Peter Radizeski is Founder and President of RAD-INFO INC. He is an accomplished blogalyst, speaker, author and consultant. He has helped many service providers with sales training, marketing, channel development and business strategy. He is a trusted source of knowledge about the telecom sector. His honest and direct approach make him a refreshing speaker.

Look for his innovative ideas and analysis of current technology on his blogs.

Meet him at one of the many conferences he attends and speaks at.

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Being in the Conversation

In twenty years of working with service providers of all stripes – ISP, WISP, MSP, VoIP/UC, CLEC – the biggest hurdle has been Attention.

For ISPs and WISPs, they had to yell louder than the Duopoly (MSO and ILEC) just so the community they serve would know they exist.

In the UCaaS and CCC spaces, the pay off for being in the Gartner MQ was now. They were in the conversation or they were top of mind for when businesses were frantic to transition to the cloud.

I will say that for any service provider marketing is the key to success.

Who knows you when the time comes to buy?

Microsoft Buys Metaswitch

Andy Abramson and Rich Tehrani have takes on this — so does every analyst. I look at it different.

Metaswitch in the US is in every telco. This gives Microsoft an in into every telco customer of Metaswitch. MS Teams/Skype direct routing for all. Teams can now become the default app for collab and calling in businesses globally – if it is played right.

Metaswitch has their own SBC. That helps MS in its age old one-upmanship with Oracle that acquired Acme Packet and Tekelec 8 years ago.

5G? I don’t know much about Meta’s 5G product. I know that Sprint, AT&T and VZ have Metaswitch but none of them use Meta’s MAX mobile UC. I don’t think that changes any due to MS’s mobile history (read: failure).

I know Cisco is a factor in this too. Webex Teams powered by Broadsoft. Let’s not forget that this is reiteration number 4 or 5 for Webex/Jabber/BSFT/Spark/whathaveyou. Cisco ain’t so great on this front either. If anyone should have leapfrogged the market with a great UX designed app, it should have been Cisco.

I also can’t believe that Webex – like every other conferencing app – has the same login process. Nothing original in this aspect of the space at all. Hello?

This announcement came out of the Azure group, so this is about cloud, NFV and SDN. However, a majority of Meta’s clients are mom and pop telcos in rural America who cannot/will not go virtual.

I think this is more like the LinkedIn buy for Microsoft. One department that had the cash decided that they needed this thing that Metaswitch had – oh and btw there are other nice to haves available.

As I wrote on twitter, MS has a history of buying stuff like LinkedIn and Skype – and not being able to extract value from it. They don’t embrace it and enhance it and put it back out in the world better than when they bought it.

Instead it ends up like Internet Explorer or Bing – a check box that we have it, but no one is using it. Much like their mobile play.

I could be wrong but I am hoping this isn’t the big blue screen of death for Metaswitch as a switch. There aren’t any replacements out there.

Channel Manager Tips 2020

The Remote Selling workshop is going well. The feedback has been great. I am going to do a 3-week workshop for channel and partner managers.

On Tuesdays at Noon Eastern time for 3 weeks, attendees will get concise, actionable tips on Recruiting, Following Up and Enrolling partners.

3 weeks, 20 minutes per week, just $20! Starting May 26, 2020. REGISTER NOW:

Missed Out!

Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and J Crew have all filed for bankruptcy under the cover of COVID-19. Only Bloomberg seemed to notice that these retail giants were over-burdened with debt. The reality is they aren’t just laden with debt; they also are laden with poor management.

Creativity and Innovation are just not a part of the corporate structure much any more. On Forrester’s SDSummit, speakers remind attendees that companies need to “encourage more innovation” since “failures are just experiments“. There was no better time to open the cookbook and try things than during this pandemic.

My fiance and I were talking about how we just had not seen much from locals stores. Amazon took the lion share of business because everyone else sucks at it! It is frictionless!

TJ Maxx just closed down. Walmart wasn’t doing pick-up or shipping (on many items). Target or Big Lots either. Dick’s Sporting Goods was doing pick-up, they just wouldn’t say when you could pick up. Even Drizly was stalling out — which is okay IF you (over) communicate!

There was not much clarity to Big Retail. And Local retail – where are you?

This would have been the perfect time to do personal shopping for folks via Facetime. If Instacart can text with buyers as they shop for them, why couldn’t retail? What an experiment that would have been for any clothing store in America.

Bakeries were open, but you wouldn’t know it. What a time to be Gramming your cakes, brownies, cookies, what-have-you. What a great time to sell a kit to make a cake at home!!!! My pal, Dave Burton, got inventive at Tampa Pizza Co. by selling make your own pizza kits!

This was the time to experiment with ways to sell and serve.

One store was pushing its organic, homemade disinfectant.

There are a thousand ways to be creative. The bars started getting imaginative with take-out cocktails and videos on how to mix that specialty drink.

There are a bunch of books not just on creativity but ways to do guerrilla marketing or experiential marketing.

We even offered to hold a webinar to help businesses with ideas – and crickets. If you close down, you can blame the government and the pandemic but some of it was a lack of creativity on your part.

Running a Virtual Conference

I see people talking about virtual conferences. I have even been on two this year. I am passing on any more. Here’s why:

In-person keynotes from the corporate exec have been stale for years. I have sat through more than my share and have been impressed twice. The rest are dull and quite frankly written for and about the presenter.

In an in-person event, the attendee can forgive some of that while checking email; drinking free coffee and booze; networking with peers; and hopefully making sales (or at least sales contacts). How do you do any of that in a virtual conference?

Event companies (like Informa) think they put on impressive events with fantastic content. They don’t. The keynotes are there because of the company they work for – not because the exec is a great speaker.

On the hundreds of panels I have moderated and been on, it is rare that anyone did their homework. Who is in the audience? What do they care about? What could I say that would impact them? What nugget can I give them as a take-away? Nope. Most are waiting for the opportunity to sell – give their value prop or talk about how great the company or product is.

This doesn’t work on Webinars, so how will it work on a Virtual Conference?

Here’s some advice:

Do your homework! Know who is in the audience. If it is a mixed bag – like say CP Ev with MSPs, VARs, Agents and vendors in the audience – clearly identify who you are speaking to (not at, TO).

Choose one thing to say that will be impactful.

Be engaging. Spark interest. Don’t read the slides. Treat it like a TED Talk or an IGNITE talk. Quite frankly, the Ignite format of 20 slides (images mostly) auto-rotating every 15 seconds is a fantastic format for virtual conferences. At Ignite Tampa Bay (that I co-founded) we had a slogan, “Enlighten us, but make it quick.” And “Hang on. Something new in just 5 minutes.”

Most speakers hate (or cannot perform) the Ignite format. TED talks are longer: usually 18 minutes. Either format, the speakers practice. Not something most conference speakers do. More’s the pity because of this.

Could you run a Virtual Conference? Absolutely. Here’s an idea:

TED and Ignite style talks – picked by committee after the speaker submits the talk title, summary and bio. (That is how we pick IGNITE Tampa Bay speakers for 10 years now).

Follow up each talk with an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Then move over to break out rooms to discuss the topic and network in smaller groups.

One speaker per hour. Plenty of time for the talk (18 minutes, 15 minutes of AMA, and 15 minutes of break out). Even time to take a call or do email.

Too hard on the speakers? Then do interviews. Questions can be submitted live or beforehand. Last week I moderated a panel of 5 channel execs for 400+ attendees. It takes preparation – and some work live for Q&A but it can be done.

How do you make money?

Sponsors of each talk. Sponsor of the break out rooms. Attendee tickets – doesn’t have to be free. Offer a Money Back Guarantee. Donate a portion of the tickets.

In this “New Normal” (I hate that term) we have to be creative. We have to give Value first and second and maybe third.

To garner attention you have to have something impactful to say. People are preoccupied with survival, so your petty BS talk that you gave last year won’t cut it in 2020 or 2021. Leave you network map and the slide that provides a history in your recycle bin. It’s time to step up your presenting game.

Notes: Some extra tips from Eventbrite.