In this episode of the Manhattans Project, special guest David Powell from TekLinks, a leading cloud services provider, joins me to talk about his “Magical Mystery Tour.” What is the “Magical Mystery Tour,” and how does simple conversation between companies help customers? What trends are emerging already? Is barbecue a noun or a verb? Let’s find out! Here are some highlights from our chat:
Michael: So who is involved in this “Magical Mystery Tour” of yours? What is it?
David: Part of my role at TekLinks is strategic development, product strategy, product roadmap. What do we need to be thinking about, where do we need to have our eyes on the horizon, as to where the industry is headed? From a lot of the events I’ve been going to, I’ve developed some friendships with a lot of different folks and some of them I began to realize were leaders in their respective spaces and all their offices were about three hours from each other. So I put together this idea that I’d go visit my four friends at these four different kinds of respective leaders in their individual spaces and do it all at once. Knock it out in one week, and go see everybody, and learn about the industry and share ideas and see where things are headed…
At first when I looked at the area, I saw that you guys here at 10th Magnitude were leaders in the Azure space, the application development space, and DevOps space. I absolutely wanted to come to you guys. Then there’s a company in Grand Rapids [Michigan] called OST. My buddy over there, Michael Monaco and his team are very similar to TekLinks in that they have a recurring revenue practice but also a VAR business. They do a lot of HP and we do a lot of Cisco.
Then there’s Apex Digital in Detroit, is another cloud practice. Finally, there’s IT Weapons in Toronto, where my buddy Jeremy over there and his guys do a lot of managed services in security. So you end up with this path of managed services, cloud, VAR, and app dev in one week.
Michael: Do you think that you have any clients, that after this tour and what you’re learning, would excited about a CI/CD, “fail quickly,” non-SLA methodology?
David: It’s all about engaging with them. The few times we’ve done that it’s been very effective. You just need to cheat a bit, and ask them about it. “What is it that you want?” So if I had a focus group and said “Hey Michael, what is it that you’re looking for?” and you tell me, when I come out with whatever ”this” is, you’re the first person I should go to.
So I say “Hey, here’s this, that you asked for. Now, it’s in beta, so it might be a little buggy, are you cool with trying that?” Well, yeah! …If we do just a little bit of research up-front, we can ascertain what people actually want earlier. We’ve let our technicians create gold-plated products that nobody wanted and the other way with our sales team, we end up with products we can sell but can’t support.
I think the real answer is the marriage of those together. With more of a DevOps or Agile mentality, but we need to let the customer know that hey, this isn’t bulletproof, but we’re going to support it actively.
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You can find David on Twitter at @davidpowellbham and TekLinks at @TekLinks
Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and enjoy. Cheers!