Be careful what you ask for – Part Two:

On February 27, 2006, in Rants, by

Subtitled…. “Does Susan blog too much?”

Earlier today I talked about the member of my SBS Partner group who said he was getting near information overload from all the various vendors and sources of Small Business Information.  My earlier post was asking us to brainstorm about the ways to make the various “official” web sites better. 

This post is about “What if you were in charge of the Universe” and could change anything you wanted to on the community listserves and newsgroups and blogs and web sites and podcasts and what not…..

It’s come up before that someone has asked us a few years ago that wouldn’t it be grand if we in the community could all come together and coordinate and work on the ultimate perfect SBS site/web/wiki/thingamabob in the world.  There’s one problem.  Because we all come from various places all over the world, and for most (if not all) of us, the things we work on are a labor of love and volunteerism so you’d better make it in a venue that we find “entertaining” while we volunteer on it, it’s hard to get coordination from a bunch of volunteers.  Add to that that most of us are control freaks, or that getting a collaborative site would probably mean that someone would have to sit down and understand licensing…and well…. this is why we sort of have all these places to go to for information.

So how do you harness this spirit to be able to make it easier for folks to find things with ensuring that the person in the community likes to do it and gets an “attaboy” for doing it?  Look at all the volunteer energy that folks give around here.

It’s not easy is it? 

I call SBSers “cockroaches”.  We’re little, small, indestructible… and we’re EVERYWHERE.  It seems like everytime I turn around there’s someone in some venue asking a question about SBS.  And sometimes I know it’s hard to be aware of all of the venues and resources and web sites and links and…. just everything we’ve got around here. 

So let me ask this again…. So how do we as a community do better in helping you, the Var/Vap not get overloaded with information?  I was reading the book by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble and one of the things they said was to blog consistently.  Once a week, Once a month, Once a day.   But be consistent. 

The other day Jeff Middleton pointed out to me that I was about a three times a day blogger.  And I think he’s right.  A break at lunch.  And two at night before going to bed for relaxation.  But am I blogging too much?  Should this blog be more on just techy geeky stuff or do you mind the occasional introspective post… the every now and then (okay so it’s probably a bit more often than every  now and then) rant post?

What about our other communities?  Are the listserves getting too much into theory?  I think we’re not as patient in the listserves as we used to be….and I think we’re getting too much into theories and arguments and maybe a lot of folks are tuning out?  What do you think?

Grey Lancaster used to say “kill folks with kindness” and “be patient with newbies”.  Now that “small business is big business” are we as patient with the newbies?  Should we be?  Or should we say “You know, if you are serious about small business, show it by buying a book, reading, and then come back.”  Or should we follow Grey’s leadership and welcome folks into SBSland and help them learn and grow in this profession?  Because all of us started just like that, with a kind word from Grey.  Including me.  When I was cleaning out my SBS 2000 notes and paperwork I found a bunch of newsgroup posts that Grey had done in the newsgroup that I had saved.

So how would you make the community listserves better?

How about the podcasts?  What topics aren’t being covered that you’d like to see (not that I don’t think Vlad and Chris and Suzanne and the SBSPodcast gang aren’t picking fabulous topics…but since we’re brainstorming…let’s have some fun and see what we can come up with)

What about SBS Partner groups?  I know that is doing mini conferences and emphasizing ‘business’ talks as well as tech ones.

Blogs?  Websites?

What other community resources could be made better and how?

Now I’m not promising that I can keep myself to one post a day…but let’s just brainstorm on some ideas.  How can we make the community resources better than they are now?

So if you were in charge of the universe…what would you do?


7 Responses to Be careful what you ask for – Part Two:

  1. Vlad Mazek says:

    It’s Susanne. And its not about picking the topics, it is in approaching them the right way that serves the largest audience possible.

    Just my $0.02. My gig with is more about filtering the content I find to my partners that work in the field. From time to time I solve a big problem I see in a form of an article but generally it is all about weeding out the tons of bs software/hardware publishers generate and then amplify through the media.

    But hey, I’m insane.


  2. Keith Templin says:

    Keep Blogging to your hearts content! I have found that 75%-80% of your blogs contain technical information about SBS components that are relevant to my customers. The other 25% – 20% is good information about trends in the SBS community.

    I actually like your rants for two reasons. 1) It lets me know I am not the only cockroach out here. 2) Sometimes your rants key me on to something that I did not know about. For example I learned that in your “Dear LCS People” rant that if you had SA from SBS 2k you get LCS. This was a starting point for some good research.

    So I say blog all you want, it is your site. We have the option to listen. Like my grandfather (He is an old farmer)always said “It might not be good help, but it is fee help, and you get what you pay for”

  3. mark says:

    As a newcomer to the community, but a long-timer in what Susan calls “Big-Server World”, I guess I’m a little overwhelmed with the glut of SBS info.

    I’m in the preparation stage of making my plunge from pigeonholed AD guy in $3B corp to working for myself, busting my butt to take extraordinary care of my small but growing customer base.

    All I care about is finding the right solutions for my customers. Sometimes that is SBS, and sometimes it isn’t. So while I struggle to wade through the tons of information other SBS experts (and those who proclaim to be) have shared publicly, I find myself being wary of getting too deep into the community, where the prevailing thought is that SBS is all there is, the Holy Grail.

    Example, is an SBS solution with ISA server better than a basic non-ISA SBS solution combined with a quality dedicated firewall like Astaro or maybe a PIX? Maybe. I think not necessarily. I like having a little breadth in my product line.

    So my thought is, blog on Susan. I will continue to read your site every day, as I have been for weeks. is a wealth of info. Anything else I need, I’ll google.

  4. Amy says:

    Please don’t organize the world for me. I’ll do it myself and if I don’t find the right place, I’ll ask where the right place is. It doesn’t take much effort to filter on your own. Some blogs that others find helpful, I find useless. Ditto for some websites. I’ll filter my own world view.

  5. Jim Maher says:

    We need some independent (of Microsoft)mechanism to organize SBS’ers. There may be a few candidate organizations already in existence, but no concensus to allow any one of them to assume leadership.

    Such a group should funnel and consolidate the collective wisdom of SBS’ers. Two important results could be:

    1. A recommended Readings List. Which books and papers should every SBSer understand?

    2. Vendor guidance. Mostly to MS, but could be to anyone; here’s what we want you to Fix and Enhance.

    Such a function would be a HUGE undertaking for someone. I am NOT volunteering to lead such an effort, but I’d help where I could.

  6. kbeares says:

    Given that I am the community lead for the SBS team over here at Microsoft, I find this particular conversation very enlightening. I have always enjoyed reading the insights of people in the blog-o-sphere. What we have come to understand is that there are a lot of people out there who are blogging and a whole lot more who just lurk. The lurkers end up over time picking a few blogs that they find the most affinity to and stick with them, thus lowering the load of stuff they have to sort through. What we want to do on our end is try to feed these uber bloggers data that maybe see as useful. If we provide people like Susan, the uber blogger, and other bloggers like her useful information, they can choose whether or not they want to share this information with the community. Mind you, we would still make sure to post this information in the standard MS locations as well. They, the uber bloggers, know better then us a lot of times, what would be best shared with the masses. This is in no way all of what we are thinking, but we would definitely like to hear your opinions too. I look forward to reading more comments on this topic.
    Kevin Beares
    SBS Community Lead

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