I figured I would post my comment to Eric’s request for comments via my blog since it is syndicated in the Autotask Community Forum and I think the Autotask Community is an excellent example of one of the many sub-communities of the SMB IT community that I’m proud to be a part of.
I’m not sure I need to answer his question of what it means to me as many of you that know me (including Eric) know that the SMB community has giving me more that I can ever give back. Seriously. I challenge you to try to out-give the SMB community. When I say give, I mean to do it with the right heart and intentions.
There are plenty of go-getters out that the try to give to get back but for the most part they are quickly exposed in motive an fade away. You can buy their books and read their blogs that are actually infomercials trying entice you to buy their books, seminar tapes or what ever else they are selling. but they are the ones that always seem to have an angle and are sure to get their name and picture highlighted and in bold letters. You know who they are. I’m surprised Chris Rue hasn’t written a blog about them recently.
The one rule I have for the community is that it is made up of individuals. Especially when it comes to vendors that are considered members of the community. Even for companies, there is always an individual, behind the scenes, giving of themselves in a selfless way that it beyond the compensation they seek in return. I think of people like Paige Boesen (Microsoft), Jan Spring (eFolder), Bob Godgart (Autotask), Dave Sander (Culminis) and of course Eric Ligman. While we know the “Vendor’s” company name, most don’t know of the thankless hours behind the scenes that these individuals have given to others within their perspective communities. Some publicly but much privately.
Then there are many of us that I dare say get much of the public recognition yet our “success” seems to measured in intentions vs actual accomplishments. I’m speaking of individuals like myself that are just plain grateful to show up and speak at an occasional seminar (sometimes even paid to do so) and we get much more recognition that we deserve. Not that I don’t like the flattery but when I consider how many countless hours the above named individuals have dedicated out of genuine care for the communities their companies serve (most think they do it just for the money but I know better) then it really humbles me to get any credit for my few efforts to help. Heck, I’m just trying to make payroll each week and figure out how to increase automation without loosing that personal touch (sound familiar?) and occasionally help out in the community best I can.
The other community members that amazes me the most is many many folks out there that most don’t know. The are just “plain ordinary” IT Pros trying to make a living and not even wondering what all this community fan fare and hoopla is about. They pay the $395 for a conference or give up an hour for various webinars to learn more from those of us whom’s names are know (or have paid to present). Those folks are the ones I identify with the best as I was and always will be one of them. Sure maybe you know my name but still, I’m forever exploring the knowledge and ideas in the next and newest IT community I discover all in a hope, that at the end of the day I, we will find better ways to support our end users. The are and always will be the reason our “community” exists.