Schnizzfest: Strange Name, Strategic Managed Services Conference

Schnizzfest: Strange Name, Strategic Managed Services Conference

A strategic MSP-related conference is set to start later this week (June 9-11, Philadelphia, Pa.). But there's no mention of managed services in the conference name. And you've got to work closely with TruMethods, an MSP-centric consulting firm, to get your foot in the door. The event's name: Schnizzfest. Here's what to expect.

At first glance, the TruMethods business model is pretty simple. Founder Gary Pica previously sold his managed services business (Dynamic Digital Services) to mindSHIFT, a well-known MSP that continues to extend its reach across North America. At the time of the deal, Dynamic Digital Services had more than 7,000 endpoints under management. These days, Gary Pica and the TruMethods team teach MSPs how to develop their own recurring revenue businesses.

But take a closer look and you'll notice that TruMethods is more than a coaching organization. Pica and his team have been pitching a so-called FormulaWon program to MSPs in recent months. And it sounds like nearly 200 MSPs are set to learn more by attending the Schnizzfest conference later this week in Philadelphia.

Key Trends

Pica says the conference will have three key themes:
  1. Success: How to get dramatic changes in business results. We will discuss success principles and then have attendees hear from fellow members and industry leader about the keys to making positive changes in their businesses.
  2. The TruMethods Way: How to better leverage the TruMethods process to achieve success.
  3. Cloud or Fog: How the cloud will impact MSP's and our clients. What are the common mistakes MSP's are already making and how to avoid them.

Who's In the Crowd?

Among the folks worth noting at the event:
  1. Paul Chisholm, CEO of mindSHIFT: Pica plans to interview him during the conference. It will be interesting to learn how recent mindSHIFT acquisitions, such as Alpheon, are working out. Also, privately, I wonder if Chisholm is attending to potentially meet with additional M&A targets...
  2. Larry Kesslin, author of the book Break Points: The book reveals where small businesses (one to 100 employees) face their greatest growth challenges. Kesslin is a well-known coach within multiple channel circles. He has a particularly strong influence within the Autotask and Cisco partner communities, among others.
  3. Tommy Wald, president of White Glove Technologies: Wald -- leader of an MSPmentor 100 company -- will be presenting on a panel. I bumped into Wald last week at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Phoenix. He mentioned White Glove's recent move to LabTech Software's RMM tools. Interesting discussion. And it sounds like White Glove continues to expand its business across Texas. I'll ask him how.
  4. Jeff Ragusa, SMB channel lead, Google: I saw Ragusa a few weeks ago in San Francisco following the Google IO 2011 conference. At the time, Ragusa explained the Appsperience partner opportunity to me; it allows end-customers to test Google Apps with an assist from Google Apps Authorized Resellers. Attendees who know Ragusa should also ask him about Google Chromebooks for Business, a combination hardware/software as a service that launches June 15.
I'll be curious to learn if MSPs attending the conference are (A) building out their own cloud services, (B) white-labeling third party services or (C) doing a little bit of both.

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