Trip to Texas – WWPC Day 3

After last nights UK Regional Party, I was today feeling more than a little fragile.

The thought of going with a fuzzy head to sit and listen to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer scream at me in his own unique style did not fill me with excitement, and so I skipped the Keynote to recuperate. I understand a few others from the party went a step further and missed most of the day – I sympathise. Alcohol is an evil evil beast. I caught up with Mr. Ballmer’s words over at Microsoft’s Digital WPC site, which by the way, is an excellent site if you couldn’t make the trip to Texas – containing all the keynotes and more.

I took the opportunity to walk off my hangover with a stroll through the huge Vendor Expo that is also going on at WWPC – hundreds of suppliers of hardware, software and services in attendance. Every stall was giving away swag, so my rucksack was bulging by the end of the day!

During a conversation with someone at the HP stall, I learnt details of HP’s new online backup service "Upline". Apparently, Upline is a service HP have acquired and re-branded – it’s an on-line backup service (nothing exciting there) but does have some great features such as the ability to easily securely share files with external recipients (hopefully cutting down on the ridiculous habit some clients have of trying to e-mail every file externally – whatever the size) an easy to use Web Interface for users to restore their own files, and fairly competitive pricing. Downsides? The service is currently US and Canada only. Personally, I’m happy with AhSay via OwnWebNow for Netlink IT’s own clients off-site backup, but I could see the Uptime being useful for Home Users and Small Offices without any IT experience on-hand.

I also had an opportunity to get a proper look at Connectwise and TigerPaw, the Practice management tools that many favour. I’ve been researching PSA tools for a few weeks now, listening to opinions and reviews from many sources – so it was good to meet the folks behind the tools in person. Whilst even the TigerPaw staff readily admitted AutoTask GO would be a better fit for me (and I always admire companies that will openly let you know their product isn’t a fit for you – I’m more inclined to re-visit these folk at a later date when they are a fit for me) I’d always dismissed Connectwise as being "too big" for Netlink IT’s low requirements, but Erick Simpson grabbed me on the shoulder while I was the Connectwise stand and implored me to give the system a second look – who am I to argue with Mr. Managed Services?

Plenty more stalls I’ve not had an opportunity to visit, am hoping to do so on the last day of WWPC – Thursday.

If I’ve not mentioned it already though, the keynotes, the break-outs, the Hands-on-labs and even the parties are not the best bit of a WWPC. The best bit, by far, is meeting folks you’d only exchanged e-mails and IM’s with before, making new friends and exchanging ideas, hints and suggestions .  The WWPC allows you to meet people who have been where you are in the development of your own business, those people who are experiencing the same challenges as you right now, and even those who ask you for advice as they are treading ground you’ve already experienced. I’ve found myself coming away from several of these meetings with great advice, almost literally buzzing about the possibilities of implementing suggestions when I return to the UK.

The evening saw yet more parties as Microsoft hired three nightclubs and plied it’s partners with litres of free alcohol, but I took the cowardly corporate decision to head back to the hotel to catch up on some work and more importantly, some much needed sleep. Considering my intake of alcohol on Tuesday night had been truly heroic, I’m not too ashamed of this – but also considering the fact that self-confessed "old man" Vijay carried on partying hard with me on Tuesday night and is out again tonight partying, maybe I should feel a little guilty for being a lightweight… 🙂


5 Responses to “Trip to Texas – WWPC Day 3”

  1. 1 Bob July 10, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Wow… we love it when our competitors point prospects to us as well! If you catch this post while you are still at the event and haven\’t done so yet, please stop by the Autotask booth (or "stand" as you blokes across the pond like to say). Ask to see a demo of Autotask Pro as well. TigerPaw is NOT going to suggest you look at our more full-featured offering (more like CW, except hosted and less expensive). Also, unlike TigerPaw and CW, we actually have an office in the UK with a full-time presence there and a quickly growing customer base.
    P.S. Sorry to hi-jak your blog with this pitch, but I figured it would be okay, since you mentioned us first! : – ) If not, I won\’t be insulted if you delete the post.

  2. 2 Matt July 10, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    This upline tool is intriguing… Price for a single seat seems pretty reasonable. Since I now have a robust in-house back-up solution running, I could simply install this to the same box and have it slowly backing up my many gigs of data.

  3. 3 Unknown July 11, 2008 at 2:25 am

    On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage …Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC\’s will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:http://www.BackupReview.infoThis site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.By the way, HP Upline\’s review is found here:

  4. 4 Matt July 11, 2008 at 2:56 am

    The HP review is not pretty…

  5. 5 Richard July 14, 2008 at 5:00 am

    Ouch! That HP Upline review is certainly *not* pretty – but I appreciate the link to – thanks!Bob – sorry we didn\’t get a chance to meet-up, WPC is an incredible event and I feel like I missed half of the things I wanted to do and people I wanted to meet!I\’ve been involved with AutoTask GO during their UK trial – so am aware of the regional advantage you have over your rivals. That said, the folks at both ConnectWise and TigerPaw were very friendly and professional when I spoke to them- so I\’d encourage anyone investigating a PSA tool to check out all the options available to them.

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