Partner Spotlight on Jack Knocke

At six feet, two inches, Jack Knocke is easy to spot in a crowd. I first met him last March in Las Vegas at the Channel Partners show. I knew he’d be attending the event, but at such a large show, I didn’t think I’d see him. Walking the show Sunday night I spotted a well-dressed, tall man across the aisle. With a friendly smile we greeted each other and, when I saw his name tag, I broke out laughing—he was right….find each other, we did! Jack makes a living helping VARs and MSPs fine-tune their businesses. Many leave 30
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The 7 Habits Recap

We are speeding toward the fourth quarter and managers at all levels are wondering if the company will reach its 2015 goals. To better understand where you are—and what you need to do in the fourth quarter—ask yourself these questions: What are the year-to-date numbers and what is in the funnel for the last part of 2015? Will you reach your sales goals? What projects did you commit to finishing in 2015 that might slip into 2016? What relationships did you commit to develop that have been put on the back-burner? What strategic initiatives have you committed to starting that
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Partner Spotlight: How a Standing Desk Helped a VXSuite Partner Fight Fatigue

Back at the end of May VXSuite partner Jon Giberson of CONNECTIONS shared with us his experiment to try a standing desk to fight constant headaches, fatigue, and back pain. He discovered the idea of using a standing desk when he read an article detailing the medical hazards of sitting at a desk all day. He asked his personal physician if sitting all day might be affecting his health and, if so, if he had any suggestions to help his fatigue. His physician  said anytime you are sedentary, your body is not working as hard. He suggested a couple tools
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Hey IT folks – It’s time to Dress to Impress

During the summer months I live in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops – when I am at the beach or realizing on the weekend. Heck, living in Southern California that is pretty much the uniform. But sometimes the need to dress to impress trumps the casual So Cal style. Over the past few weeks I have attended Cisco Live in San Diego and the International Avaya User’s Group show in Denver and I was shocked at the attire and overall appearance of attendees. At both shows was the attire was overly casual. The IT world has always been one where
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How Does Checking Work Email Affect Your Business Efficiency?

During the Cisco Live Empowered Women’s Network session Sunday afternoon, we had a round table discussion about work/life balance—specifically, how often we check work email and how hard it is to unplug. It’s difficult to improve business efficiency when our focus is all over the place. Our session moderator and Cisco Executive, Kim Majerus, posed the question, “How do you unplug?” As we went around the table I was amazed at how many of the women I was seated with just don’t unplug from email. Ever. They check work email all the time. Taking a Break … to Improve Business
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I Bought a Truck and Learned a Lesson About Business Intelligence Analytics

Sometimes things happen in life that allow my business world and personal world to collide. Recently I was asked by my neighborhood Boy Scout Troop to be the Scoutmaster. I have been a lifelong supporter of the ideals and values that Scouting teaches boys and I am an Eagle Scout. I also have always wanted to get a big truck, and saw this as a perfect convergence of truck-justification and a chance to give something back to the community. The truck-buying journey drilled home a lesson in business intelligence analytics which was unexpected. Luckily my terrific wife also allowed the
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Fighting the Dangers of Sitting All Day

I am fortunate to have built a successful technology business in a home-office environment. It offers plenty of freedoms that not everyone can boast about—not the least of which is that my commute involves grabbing a cup of coffee in my own kitchen. No cars, no highways, no crazy drivers. But I’ve realized lately the dangers of sitting all day might counteract some of those great benefits. In truth, 30 years of sitting at my desk for several hours a day has taken its toll on my health. These days, with the Internet, email and telephone as our primary method
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Autism

Living with a  child with Autism is hard. But the support we receive from our friends, family, colleagues, and sometimes even complete strangers makes it much easier. My 6 year-old son Max has Autism Living with a child with Autism is full of ups and downs. My wife and I basically had to restructure our whole lives to adapt to what is required to help Max learn and grow. He has had therapy since he was 18 months old and didn’t start saying three word sentences until he was five. He wasn’t even potty trained until January of this year.
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Dollar Photo Club is my New Love

Sometimes something so good comes along I just have to share it with everyone. Dollar Photo Club is that thing. For anyone who has had to search for and purchase stock images you know it can be a confusing process of points and file sizes. Dollar Photo Club has taken the confusion out of the equation and made life so much easier for me. Every Photo is $1 It seems like there must be a catch, but there is not. Every photo is $1. You can use it as many times as you want on things like your web site,
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Adventures in Marketing: The Video Fail Version

My Monday started out like many Mondays. My boss asked me to provide him with some marketing numbers for our monthly “State of the Company” conference call. I sent him the Google Analytics screenshots he needed and we had a fantastic call. While I was on the call there was a Skype message… [9/8/14, 9:19:07 AM] Laura Petrolino: I have an assignment for you (because I figure you were just sitting around painting your nails or something, so I might as well keep you busy 😉 ). Does she know I sometimes paint my nails on conference calls? What else
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The Idea of AOG. Is it really a bad thing?

I heard an interesting phrase this week at a Customer event I was lucky enough to participate in with one of our partners. One of the people I was chatting with used the phrase AOG, or “Always On Generation” to describe millennials. He aptly described a generation that had never known anything but constant connection – 3G, 4G, LTE, Wi-Fi etc. are all more important to them than almost anything else – and this troubled him. “Short attention spans resulting from quick interactions will be detrimental to focusing on the harder problems and we will probably see a stagnation in many
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VXSuite Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Last week our very own Kurt Karshick, Channel Manager for the East and Central time zones, challenged the entire VXSuite team to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. After I got done cursing his name, I accepted. And what fun it was! ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Across the US Kurt is in Rochester New York and challenged us from his driveway (where they are not having a drought). Ron is in Wenatchee, Washington and accepted from his lovely grass back yard as did Michael, Toni and Roger, all in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I am in Southern
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When Voicemail to Email Goes Wrong

I had to laugh when one of my friends sent me a copy of a voicemail to email she received. She was on vacation but she knew that she received a voicemail because it’s showing up on her phone as an email. In these days of Universal Communication, there are lots of ways for people to get in touch with you and for you to reply to them. There’s email, desk phone, soft phone, cell phone, voicemail, IM, text and more. But sometimes that technology doesn’t work as expected. She said she “thinks” this is from a colleague who is
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What’s in a Job Title?

Last week I had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory with one of our VXSuite Channel Partners. After we sat down and ordered she pulled out her business card and passed it across the table to me. I looked at it a bit strangely and I think she sensed my confusion and said, “I thought you might like my card.” To which I replied, “I already have all of your info (heck, we did set up the lunch apt) and we are connected on LinkedIn, so I think I am good.  At this point I sensed that she was expecting my card
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Get Out of the House – How to Ensure Work from Home Success

My vacation last week was awesome. I traveled to Yosemite for three days and then spent two days white water rafting with 27 people from my son’s Boy Scout troop. But, coming back to reality is always tough. And this week has proved especially busy, so when I looked at my calendar Wednesday morning and saw that I had a lunch meeting out of the office with a new partner my initial reaction was, “Oh no, I can’t afford two hours out of my day for this.” But I really wanted to cultivate this new partnership and it’s hard to
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Can’t I get a decent phone?

My mother-in-law is a very regal, classy eighty-eight year old lady. She has had her share of health setbacks but overall is doing pretty well – with the exception of her hearing. She has state-of-the art (aka really expensive) hearing aids, yet we can never hear her on the phone. Sometimes it’s because she doesn’t put them in. Other times it’s because we are calling in on my cell phone and I use a headset so somewhere in the mystery of technology the quality isn’t great. But the biggest challenge we have had is finding phones for her condo. Back
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Don’t tell Dad, but I learned something

In honor of Father’s Day on Sunday, our Fun Friday post is about Dad.  Growing up I watched my dad provide for us being a road warrior.   He traveled often and it never bothered me.  It was part of life. I actually enjoyed the exposure to different places and different cultures.  I remember a time when my father had a fairly serious case of insomnia.  In spite of that every time he sat down in one of the chairs in the living room he immediately fell asleep.  After several months of analysis he finally figured out that seat was the
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Puking on Seattle: How a happy flight attendant changed my perspective

I am flying home from Seattle.  I spent the day in customer meetings and actually enjoyed the interactions.  For some reason last night my system decided that it was a sick moment and I started puking on Seattle.  I am completely sore and sick as a dog and dreading this flight.  I am not a good puker (Is anyone?) but doing so in tight cramped quarters seems especially daunting.  So I am watching one of the most enthusiastic flight attendants (I think that is the preferred title) I have ever seen.  He is an elderly man from his gray hair
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The Revolution of Mobility – part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2 which can be found here. At this moment, the evolutionary convergence of cell phone, pager and pocket PC had reached fruition and the smartphone stepped onto the empty plane of possibilities. Customers now carried with them, at all times, a portable mini-pc with twenty-four hour network connectivity. The advent of the app made it possible to deliver products and services directly to the user, wherever they were and whenever they wanted. Information from the world-wide web, coupled with social media, which forever altered the way we communicate, was made all the more potent
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There’s an App for That: 5 Apps to make my life easier, cleaner and more aware

In my ongoing quest to make my life easier I have scoured the internet and the app store – or been bopped over the head by friends – in search of apps to make my life easier. Here are my 5 for a Fun Friday before Memorial Day Weekend.  #1 – Tracking Mileage Recommended Apps: Mileage Log+, MileIQ, Triplog, Track My Mileage Of course, we finished our tax return in the 11th hour. Typical procrastinator. Part of the delay was due to the re-creation of 2013 data, such as mileage. Luckily, our friend Keith Hollingsworth suggested that we use an
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The Revolution of Mobility – Part 2

Over time the beeper I carried grew in size and functionality, but I still could not use it to make a call. For that I had a cell phone, and for organizational data I maintained a palm pilot. Overall, I had three devices serving three entirely different functions that made my belt something Batman would have been impressed with, but overall, communication at the workplace leaned on the same two work horses, email and the desk phone. Yet, something was shifting and shifting seismically. There was a steady convergence of technologies… the pager, cell phone and pocket PC were all
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Revolution of Mobility – part I

The warmth is sweltering and embracing.  It is the summer of 1996 on Wall Street in New York City and I just departed the cool comfort of the office to wade in the sauna of a City summer decked out in the standard garb of the stock broking district, a suit and tie.  Its lunch time and my colleagues and I merge seamlessly in the crowd of suits.  A unified mass of discomfort lunging forward in wave upon wave of humanity with but one singular purpose, sustenance. In a New York minute we are planted at a table, food at
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IAUG Converge 2014 Trade Show Recap

Last week we were exhibiting and presenting at IAUG’s Converge 2014 (#CONVERGE2014). Converge has a tradition of offering high quality content and training to Avaya end users. The buzz on the show floor and in the classes was about usability and enabling Avaya users to deliver better customer experiences. From finding the right headset for your contact center agents (we liked the Jabra MOTION™ Office) to ensuring call quality would enhance, not detract from, the users’ experience (check out our own VXPulse here). It seems like all the signs we saw talked about UC and customer experience. The energy at
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Unfriend Facebook? It is so 2012!

What happened?  I was such a Facebook fan.  There was the “courting stage” where I migrating my social media life from MySpace to Facebook.  With Facebook, I was just happy to open up a user’s page without music blasting over my laptop speakers.  So long MySpace.  Then the “I can’t believe who I can connect with” stage as I re-connected with friends from childhood.  Next was the “let’s share how cool my life is” stage.  Now, as I have gotten older, I have realized how uncool I really am.  My life isn’t all that interesting that I need to share
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I’m a 3.5-star hotel traveler, and I’m happy with that

I had to laugh when I read this Real Life Adventures comic by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich. Sometimes something so simple really hits a nerve. I travel for business – a lot. Sometimes it’s a few times a month and other times it’s less, but anyone who has been on the road knows there are some things that ring true. A good hotel can mean the difference between a great trip and a crappy one. And by good hotel I don’t mean 5-star ratings. I like breakfast. I eat it every morning, and as anyone who has traveled with
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