check_off_with_pencil_800For all of you in the SMB market, you know that “community” and “peers"are a very important part of what you do and one of the key ways that information gets shared, questions get answered, and ideas are brought to life. Because of this, knowing who the key influencers are in this space is a very important part of tapping into this resource as either a consumer of the information, a contributor to the information, a sharer of the information, or any combination of the above. You once again have your chance to have your voice heard for who those key SMB influencers are by placing your votes in the SMB 150, but you better hurry since we’re down to the final few days of voting!

A few weeks ago, I put up a post letting you know that I’d love your votes in the SMB 150 2012 SMB Awards! Here’s how you can vote for me. Needless to say, I would still really appreciate your votes in the SMB 150 if you feel that I deserve them; however, in this post, I thought I would share some of the other people in this contest as well that you may also consider to be top influencers and that they too are up for an SMB 150 Award as well.

First, how could I not mention the Microsoft nominees up for these awards (Note, their descriptions are from their nomination posts):

  • Cindy Bates - Cindy Bates is the Vice President of Microsoft’s US SMB Organization where she is responsible for the company’s end-to-end SMB sales and marketing efforts, including SMB strategy, business development, regional field sales and national distribution sales, channel marketing, and customer marketing.
  • Sean Daniel - Sean Daniel joined Microsoft, and the Small Business Server team back in 2000 as an Intern, working on SBS 2000. He started full time in 2001 working on SBS 2003, and continue to work on the SBS family of products including: SBS 2003 R2, SBS 2008 and Windows Server codename “Vail” and Windows Server codename “Aurora".
  • Damian Leibaschoff - From within his role in Microsoft, Damian Leibaschoff has been providing support for the SBS family of products since 2001. For many years Damian has been a driving force behind the scenes getting fixes for the product before they would even become noticed by the users. Furthermore, his posts in the Official SBS Blog are the ultimate source for information and product improvements.
  • Eric Ligman – Well, I hope you know who I am by now, but just in case… Microsoft Director of Worldwide Partner Experience focused on improving the connection, experience, and satisfaction of Microsoft partners worldwide. Engaged in Microsoft partner community through social media, forums, events, online, and more since 2000. Overview at: www.EricLigman.com

Next, when it comes to others in the community, instead of me sharing a list of nominees, I thought I would share some lists I’ve seen others in the community share that did a good job of communicating who they feel are the key influencers and why:

  • Richard Tubb shared a list on his blog: My picks for the SMB 150! He does a nice job of breaking the nominees into buckets, like: The Brits, The Bloggers, The Community Leaders, the Vendors, and the MSP’s and MSP Coaches.
    • I do have to offer Richard another “Thank you” for not only including me in his list, but also for the really nice compliment: “Eric is known by many not just as one of the nicest folks in our industry…”
  • Karl Palachuk picked up on Richard’s idea and also published a list of his own on his blog: My SMB 150 Recommendations. Karl presents a good list as well, listed in alphabetical order, with a quick statement on each of his recommendations.
    • Again, I have to pass along another “Thank you” to Karl for his very kind words, “(Eric) is always one of the nicest, most focused, and most "normal" people you'd ever want to meet.”
  • When it comes to “Nice guys,” I have to give a quick nod to a truly “nice guy” in the community who is not on the lists above but who is also nominated: Bill Hole 
    • Whether you know him or not, if you were at WPC last year, you probably interfaced with some of the work he did. Bill set out to create videos of the LA area before WPC that we could share with everyone ahead of time to help set up “what to do” and “where to go” information for visitors. In addition, Bill is just one of those guys that always goes out of his way to help people out whenever he gets a chance.
  • Tim Barrett took a slightly more focused approach to his list: SMB 150 – Vote For Eriq. While his list is much shorter, his choice is definitely one that has played a key role in the SMB community for some time.

Now I am sure there are other lists of recommendations out there that I missed above, and if I missed yours, it’s not an intentional exclusion. Also, if you are not on one of the lists above, please don’t take it as me saying, “not to vote for you,” as that is in no way what I am saying.  I am sharing this post simple to share some of the recommendations that I have seen or have that I think do a good job of helping highlight some great contributors to the community.

April 6th is the end of the voting period for the SMB 150 Awards, so if you want your voice included in choosing the winners for this year’s contest, please head to the SMB 150 site and place your votes for those that you fell deserve the votes. Remember that you can vote once per day for each of your candidates, so don’t forget to come back each day this week to get your final votes in.

And for any of you that have or do place votes for me, thank you in advance for your votes. I really do appreciate it.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Director, Worldwide Partner Experience
Microsoft Corporation
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