This past weekend at SMB Nation, I had the privilege to kick off the keynote session Monday morning by giving a brief overview of the Microsoft US Small Business efforts ranging from back when I was based in our Midwest area starting up a Small Business pilot program, to the move out to Redmond, WA to take this initiative nation-wide with the creation of the Partner Community Manager (PCM) Team and join Cindy Bates’ Small Business Team as we worked together to launch and grow the SBSC Program.
Many of these items I included, with much greater detail, back in April, 2005 in my, “Parting is such sweet sorrow…” post where I made the announcement that I was leaving the Midwest District and moving across the country to expand my Community building efforts to the entire U.S.. This announcement was bitter sweet as it was hard to leave the great set of Partners I had grown to know in the Midwest, but very exciting at the prospect of getting to focus on and work with all of the Partners across the U.S., including those back in Midwest.
As I was giving this speech at SMB Nation this week, I couldn’t help but feel many of those same feelings again as I stood there looking out over all of the Partners in the audience, many whom I have had the privilege to get to know and work with over the past few years. Why? Because today is my last day as a member of the Microsoft U.S. Team.
Once again, I find myself thinking about how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to get to know and work with so many of you in person, through Live Meeting, on the phone, through User Groups, through the Blog, in email, and so much more over the past few years. In addition, I have had the distinct fortune to lead the absolutely incredible Partner Community Manager (PCM) Team here in the U.S. since the day it was formed. If you have not worked with your PCM, you should. The people who make up this team are a phenomenal set of people who all are driven by the desire to help all of you have the best experience with Microsoft and the most success you can. It may not always be perfect, but who amongst us is? Know their intentions and efforts are always coming from the right place.
As I mentioned in my presentation at SMB Nation, having worked with and for Cindy Bates and her entire team has been an amazing experience. To watch this team grow from a mere handful of people to the full-blown powerhouse it is today focused on serving the SMB market in this short span of time is remarkable. There are so many tremendous people I have been fortunate enough to work with here that it would take pages and pages (speaking of pages, Paige Boesen would be one of them) just to begin to list them. As such, suffice it to say a HUGE, “Thank you,” to all of them and you for making my time here on the US Small Business Team at Microsoft such a fantastic experience!
So now for the answer to the $1,000,000 question… Where am I going? Well, next week I am going to be out of the office, so let’s skip out to the 20th. Any of you that have followed the Blog, the User Group, or any of the items I have done over the years, you have heard me say many times how driven I am to make your experience with Microsoft the best it can be and to ensure we are actively doing everything feasibly possible to help you be successful in your ventures of delivering our solutions to your clients. Plus, many of you have seen, or been part of, the numerous comments like, “That’s great, Eric, but what about us NOT in the U.S.???” Well, be careful what you wish for…
As of Monday (even though I am out of the office), I am making the move to join the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Team in a brand new role as the lead for our Non-Managed Partner satisfaction worldwide. (Non-Managed Partner = all of you without a dedicated field PAM) What this means is that just like I expanded from the Midwest to the U.S. before, I once again get to expand my focus. This time it is from just the U.S. to now cover the entire globe, which still includes the U.S. (so you didn’t get rid of me that easily if you are located in the U.S.) The Blog will continue as it has, only I will be adding some additional content and categories to expand it as we go to help bring information and resources to the Microsoft Partners around the world. The User Group will also continue as it has, given that we already have a good number of participants from many different countries in it today, like the Blog.
You may recall my recent, “Big Question – How Can Microsoft Better Support You, Your Way?” post. Just as in my current role, in my new role, I really do want your input and feedback regardless of where in the world you are located. Many of you from other countries shared great feedback with me at SMB Nation this weekend and I look forward to hearing even more.
As I embark on this next step here at Microsoft, know that we take it together. As I’ve said many times before, “As a Partner driven company, the only way we are successful is if you are successful, so you have noooo idea how motivated we are to make sure you are REALLLY successful!” So I look forward to working with all of you, wherever you are located, to grow and enrich the relationship between our companies as we work to drive our joint success here in the SMB space today, tomorrow, and into the future, together.
Thank you and have a wonderful day,
Eric Ligman Microsoft Senior Manager, Community Engagement US Partner Strategy, Marketing and Programs (for the final day…)This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
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When you first started your initiative in Chicago in 1974, we had the very good fortune to meet up with you just as we were starting up the Chicago SBS Users Group.
You were an invaluable asset to our group then, just as you have been to the U.S. SMB partners for the past two years.
Alas, we know we "can't keeep a good man down," so we send you on to bigger and beter things with our sincerest thanks for a job VERY well done.
Co-founder, Chicago SBS Users Group
Are you sure that you really don't want to spend the balance of your career as the Licensing Guru?
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@ Bob Hood - 1974??? I know it may seem like a long time ago, but that was 2003ish. :-) I do look forward to continuing to work with you and all of the Partners around the world to continue to grow our relationship together, so I'm not completely gone in the new role and we'll continue to work together. As for the "licensing guru"... Any guess what one of the top items listed as "areas for improvement" is from Partners? I have a strange suspicion I will still be doing licensing for quite some time. :-) Thanks for everything, Bob, and the whole crew back home in Chicago.
Wow - Congratulations Eric! You know how to make such a difference and I have been thrilled to have benefited from so much of your knowledge share. Keep going, keep doing, keep caring!
OK.. it WAS 2003! I'm just trying to prove my passage into "senior citizen" status!
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Congratulations Eric! You had me worried there when I was first reading your post this morning that you
Congratulations on the new position! You are good at keeping a secret. An hour of conversation with you and you kept it from me. I never made the association of looking for a new house with "I just got a big fat raise!" :)
You've done so much for the US partners and I'm very grateful for everything that you've done for us. The world will be in good hands.
Congratulations on the new position! You have always exceeded my expectations and you have made a positive impact for the success of all those Microsoft Small Business Partners who wanted success!
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