TFF-68 – How To Quit Your Job and Start a Computer Business Part 1

Today we’ll talk with an IT consultant who recently wrote a book that takes a different approach to starting a computer business that most other books of its kind don’t consider. We’ll also tell you where you can get this book and read some of your comments from inside The Force Field.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :00
Intro :10

Support our Sponsors! Visit them at The Force Field!

Intro to Topic 1:59
We talk with Matthew Rodela, an IT consultant, owner of Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy, host of The Computer Business Podcast and author of a new book called How To Quit your Job and Start a Computer Business. We’ll find out what it takes to be a computer consultant, the pros and cons of starting a computer business, and find out what you need to know and have before you get it started. Part 1 of a two part series.

Interview with Matthew Rodela 3:31

Episode 69 Teaser 31:12

Order your copy of How To Quit your Job and Start a Computer Business and save 20% at checkout with discount code: FORCEFIELD20.

Feedback 32:13
Comments and feedback from listeners.

Wrap up and Close 34:24

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net or post them in The Force Field Forums. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2014 Savoia Media. All rights reserved.

Why do techs complain about IT service platforms?

In Episode 67 of The Force Field Podcast I asked techs who work for web-based service platforms if they consider themselves contractors, vendors, commodities or customers. I brought this question up years ago in the now defunct OnForce forums and it was quite an interesting debate.

The platforms have become more established since then and after ten years of web-based entities like OnForce, there is almost a whole new generation of techs using them, so I thought it was a good time to bring up the topic again. I created polls and discussion topics in several social media venues, including one in the Force Field Forums. Once again, the results were, uh, interesting.

I was somewhat frustrated with the responses the first go-around on the old OnForce forums, simply because I was so sure of my convictions that it was almost inconceivable to me that anyone except some less informed employees of the platforms would disagree. I was wrong.

This time would be different, I told myself, based on years of complaints from some current and former platform techs who often found themselves on the short end of the stick when attempting to deal with these companies. These techs were frustrated with the perceived discriminatory policies and practices of the platforms, who seemed to clearly favor the “Buyers” or clients over the techs, particularly in regards to disputes between the two parties. So, I took up the topic again, this time on The Force Field.

I polled the techs and asked the following question: Are you a contractor, a vendor, a commodity or customer? I clearly defined each term, discussed each in detail and drew the seemingly obvious conclusion that techs who worked on service platforms were, indeed, all of the above. After all the complaining from techs about the issue and what I thought was an open-and-shut case, I expected almost unanimous agreement from the platform techs. I was wrong again. According to the polls and responses, a majority of techs only consider themselves contractors. Almost none of them also consider themselves customers!

As I said in the podcast, when you pay a fee on the platform, you are buying something from the platform. The techs pay to play on the platforms. This makes the techs customers of the platforms. As a customer, the tech has a right to be upset and complain when the platform they pay to play on does not treat them the same as they would a client on the other side of the platform. That is perfectly understandable. However, according to the comments and polls, the majority of platform techs don’t consider themselves customers. If so, why are they complaining as if they are? That is what floored me.

Either you are a customer or you are not. If you don’t think you are customer on the platform, you have no reason to complain about it when you aren’t treated like one. It’s that simple.

According to the feedback, these platform techs who complain that the IT service platforms don’t treat them as well as they do the clients don’t consider themselves worthy of such status. So, why do these techs complain at all?

It was all very puzzling. Then something occurred to me. I missed one very important concept and one very important term.

A good business should favor the customer. I stated this in the show. It’s just good business. However, there is an important caveat to consider. The type of business we are discussing calls itself a platform.

A platform is defined as a raised, level surface on which someone or something can stand or perform. There are many different types of platforms, but they all do essentially the same thing. They provide a flat, level base or environment from which anyone or anything, or a combination thereof, can operate.

The key word here is level. Platforms are supposed to be level, with equal opportunity and access for everyone and everything that uses them. They aren’t supposed to be tilted or skewed in one way or another in order to give everyone equal footing and an equal position on the platform. In business, that means everyone on the platform should be treated the same. However, that’s not how the typical IT service platform operates.

It is no secret that many of the online IT service platforms and so-called “marketplaces” treat their clients or “Buyers” very differently than they do their techs. The clients are coddled and given every consideration of courtesy while the techs are generally treated as expendable extras. There is no conjecture on this one; it’s a well documented fact. The buyers are well cared for, and the techs, well, except for a few favored fellows (or ladies), not so much. This has been a point of contention since the days of ComputerRepair.com over ten years ago, and one that is often discussed in various platform centric newsgroups and forums across the web, including The Force Field Forums.

When a company calls itself a platform, it sets the expectation that it will be a level playing field with no preference to any party in a transaction, and will have little, if anything to do with the transaction at all. They call themselves platforms, but are they? That is the real argument, and there are many technicians who work them who contend that these platforms are not level at all.

A platform that isn’t level isn’t really a platform by definition. This is why platform techs do not consider themselves customers, but some techs complain that the platforms treat them differently from the customers who are the clients. Their point? It’s not about being treated like a customer, it’s about paying to play on a level platform.

We’ll discuss this further in a future episode of The Force Field.

TFF-67 – Are You a Contractor or a Customer?

Today we’ll ask a very important question to the techs who work on web-based IT service platforms. Are you a contractor, a vendor, a commodity or customer? We’ll define each of these business terms and find out which one best fits the techs who work on these platforms. We’ll also evaluate the numbers from a poll that asked this very question and read some comments from techs who responded to the poll.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :00
Intro :10

Support our Sponsors! Visit them at The Force Field!

Intro to Topic 2:06
Are you a contractor, customer, commodity or vendor on these platforms? Where do you really stand in these provider/platform/client relationships and what is the platform’s responsibility to you in that regard?

Topic Discussion 6:54

Feedback 19:06
Comments and feedback from listeners.

Wrap up and Close 23:44

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net or post them in The Force Field Forums. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2014 Savoia Media. All rights reserved.

The Force Field to carry LIVE coverage of CES 2014

Each year since 2008, The Force Field has carried video coverage of The Consumer Electronics Show. Last year we went all out. This year we will do the same. The front page of The Force Field web portal will feature 24/7 video coverage of CES 2014, including a LIVE stream during the event. As in years past we will stream both recorded features and a live stream courtesy of The Tech Podcast Network (TPN). The Force Field Podcast is a proud member of TPN.

In addition to the live video stream, the front page of TheForceField.Net will also feature a 24/7 live social media stream and a live chat, where viewers around the world can discuss CES 2014 in real time.

To complete the coverage, The Force Field Forums will also have the CES 2014 Forums open and available to the public, for the latest comments, debates and discussions during CES 2014.

Pre-show coverage begins 2 PM EST (11 PM PST) Monday, January 6, 2014.

Syntechs tries to recruit me nine years later – why?

 A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a national called Syntechs. Synergy Technical Solutions Corporation, also known as Syntechs, was established in 1994 and is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company offers contract work to techs in the area of onsite flat panel TV repair and some point-of-sale devices.

 Dear Rick Savoia,

Thank you for visiting www.Syntechs.com and submitting your resume. I am the recruiter responsible for your region. I have reviewed your resume and would like to discuss with you the field engineer position available in your area.

Syntechs is an onsite national solutions provider that has relationships with various manufacturer’s and warranty companies.

Please respond via email at VendorRelations@Syntechs.com, or contact me at [phone number] so that we may discuss with you in more detail what the position entails.

You may also update your profile by visiting [link to secure login page]. Your Resume ID is [id number] and the zip code on file is 32701.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Michael Credidio
Vendor Recruiting

If you’re a tech who has been in business for awhile and has worked for a few nationals and service platforms, you probably receive recruitment e-mails and solicitations for work from such companies from time to time. I’ve received many solicitations for contract work from nationals in my day, so I wasn’t particularly surprised to find this sitting in my inbox. What I did find interesting, though, was the seemingly disingenuous and spammy nature of this one, particularly because it was allegedly sent from a company that is fairly well known by technicians in the industry. Their reputation precedes them, and it is a questionable one at that.

In the e-mail, Michael Credidio claims that I visited Syntechs.com and submitted a resume, which supposedly they have on file. I took issue with it for a several of reasons. For starters, I don’t usually send my professional resume to national contractors. The zip code they had on file was another clue, as it would not be used as contact information on a current resume. It was the zip code of my computer store, which at the time was a retail location in Altamonte Springs, Florida. I moved my business out of that area nearly nine years ago, so if I ever did contact them or send them a resume, which I doubt, they sure took a long time to get back to me.

The third reason was because I couldn’t log into their site to verify any of this.

If they had my resume for nine years and were just now contacting me “for an interview”, I wanted to investigate and find out why. I followed the link, which went to a recruitment form page. I had to click another link on that page to access the ‘Resume Login” page. The ID and zip code they provided in the e-mail were invalid.

So, now comes the big question. If the ID and zip code were not valid login credentials as advertised, what was the point of the e-mail?

To find out, I called Syntechs and spoke directly to Mr. Credidio. As it turns out, he really didn’t have my resume. Apparently I filled out an online application to join Syntechs and he was working off the information I provided in the online form. Ironically, the date of submission was the same day I joined Onforce in May 2004.

So, why was he contacting me just now, nearly nine years after I submitted it? According to Mr. Credidio, Syntechs already had a “field engineer” assigned to that area at the time, which is why they never even responded to the application when it was first submitted (how cordial of them). Apparently they recently parted ways with this individual and were now seeking a replacement. They attempted to contact me using the phone number on file but the number was no longer working, so they sent me an e-mail instead.

I told him that when I attempted to access the web site to view my “profile”, the ID and zip code came back as invalid. He explained that after two to three weeks of the e-mail solicitation my profile was placed on “inactive” status. When I told him that I attempted to log in several times within 48 hours after receiving the e-mail, he dodged the question entirely.

After speaking with Mr. Credidio, the e-mail didn’t seem quite so spammy, but it still didn’t sound like such a great opportunity. If they were searching for a replacement for my area, why go all the way back for leads using information that was nearly a decade old? Why not start fresh from the top of the stack? After all, an old phone number that was no longer working with no forwarding number is a fairly reliable indicator that the business may no longer be around, at least not in the area they allegedly needed to cover.

The only reason it would make any sense to go that far back in time to find a new tech is if they had no other current leads and exhausted all possible options to find one. In other words, perhaps no one within reasonable driving distance to Altamonte Springs is willingly signing up to join Syntechs anymore.

This scenario actually makes sense, given the current reputation of this company within the field tech community. Syntechs is fairly well known among service technicians for their restrictive non-disclosure agreements, unreasonably low rates and a notorious propensity for not paying for the job after work is completed. Numerous discussions on tech discussion boards, forums including The Force Field Forums and consumer complaint sites have well documented their antics. The company has a very low rating in the National Contractor Directory and the comments from techs are overwhelmingly negative.

Would I work for this company? No, but I’ve retired from IT field service since my initial application and no longer perform contract work for any of these nationals, so the question is no longer at issue.

The question is, would you? Given the ratings and reviews of this company and the recent attempt to recruit someone based on an application submitted nearly a decade ago, would you work for Syntechs? Why or why not?

TFF-66 – Working For The Service Platforms

We talk with an IT service provider who built a successful business working through web based service platforms and find out how he makes it profitable. We’ll also read some of your comments and e-mails from inside The Force Field.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :00
Intro :10

Support our Sponsors! Visit them at The Force Field!

Intro to Topic 2:01
We talk with Dave Hayden, owner of Computer 911 and an IT service provider who works almost exclusively for national IT service companies and web-based service platforms. We’ll learn how got he started with the platforms, why he builds relationships with the companies that route the work through them and how you can make platform work profitable too.

Interview with Dave Hayden 3:34

Feedback 28:26
Comments and feedback from listeners

Wrap up and Close 30:11

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net or post them in The Force Field Forums. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2013 Savoia Media. All rights reserved.

TFF-65 – Should You Start a Computer Business

We celebrate the seventh anniversary of The Force Field Podcast by asking a very important question that is often never considered by techs who want to start their own computer business. We also evaluate the results of a recent poll about Windows 8 and read some comments from listeners of the show during the last seven years.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :00
Intro :10

Intro to Topic 2:17
We talk with Matthew Rodela, an IT consultant, owner of Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy and host of The Computer Business Podcast. We discuss a rarely asked, but very important question he posed to his audience in the second episode of his show.

Interview with Matthew Rodela 3:55

To commemorate the 7th anniversary of The Force Field, this episode is Commercial Free!

Windows 8 Poll 34:21

Feedback 35:52
Comments and feedback from listeners

Wrap up and Close 40:11

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net or post them in The Force Field Forums. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2013 Savoia Media. All rights reserved.

The Force Field Podcast Reboot 2013 Promo


Today, June 26, 2013, is the seven year anniversary of The Force Field Podcast. In honor of this occasion, the show was completely retooled and will re-launch tonight at 10 PM EDT. TFF-65 – Should You Start a Computer Business will also be commercial free.

Episode 64 – Inside The Force Field

We go inside The Force Field and discover some of the resources available for entrepreneurial technicians. We’ll also learn about some changes coming soon to the show and the site to help you make the most of these resources.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:16
Billboard 1:51

News and Comment segment 6:26
The Force Field will carry LIVE coverage of the 2013 National Association of Broadcasters Show on the front page of the portal beginning Monday, April 8 through Thursday, April 11, 2013 courtesy of The TechPodcasts Network (TPN). The Force Field Podcast is a proud member of TPN.

VMware will host the Online VMware Forum April 23, 2013 from 11:00AM – 4:00PM ET in a 3D virtual environment with interactive booths staffed by VMware partners. The event is FREE to qualified professionals. To Register for The Online VMWare Forum go to http://theforcefield.tradepub.com/free/w_vmwa75/.

Seagate claims to be the first hard drive manufacturer to ship two billion hard disk drives.

Sales of Microsoft Windows 8 are below expectations, while demand for laptops with Windows 7 is high.

Commercial Break 2:00
The Computer Business Kit

Intro to Topic 1:48
Today I would like to give you an overview The Force Field. We’ll take a look at the history of the podcast and its overall objective. I’ll introduce you to the web portal, talk about some of the resources available on the site and how you can access them FREE. I’ll also tell you about some exciting new changes coming to show and the site to enhance The Force Field experience and to help you master the business of tech.

Inside The Force Field 13:33

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net or post them in The Force Field Forums. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2013 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

What SaaS Vendors Don

HCR Software to Host complimentary webinar on “SaaS secrets revealed” The webinar “What SaaS vendors don’t want you to know about Software as a Service” event on February 13 will discuss how organizations can successfully avoid hidden traps and costs associated with SaaS (Software as a Service).

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) February 14, 2008 — HCR Software, a leading provider of salary planning and compensation management software, today announced a free HR technology webinar. Titled “Hidden Traps in Software as a Service,” the complimentary event will take place on Wednesday, February 13; the keynote speaker is George C. Brady, III, Vice President Sales & Business Development for PDS Software.

Brady joined PDS in 1993 after previously serving on the company’s Board of Directors. He is responsible for managing the sales force and PDS’ business relationships with third parties. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and Villanova Law School.

There is a great deal of buzz in the technology marketplace regarding software as a service, much of it well deserved. However there are often overlooked details which would-be-buyers would do well to learn about. There are hidden costs and other more meaningful traps for companies may fall into when selecting Software as a Service (SAAS). Providers of the services position themselves as ‘low cost’ and often ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Potential buyers may inadvertently overlook the differences between these offerings and traditional software vendors when it comes to licenses, ownership, configurability, and ultimately the capacity to truly meet their business needs. To register for this webinar select: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/214364609

Topics Include:

  • SaaS as a Vendor Valuation driven model (explicitly not customer driven)
  • Exploration of pricing models and hidden costs in SaaS offerings
  • How to determining if the solution actually fits your organization’s needs
  • How SaaS offerings affect both productivity and ROI

The event is the latest installment of HCR Software’s popular Wednesday Webinar Series, featuring topics related to employee retention, engagement, and HR technology.

About HCR Software
HCR Software is a leading provider of flexible and affordable compensation management software and performance management software. The Company prides itself on its patent-pending technology, its solid customer references, and its flexibility in meeting customer requirements with an approach that maximizes business impact and minimizes change management challenges. More information can be accessed at http://www.hcrss.com

Media Contact:
Casey Quinif

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

{mos_fb_discuss:no_discuss} 

 

Show Call-In Line
Skype Me™!

or call 407-278-5698 from any landline phone!

Techpodcast Network
Get it On Your Phone!

Listen to Stitcher

Audience Survey
The Force Field
Recognition
Rick’s Picks