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What 2009 Taught Me (But I Probably Already Knew)

What 2009 Taught Me (But I Probably Already Knew)

MSPs lessons learnedLet's face it: life on the bleeding edge is not for everyone -- companies or individuals. If you are anything like me, some days you ask yourself why you do it. Yet for most of us in the IT services world, the good days in 2009 far outnumbered the bad, and the lessons learned were invaluable. Here are four takeaways I am keeping top of mind in 2010:

1. The IT services business ain't for the faint of heart. Rapid innovation, significant market fragmentation, widely disparate adoption estimates, solution complexity, and selling challenges make IT services a tough row to hoe. But as in any industry, the innovators make it possible for all eventual players to get in on the action. Think of them as the recon troops that precede an invading army. They have a tough job and nobody gets ashore without them.

2. If you want certainty and predictability, innovation ain't your bag. Nobody has the answers to the most critical questions: How fast will cloud and SaaS solutions become mainstream? How fast will on-premise hardware and traditional IT solutions migrate to cloud-delivered offerings? Where are the major threats and who will dominate these markets? How fast are customers adopting the various emerging technologies? There's no shortage of analysis, PowerPoint presentations and fancy charts with predictions, but the simple truth is nobody knows.

3. To those who say it can't be done, don't stand in the way of those who are doing it. We all know who the naysayers are. Just look in the rearview mirror and that's where you'll see them. Critics don't solve problems, and remember, when folks say they're going to kick your ass, they have to be behind you to do it. Keep pushing forward. Lead, don't follow.

4. Hustle and attitude are everything. I coach my son's Little League Baseball team and I've gotta tell you -- it's schooling me (again) on everything I need to know about life and success. Life, like baseball, is a game of failure. Innovators and entrepreneurs are like batters -- the best make it on base only three out of every 10 times at bat. Why? Because they never let the seven unsuccessful at-bats make or break them as a player. They pick their pitches and keep swinging.

Another life lesson from Little League: The strongest and most successful players have the dirtiest jerseys, get over their mistakes quickly, hustle harder than anyone on the team and aren't afraid to swing an oversized bat. They recognize and understand that hard work beats raw talent more often than not. And most importantly, they have a "can do" attitude so don't waste a breath telling them they'll never make it in baseball.  They haven't got time for unconstructive criticism -- they're too busy working to be successful.

I am sure all of us learned a thing or two in 2009 that will ultimately make us stronger and more successful in life and business.  Be sure to take a look back at 2009 and learn from it.

Justin Crotty is Vice President Services North America at Ingram Micro, Inc. He oversees Ingram Micro Seismic. Monthly guest blog entries such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual Platinum sponsorship. Find all of Crotty’s blog entries here.

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