers. I hope that every day, every person lives the Go-Giver lifestyle. I hope that every day, every person is personally compensated in the same ways that I am. And I hope that as we live this way, the money will take care of itself.

I'm sure that in a few paragraphs, I did nothing for your personal bank account. But I hope that in at least one way, I could help make you rich.

Still to come... Three more laws!!!

Brian O'Shaughnessy
Green Bay, WI

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stratospheric Success! Really? Stratospheric?

I have a new group of friends. We call ourselves HTG15. I don't think we are a gang, but I've been working hard on a new handshake.

HTG15 is a peer group. We are a group of 12 owners of IT service companies. We meet once a quarter to share everything about our individual company to the rest of the group. For each other, we are a virtual board of directors and support group. Our first meeting was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and in January we meet in Dallas.

I could write 20 pages about the group, the experience and how it has already changed my life. But that's not today's topic! Today's topic is about Stratospheric Success!

When the group left Council Bluffs, IA we all left with a small red book. The book is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. The little red book spills a secret. The secret of how to obtain "Stratospheric Success!" The little red book is fantastic, takes about three hours to read, and completely changed how I interact with people all day long. You read me right STRATOSPHERIC SUCCESS!

Now I'm not about to give you a play-by-play on the book. Go get it and read it. In fact, the first person to send me an email will get my copy.

The secret is simple. Give. Give. Give. Give unconditionally and with no expectation of reward. There are five rules (and coincidentally, five nice blog topics).

The Law of Value
Your true worth is determined by
how much more you give in value
than you take in payment.

This one is easy! Give more in value than you take in payment. If you receive nothing in payment and give any value, you are giving more. We can all do this all day long. Hold a door, pick up a piece of garbage from the sidewalk, give a real smile and say good morning to a stranger in line when you wait for a cup of coffee. Give a genuine "thank you." Doing any of these things give value to the recipient, and you take no payment. Give more to your employer than you take in a salary. When you are hired to perform a task, or complete a job, exceed the expectation of the client (and exceed by far). It really is easy to live this way.

As you read The Go-Giver you will learn that there is "a condition" required to learn the secret and the five rules. The condition is doing. If you don't execute the rule on the day that you learn it.... you are not invited back for the next rule. Execution isn't as hard as it sounds.

I'm reluctant to do this, because a true Go-Giver doesn't give for notoriety, but I want to share how I execute the laws. My hope is to show how easy it is and give you ideas to do the same.

The day after I read my little red book, i was cold called by a sales person. This sales person (James Wing, Enterprise Account Representative, Xandros, Inc. - I wont post his email address without permission, but if you want it, email me) had sent me an unsolicited email message a couple of days prior that I scanned and ignored. James was trying to sell me a Linux-based equivalent of Microsoft Exchange that I could resell as a service. Unfortunately, my Linux skills have all but evaporated and this was not a product for us. For the last ten years, I have made a habit (and some times a sport) of being mean to sales people.

But now! I'm a Go-Giver!

Instead of blasting James and asking that he never call me again. I made him a promise. I promised him that I would print out his email message and put that piece of paper on my desk, and that I would shuffle that paper around for a month. And every time I picked up that piece of paper, I would try to come up with a prospect or lead for him. Unfortunately, I haven't come up with one (yet). But I'm sure that I've put more effort into helping James in the last month than any other person he called that day (or maybe this month).

Just today, somebody asked me if I knew of anybody that was looking to hire somebody with his skills. His resume is now a stack of three pages on my desk, to be shuffled around for a month.

Just today, the president of a website development company called. One of their best programmers received an opportunity that he couldn't refuse and is advancing his career. The phone call asked if I knew of a programmer that knew PHP and Access/SQL database programming. Unfortunately I don't (if you do, let me know and I'll pass on the word), but there is a full sheet of paper with a typed note that I'll shuffle around my desk for a month to keep me thinking for them.

I'm no genius, and I'm not wonderful. In none of these cases, could I solve the problem, but I am doing everything I can to not blow them off. I'm doing everything I can to provide more value than I take in payment.

I promised HTG15 that I'd have this posting done before Thanksgiving. I also promised that I'd write another entry about the Second Rule of Stratospheric Success before the weekend was over. So come back soon.

Brian O'Shaughnessy
Green Bay, WI

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stop paying me to fix those problems!

I've made a deal with myself that there are a few topics that I won't discuss on the ol' blog... Specifically politics, the local WLUK dispute with Time Warner, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Green Bay Packers. I made this promise because they are topics that I am passionate about, they get me worked up and I'm likely to say something stupid and will definitely offend some of my loyal readers*

That being said... This topic tends to get my hands waiving and my voice a bit raised...
You need help to improve, maintain and protect your business computer network. Somebody has this role. Maybe it's an internal staff member (hopefully one that is qualified and experienced in IT). Maybe you outsource (my favorite of course). You get the picture, somebody wears this hat. We all can agree so far, right?

For this discussion, we will focus on the business that chooses to outsource it's IT support and technology needs. There are two models for outsourcing this responsibility.

1. You have a problem/question/upgrade/crash/outage/etc. At the point of said problem, you weigh the impact on your business/staff productivity against the cost of getting it fixed. Then you flip through the Rolodex, call the trusted IT support company, they schedule the work, resolve the problem and send a big fat invoice!

2. You have a relationship with an IT support company that provides (get ready, industry buzz word coming) managed services. We call it "Computing as Promised." Here's how it works..... You pay a monthly fee, we are your IT Department. It is no different than if we had an office in your building. We proactively improve, maintain and protect your technology. By proactively monitoring, installing patches and cleaning up, the problems are limited. When a problem does occur, you don't have to decide if the problem is worth paying for to fix. Because it is already paid for!!

Remember, we all agreed that somebody is in charge of maintaining your technology (and there is an expense to doing so). When you pay us for work done on a time & material basis, we make money when you have a problem. When you partner with us to manage your technology, we only make money if you don't have problems. Doesn't that sound better for everyone?

Coming next... Membership has it's privileges.

Brian O'Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.

*See footnote regarding "faithful readers" in blog from September 20.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ITConnexx featured in Green Bay news story

In a recent story about how local business is preparing to "weather an economic storm", ITConnexx CEO Kevin Scholz described how our business will be impacted.

I know... they called him Ken.

I know... they said that the two, six year old companies that we merged together three years ago, just opened last week.

I know... they called our business technology consulting company an "Internet support business."

I guess we need to do a better job of describing ourselves. Of course, you can find those details at our website (

We appreciate the opportunity and exposure, and look forward to the next time we can share our opinion with the local media (and next time, I'll be in front of the camera).

Enough of the anticipation... Click here to watch Kevin (or Ken). Click here to read the story.

Brian O'Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Use email for best service

Just a simple reminder...

When looking for service and/or support, please use email. An email message sent to will automatically create a service ticket, email you a confirmation and get your issue into our queue.

Here are a few benefits of using email for requesting service:
1. The description of the problem is in your own words.
2. We have staff dedicated to watching the service queue and properly assigning service tickets to engineers. This gives you a faster resolution.
3. Although I hope it rarely happens, post-it notes from phone calls can cause a delay in service until the note taker gets a break to manually create a service ticket.
4. The automated email response you receive has a link that allows you to check the status of your request (along with our notes).
5. The summary of the service ticket matches the subject of your email. This makes it easy to reconcile the service performed when you receive the invoice.

Don't get me wrong... I love to talk to you, and I really love when you call to tell me how happy you are. But for the fastest service, use email (

Go Brewers!

Brian O'Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Test Time! - Backup Part 2 of 2

Welcome back!

Let's review... If you haven't read Part 1 you should stop now and come up to speed.

Traditional backup = Tape and the responsibility of a human to switch on a daily basis. Take a tape offsite, not lose it, and bring it back to the office.

Latest backup technology = Automated, online/offsite backup, encrypted in data warehouse with a local copy stored on a virtual server to reduce the amount of time to access data from days to hours. NO HUMAN INTERACTION.

Obviously, the online backup is a better solution than tape. Your data is extremely valuable, and just as important is the productivity of your staff. Most small and medium businesses have one server (think about eggs in one basket). The availability of that server is vital, absolutely vital, to the productivity of your business.

OK. Here's the test, I hope you studied...

1. If your server were turned off right now, and were not available for two business days, how much money would your company lose in lost sales, poor customer service, employee wages and productivity? Actually try to put a number to it.

2. When was the last time you had a successful backup? No assumptions. When did it happen?

3. If your building burned down (or flood, vandalism, theft) would your backup tapes burn up with your server? Tapes in a fire proof safe is not a good answer. Tapes melt from heat not fire. They have to be in a heat proof safe.

4. Who switches your tapes every day? Do they take the tape offsite? Are they stored in a safe place?

4a. If the person taking your tape off site left one sitting on the bar in a tavern, how would you start the letter to your clients that their private information was carelessly lost by your company? (By the way, this is a true story)

5. Are you losing sleep at night because you are worried about your data and your backup?

6. Convince me that whatever you are using for a backup is better than an automated online backup with a virtual server to minimize downtime.

All tests will be graded, and I will personally follow up with you.

Hopefully this opens your eyes and makes you think about what is happening in your business. And according to our old friend Yogi Berra "You can observe a lot by watching"

Brian O'Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Your backup is not about the backup - Part 1

Huh? Is Yogi Berra making a guest appearance? Not exactly, it's time for the ITConnexx University's Backup 101 class... listen up! There will be a test!

We all know what a backup is, we learned about that in high-school. Hopefully we all know the two reasons why we perform a backup. Don't worry class, I'm gonna tell you.
1. Create a second copy of your extremely valuable data to allow to recover from a loss of the first copy (hardware failure, data corruption, human error, etc.)
2. Store a copy of your extremely valuable data in a second physical location, to be used in the event of an environmental disaster (fire, flood, theft, vandalism, etc.)

Most of us know the traditional method for creating a backup, tape. Every day, a staff member walks into the server closet, views the job log, ejects the previous day's tape, inserts today's tape, and immediately takes yesterday's tape off site. To the safe deposit box. Right? Does this sound familiar to all of you tape users?

Or does it go like this? When our staff member remembers, they go into the server closet, ejects the previous day's tape, inserts today's tape, puts yesterday's tape on the shelf, then goes back to work.

How do they know if yesterday's backup job even ran? How do they remember to switch the tape at all? And honestly, how often do they forget? When do they take a tape off site? And when they do, where is it stored? Remember what's on that tape (shhh... don't tell anybody but it's your client's information and your trade secrets).

Let's take a break here and all think about our business and our data. Is your current process really protecting you?

Break's over. On to a better solution.

Online backup and virtual servers! Now this class, is exciting...

Picture this... all data is stored to a second server in your server closet, and a copy of that data is encrypted and stored in a data warehouse. Sounds simple? It get's better... Remember that staff member with the tapes? Well they are busy doing their regular job. They don’t have to remember anything (other than to make coffee when the pot is empty). They don't have the responsibility of taking your extremely valuable data home. It's all automatic, in fact it's magic - smoke and mirrors type stuff. Impressed yet? Well listen to this...

Your extremely valuable data is now stored in four places. One of those places is the "virtual server." in your server closet. Let's do a little role playing...

ring ring...
Me: Good morning Happy Client. How are you today?
Happy Client: Brian, you will never believe this! Nobody can get to our server! Our extremely valuable data is not available! What will I do? My staff is running around franticly.
Me: {yawn} Don't worry HC, I’ll take care of it. Tell your staff to tidy up around the office. I'll call you back shortly.
Happy Client: What are you going to do? How much will this cost?
Me: HC, I said don't worry. This won't cost you anything; everything is covered under your "Computing as Promised" Agreement. I'll call you back.
Happy Client: Thanks Brian, you are my hero.
Me: Thanks Happy, I'll call you soon.
Me (to myself as I reach for my white hat): I love being a hero.
ring ring...
Happy Client: Hello Brian, what did you do? I see our server is back on line and we are productive again. That didn't take long at all.
Me: I was able to activate the virtual server with a back up copy of your data. Your production server is still down. I'll start on that when we hang up.
Happy Client: I can't believe what good service you provide and what a fantastic solution we have.
Me: It's all in a hard day's work Hap.

Exciting stuff eh?

Homework: Read about Backup & Recovery Services from ITConnexx, Inc.
OK... Test tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's Today!! It's Today!!

Imagine the morning George Little, the nine year old boy with wire rimmed glasses, ran through his house screaming "It's Today!! It's Today!!" George was an only child who counted down the days until his parents took him to the orphanage to pick out his new younger brother. The count down was over! The excitement was at it's peak! George Little had waited his entire life for this day, and it was finally here!

The story continues with George and his parents going to the orphange and they left with George's new brother, Stuart... a mouse...

This morning, I woke up feeling like George. My heart is racing, i'm excited and nervous. I've been waiting for today for a very very long time. It's our OPEN HOUSE!!! Today is quite a milestone for us. In one fashion or another, we have been "computing as promised" for nine years. But today there is no argument, we're ligit!

We couldn't have done this without the help of many many people. I have the greatest appreciation for those first clients that trusted me and gave me a chance. I hope that they (and every client since) now believe me when I said that I truly care about them and would do everything I could to help them use technology to make their business successful.

A special thanks to Kevin Scholz. My business partner, but more than that, a friend and mentor for almost 20 years.

Another special thanks to Ken Lulloff, Chad Klubertanz, Tammy Radtke, Kevin Edwards, Dan Boncher and most recently Anne Scholz. We are the nucleus and together we will build on this foundation and together we will prosper.

A third special thanks to the family that I come home late to. They are almost always understanding, and always forgiving when I miss football games and baseball practice.

And of course there are many special people in my life who can't attend today. You are in my thoughts and are a daily inspiration. Thank you.

OK... enough already! It's Today and we've got ribbons to cut!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Post Summit Thoughts

Wow! I can’t believe everything that is going through my head. As my faithful readers already know, ConnectWise PSA is the software we use to run our business. ConnectWise sponsored a partner summit where I spent three days with 900 IT solution providers.

It is amazing to see the same faces from last year, and in several cases I actually have a few good friends. This year I met a man named Bruce Hardin. Bruce is an employee of ConnectWise, and is new to the company (about 4 months). He happened to sit next to me during one of the break out sessions, and we had an instant connection. I could tell in 5 minutes, Bruce will be a friend for life. I’d love to get him to Green Bay for a Packer game.

As I write from 35,000 feet over Tennessee, I’m overwhelmed; and I remember going through this last year. Of course, it is good to get out of the office, but there was no “recharging of the battery”. This summit was a mental grind for 3 days. There are literally 200 items that I bring back that will improve me personally and our company. Some of these 200 things are easy while some will be very difficult and time consuming for us to implement.

Although we have a challenge, we also have passion. It was obvious that the best IT providers in the country have a high level of passion. Our company has to improve in many ways, but passion isn't one of them. Our improvement will happen because our leadership has the same passion. I’m excited because I know it will help our clients.

Check back often, I have more thoughts from the conference.

As a foot note, I claimed that I have “faithful readers.” To prevent a debate, I am safe making this claim because I force my three sons to read this.

Brian O'Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.
Green Bay, WI

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ConnectWise Partner Summit

I’m on my way to an annual conference that is sponsored by ConnectWise. ConnectWise PSA is the software that we use to run our business. It is the help desk software that creates service tickets, assigns those tickets to a person to work on, captures the time we spend doing so, rolls up the time into an invoice and sends that invoice via email to my happy clients.

This is my second time attending the event, and something that I will never miss. Last year, I left the event a bit overwhelmed. It was the first time I had measured up our company with my peers. I realized that we do some things very well, but there are many ways for us to improve.

This year I’m excited for several reasons. I know what to expect and plan to use this opportunity to really push our company forward; both from a technology standpoint, and as a good partner to our clients.

Brian O’Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.
Green Bay, WI

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome - A Blog?

Why am I writing a blog? Really, why? Who will read it? Will anybody read it? As I embark on this journey and open my brain to spill my thoughts on the use of technology in business, I say… Why? To be honest, Im doing this because the marketing guy said that I have to.

All day long I talk about computers, and networks, and how they work, and what doesn’t work. By the time I get home, I feel like a broken record. But when I think about it, I may have the same conversations day after day, but I never have every conversation with every person I talk to or work with.

Maybe this is a place for me to share my conversations and thoughts? Maybe if I publish my conversations and thoughts, I can spark an idea…? Or maybe I can help someone be more efficient…?

So as I drift across the ocean of technology topics, I write a blog to be a better partner and to share my experience in an informative, yet entertaining way. If you’ve gotten this far, I guess somebody will read it. And after all, maybe a marketing guy can be right. It took me 25 less years to realize this than it did to realize a parent can be right. Am I growing up?

Brian O'Shaughnessy
ITConnexx, Inc.