I'd heard on the grapevine that Mr SMB Nation himself, Harry Brelsford was heading down to Australia this year - so I spoke to him to get the inside scoop for Australian SBSCers.

You’re coming to Sydney this year. Tell us what SBSC partners can expect to see from SMB Nation?

Good eye as we’ve not started to widely promote that event yet but we’ll have final details soon. I can tell you that we’re looking at an event primarily focused on a “boot camp” test preparation to become a Small Business Specialist including on-site testing! So in that sense we’ll be speaking towards future SBSC partners.

It’s part of a worldwide traveling tour with SUPERSTARs to pump up the SBSC volume. We’ll also have some value-added community sessions so that folks take away rich technical and business content beyond just the exam cram sessions.

Why become an SBSC?

Interestingly – the reasons to become SBSC vary but the outcome is all good. Some folks like the logo branding. The ability to print the attractive blue logo on your business card or place it on the Web page has been a big hit. Other folks appreciate the ability to add another credential to their consulting resume. Fair enough – in the consulting field, you typically try to earn as many credentials as possible. Already and more so in the near future, as Microsoft rounds out its programmatic efforts, I think a compelling reason to become SBSC will be to participate in the special offers and exclusive training events.

Once you’re there, what’s the best thing about being an SBSC?

I think it’s the affiliation with a like-minded group of fellow small business technology consultants. It’s the old “benefits of membership” thinking where people want to belong to a “club.” I’ve personally witnessed that people take great pride in BEING a Small Business Specialist!

You’ve just released an update for the Small Business Specialist 70-282 Exam Preparation Guide! Why should Partners download it?

While the domain test objectives for the 70-282 remain intact from the initial exam release date several years ago, it is a fact that the exam was refreshed just under a year ago (Microsoft always reserves the right to refresh its exams). However – the exam refresh necessitated that we offer a complimentary update document for our 70-282 “red book” to make it more current. So Partners would want to download it to update their baseline knowledge of the 70-282 exam and to supplement the “red book.” And did you know that our update contains information on how to join our popular 70-282 MSN study group!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Depends on when you asked me but I’ve always wanted to be in the convergence zone between business and technology. As a kid in Junior High, I was peddling LED digital watches from Texas Instruments! Oh sure – there was the time where I wanted to run a ski resort in Alaska, but then I realized I’d probably end up an unmarried hermit! Seriously – I wanted to be in the technology\business leadership caste!

What makes you get up and come to work in the morning?

Hmm….I think it’s the rewards from hard work. Our family likes to work hard and play hard. For example – as I write this, my wife is on her Seven Summits tour and currently at 16,200-feet on Aconcagua  (read about it at http://www.alpineascents.com/aconcagua-cybercast.asp ) where we hope to summit the SMB Nation flag! It’s that ability to provide for my family that get me up on the morning.

How does Harry relax in the evening?

Lately I’ve been slowing down, not logging on and riding my bike! Fitness in 2007 – that’s the idea!

How big is your 'geek gland'?

Interesting question. As a young buck – I was all about digging deep into technical stuff at 2:00am in the morning. Today – I’m more likely to explore business models and other business technology stuff. For example – I found myself the other night getting deep into CRM 3.0 in the product area trying to get the inventory quantity to reduce by one when a sale is made (that’s where I found a connector to either Small Business Financials or Great Plains is required).

How proactive would you say you are in building a relationship with Microsoft?

It’s a big party of my role as the CEO of SMB Nation. I try to have lunch in Redmond once a week.

If you could suggest one thing that Microsoft could do to improve the SBSC program what would it be

Recently our SMB Partner Community magazine ran a readership survey where we asked what Microsoft could do to improve the program. My favorite suggestion was to offer more partner points to refer new people into the Small Business Specialist Community. I totally concur!