What the hell is this place?



  • What is this place I have stumbled upon? What is MangoLassi? MangoCon?

    Great site, just curious as to who started it and whats it all about.



  • Thanks for asking. I did is the answer to who started it. I am the Owner of http://GroveSocial.com which owns MangoLassi as well as a few other communities.

    We are purely a marketing firm but working for/in the IT world. We have been around just about 3 years now. MangoLassi gets just about 25- 30,000 visitors a month over here.

    MangoCon had it's first conference last September and will be having another in July of this year. If you go to YouTube you can check out videos of some of the sessions from last year look for mangolassi.it on YouTube, we have our own channel.

    If you have any questions let me know, also @JaredBusch or @Dashrender or @scottalanmiller will be happy to answer questions as well. @scottalanmiller is part of the support team around here as he works for the ITSP (NTG.co) that helps to run the platform etc., and of course he posts a ton as well.



  • Nice, as a marketing firm geared towards MSP/IT Providers I want to ask a few questions...

    1.) Are SMB IT Service providers screwed because of the onslaught of Cloud and IT Consumerization

    2.) If I cant sell my customer a server anymore, what can I sell them? My service? My time? My soul???

    3.) Is Office 365 Microsoft's way of getting back at me for all those illegal Windows XP installs?



    1. SMB will always need IT Services, just how we provide them will change. If nothing is else, users don't understand cloud at all.

    2. Services only which means a tiny slice of your sou every time you sell a service package.

    3. Haha ha, yes



  • :man_dancing_tone1:


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    1.) Are SMB IT Service providers screwed because of the onslaught of Cloud and IT Consumerization

    Not screwed, but certainly need to keep pace with the times. IT has never rewarded stagnation, neither has business in general. If anything SMB IT is more needed now, rather than less, as IT keeps getting more complicated.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    2.) If I cant sell my customer a server anymore, what can I sell them? My service? My time? My soul???

    Selling a server was never an IT function. That's the function of a store. Automotive engineers never sold cars, neither did logistical consultants. Car salesman sell cars. Server salesmen sell servers. IT is a technical and business interdisciplinary function, not a sales job.

    Are physical server salespeople that focused on the SMB in rough shape? Yes. Unlike IT, physical stores have a much harder time adjusting to paradigm shifts.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    3.) Is Office 365 Microsoft's way of getting back at me for all those illegal Windows XP installs?

    Essentially, yes.



  • @scottalanmiller what kind of things are you seeing growth in?

    I feel like small biz server and the need for hardware used to be the starting point for a relationship, then projects could be built on top of that as the relationship formed.

    Now, clickity clack g suite and what is left built to develop line of biz apps -- wherever some massive g suite compatible app isn't already there to fill that gap for $10/u/m add-on.

    For relationships you've already formed over the last 10 to 20 years no big deal. But how do you really market yourself now? I have found paid search marketing to be so-so. 10 years ago you could call around and 3 of 100 businesses would say "oh we need help with that, our system sucks".

    Sorry I'm talking through several stiff drams of scotch...


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    @scottalanmiller what kind of things are you seeing growth in?

    I feel like small biz server and the need for hardware used to be the starting point for a relationship, then projects could be built on top of that as the relationship formed.

    That was the start of a relationship based around sales, but not around IT. Sure IT projects could be sold later, but the basis of that relationship was a customer going to a sales person and everything founded on that. That fundamentally is not healthy for either side. The majority of the money, and therefore the necessity of focus, on one side is selling product. The other is taught that IT is a valueless activity that they should never pay for.

    Breaking that cycle industry wide is probably the best thing that could happen. As long as customers see IT as the "Free fries" and IT products as boxes to buy like hamburgers, IT will never be valued or approached in a useful way.

    Growth is in things like security, storage, vendor management, vendor selection... actual IT. Places where we are paid to make decisions and do things for the customer.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    But how do you really market yourself now? I have found paid search marketing to be so-so. 10 years ago you could call around and 3 of 100 businesses would say "oh we need help with that, our system sucks".

    Well I've never worked in sales, only on the IT side. So for us, nothing has ever changed. Sure, we need to talk more about security today than fifteen years ago. But we have the same talks about everything else - how do they decide which hosted products to buy, how do they choose their VARs, what components should be onsite or offsite, what regulations apply to them, what software makes sense for them, etc.

    Things like G Suite sound scary because they "do everything", and yet I see less than 1% of SMBs using them and zero enterprises and only a few percents of the SME. They are a big player, but they are hardly changing the game.



  • @scottalanmiller while I agree, many relationships in the late nineties and early 2000's were born of a simple need, some random pain point. Being a hardware provider was at least a point of engagement.

    Do you avoid everything and sell only consulting retainers and "managed services". The latter of which I recognize most to be 90% micro managing windows desktops and providing level 1 help desk.

    What's the sales pitch now a days? What's the thing people are searching for, how do they even know to search for anything other than a massive cloud app they can deploy and control themselves?


  • Service Provider

    But even G Suite needs management. IT will always need management and oversight, no matter how bundled it is.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    @scottalanmiller while I agree, many relationships in the late nineties and early 2000's were born of a simple need, some random pain point. Being a hardware provider was at least a point of engagement.

    Also a point of disengagement. All depends on your goals. A customer that engages you as a store will never see you as anything else. If "IT is free with purchase" the bottom line is "IT is free."



  • @scottalanmiller what are you using? O365? Other?

    Are you writing code, developing solutions? Or for time infrastructure management?


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    Do you avoid everything and sell only consulting retainers and "managed services".

    Yes, always have. We are an IT business, not a VAR in any way. Totally different things. Our product is IT and skills.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    The latter of which I recognize most to be 90% micro managing windows desktops and providing level 1 help desk.

    I think VARs see that because they are engaged in the "IT is free" mode. The majority of what I see is storage engineering, security consulting, server management, networking management, virtualization and platform engineer, disaster recovery planning, CIO outsourcing, high availability assessments and planning and so forth. When you don't engage as a VAR, the view of the customer and vice versa is totally different.



  • @scottalanmiller what's your unit of sales look like? All labor? Retainers and project based quotes? MRR?

    Does the customer buy all the hardware from CDW and the like?


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    What's the sales pitch now a days? What's the thing people are searching for, how do they even know to search for anything other than a massive cloud app they can deploy and control themselves?

    What was it ever? No one knows how to get the IT message out there in the SMB market. How do they know? They know by being trained as managers or hiring people with knowledge. If a company doesn't know the basics of business, they aren't going to find good business support. Sad but true, SMB IT has always had this challenge.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    @scottalanmiller what's your unit of sales look like? All labor? Retainers and project based quotes? MRR?

    Does the customer buy all the hardware from CDW and the like?

    Yes and yes. All labor, but it comes in lots of forms (hourly blocks, retainers, flat rates.) And yes, we generally manage the sales relationships so that the customer doesn't get screwed by them, we work with whomever makes sense for the customer at the time. Could be their existing VAR, could be Amazon, could be someone new that they bring in, could be someone that we help them to select.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    @scottalanmiller what are you using? O365? Other?

    Are you writing code, developing solutions? Or for time infrastructure management?

    Using internally for ourselves? O365

    We used to write code and develop solutions. We still would, but it rarely comes up. Bespoke software has little place in the SMB world, no SMB can afford it and almost none need it.

    Yes, infrastructure is mostly what we do. All IT work these days.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    Does the customer buy all the hardware from CDW and the like?

    Remember that in the SMB, the hardware purchases are approaching zero today. Obviously not zero yet, but they are dropping like crazy. A ten person shop needed a server just ten years ago. Today a ten person shop would almost never have one. So the amount of connecting people to VARs is fractional compared to what it used to be.



  • @scottalanmiller that's interesting. So you wouldn't sell a service you configured like virtual desktops or hosted pbx as the service itself?

    Setup, customization and management. Development?


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    @scottalanmiller that's interesting. So you wouldn't sell a service you configured like virtual desktops or hosted pbx as the service itself?

    Oh sure, we do that. But what are we selling there? Just labour packaged at a flat rate. It's still purely IT labour being sold.


  • Service Provider

    @rustcohle said in What the hell is this place?:

    Setup, customization and management.

    The biggest thing that IT does in any company is advice/decision making. That's where all the value is. Setting up a desktop is a near zero value job. You don't need skilled IT for that.

    But deciding what kind of desktops you need (VDI, TS, Desktops, Laptops, Thin Clients, Windows, Mac, Mint) and from whom to buy them (HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Amazon) and what supplier to use (CDW, a local warehouse, eBay) takes skills and knowledge and relationships.

    IT that isn't doing the advice and decision making roles doesn't bring the value necessary to have margins. If you lack those pieces, you are pretty much stuck in the "drive to the bottom" staffing game. Nothing wrong with doing that stuff, but it isn't profitable. We provide all of those pieces, but the value comes from "all of those pieces".



  • @scottalanmiller I tried selling consulting and fraction cio services, we made all our money 10 years ago selling something we called joint venture. It was a lease with services and hardware that covered everything from desktops to servers to internet and phone, even if a custom iOS app was on the roadmap we financed it in. That made all the money.

    I remember one client I couldn't get to buy an $8500 annual consulting block and I was going to help them purchase setup and support everything. Switching to the joint venture approach I made $30k/year of them.

    But there were servers, the old margin=mystery. I sold that company in 2009, moved to Florida with my family and came back and wasted more than half of it on my own cloud start up. Then from 2014 to now I've sorta been in limbo. As the $$$ is closing to running out in asking myself whether I become an employee somewhere or whether I go back into consulting full time.

    Also asking myself why i blew off financial planning for a pipe dream lol


  • Service Provider

    Think about an internal IT department. If the IT department only fixes broken desktops or plugs in mice for people, the pay will be low and the value to the company will be low. They could have a secretary do that in her spare time, no need for a trained IT pro.

    But that IT department would also be a disaster for the company as no knowledgeable person would be there deciding what was needed, what was cost effective, what was secure and so forth. Any good internal IT department's focus is on decision making and planning - and then additional second tier value on triage and disaster management, and a tertiary value on day to day operations.

    But all of those tiers are interdependent.


  • Service Provider

    I think corporate IT is where the bulk of the money is. It's very hard to make money of any scale in the MSP game and it is becoming more and more competitive. MSPs are a dime a dozen, but they are all VARs in disguise so doing that is tough, because you throw in into the endless sea of "more of the same."


  • Service Provider

    One thing about a VAR is that you don't need anyone really technical to work at a VAR. You just need schmoozy sales guys. The value is all in the sale, not in the tech. It if was, they'd be paying for the tech. So VARs do when when they don't do much IT. VARs focus on minimizing IT costs.


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