Posts Tagged 'User Group'

Building a Community – Lessons from GFI Max

One of the ways you can tell if a good product or company is gathering momentum and becoming popular is by how much of a community is building up around that product or company. When people are passionate about something they want to talk to other likeminded people about it.

GFI Max LogoOver the past couple of years, GFI Max is one such company where I’ve observed a growing community of people who want to spend time together talking about the Max RMM tool.

Whilst this isn’t something that has happened entirely by design, it’s not something that happened by accident either.

GFI have helped facilitate their community by providing the GFI Max LinkedIn Forums – a place where Max users can chat, exchange ideas and give feedback to the GFI team – good or bad. Whilst these forums are monitored and members of the Max team participate in discussion themselves, they aren’t moderated in the sense that if a Max client has a gripe about the product or the company that they air with their peers – the GFI team don’t delete the message or shy away from it, they respond to it directly. This attitude towards being open and transparent hasn’t gone un-noticed by the SMB Community.

Members of the GFI Max LinkedIn forums are usually the first people that get to hear about new features and the forthcoming Max Roadmap too, further building a sense that the community is valued.

Earlier this year, GFI responded to a request from the Thames Valley Small Business Specialist User Group led by Chris Timm. The group, which has a high proportion of GFI Max users within it, was looking for a new sponsor, and GFI agreed to step in and help that group continue to grow.

All of these things on their own aren’t enough to persuade people to use GFI Max products. You still need a really good product and service delivery (which I believe GFI Max has). But if all things are equal, and an IT company is faced with choosing between two or more really good products – as is the case in the RMM market populated by GFI Max, Labtech, Kaseya and others – people tend to choose the product that their peers have recommended to them.

You can’t fake this stuff. Building a community of raving fans isn’t something you can acquire. People can tell the difference between a paid endorsement and genuine goodwill towards a company or product. It takes time and it’s not easy. Most IT vendors give up because it’s too hard. They want immediate returns. Those vendors will still sell stuff, because generally their product is good, but retaining clients and as importantly, having clients who will talk about their product to others? That takes commitment.

GFI Max Global Conferences 2011Over the next few weeks, GFI Max will be taking another step towards supporting their community and will be hosting their first GFI Max Global Conferences at four locations across the globe.

The UK Conference takes place in Oxford on October 20th.

The USA Conference takes place in Florida on November 8th and 9th.

Not forgotten, Australia gets it’s Conference in Sydney on December 1st, and Europe has a Conference on November 23rd in the Netherlands.

I’ll be attending the UK Conference on October 20th, and will be looking forward to getting together with a whole load of GFI Max users.

Are you a GFI Max user and attending too? Let me know!


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


AMITPRO Meeting – The Arden Hotel, Solihull – 8th March 2011

AMITPRO LogoThe March AMITPRO group meeting will take place on Tuesday 8th March, 2011 at The Arden Hotel in Solihull, with a couple of interesting speakers lined up:-

Bill Jest and Vin Jauhal – WemTel

They will be talking about hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP).

Outline agenda

  • What do Customers look for?
  • Why deliver Voice?
  • Platform and Architecture
  • What are the requirements?
  • Who is Hosted VoIP for?
  • Options and Features
  • Advantages ‘The Pluses’
  • Disadvantages ‘The Pitfalls’
  • The Opportunity
  • Deployment Examples
  • Customer Savings & Seller Profits

The second speaker is:-

David is a digital forensic examiner and his specialist area is the analysis of handheld digital devices, such as Smartphones and iPhones. His main area of work is for criminal defence lawyers and he has management vetting clearance as a sub-contract forensic examiner of mobile phones, for a local police county. He is the digital forensic expert for the Cavell Group who are specialists in crisis mitigation and can be called upon by them at anytime and potentially may have to travel anywhere in the world in response to a crisis. He also now provides forensic services to businesses which may involve assisting with providing evidence for HR matters along with digital audits. In his presentation he will discuss the types of evidence that can be found in handheld devices, the ethical side of digital investigation, the challenges involved and also what advances, such as the cloud, may offer additional challenges to forensic examiners.


On a personal note – I’ve had the opportunity to chat to David Benford about Technical Forensics and let me just say the whole topic of his presentation is both very timely and fascinating. I’m really looking forward to David’s presentation, as I think it’ll be a real eye-opener for those that see it!

Visitors to the group are very welcome! Arrive at 1700 for 1730, with the group networking in the bar area both before and after the presentations.

Want more details? Reach out to AMITPRO Group Lead Andy Parkes, or feel free to drop me a line!


Richard Tubb is an Independent Consultant who works with IT companies to enable them feel in control and grow their businesses. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL). You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Midlands SQL Server User Group Meeting – 10th March 2011, Birmingham

Hollie Whittles over at Purple Frog Systems sent me word that they’ve set a date for the inaugural meeting of the Midlands SQL Server User Group.

It’s being held on Thursday 10th March 2011 at 1730 at The Old Joint Stock pub in Birmingham City Centre.

As well as an opportunity to network with your peers, two speakers will be presenting – Allan Mitchell will be covering Business  Intelligence, and Neil Hambly will be presenting on Service Broker and Stream Insight.

You can register for the meeting for free over at and find the Midlands SQL Server User Group on Twitter – so if you work with SQL, I’d encourage you to get along and get involved!

Microsoft SQL Server User Group Launch Flyer 10March2011


Richard Tubb is an Independent Consultant who works with IT companies to help them feel in control and grow their businesses. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL). You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


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