ASCII Insider is ASCII's private peer group program exclusively for ASCII members. I will be working with groups of ASCII members who want to take their businesses to the next level and plan for the future. This is a very meaningful engagement to me as The ASCII Group was integral to the success of the MSP I started, Jenaly Technology Group.
Back in about the year 2000, I received a call from Tech Data, my primary distributor at the time. They wanted me to join The ASCII Group, which they described as a buying consortium that would allow me to get better pricing from Tech Data. In effect, I would be considered part of this large buying group and be able to offer discounts to my clients that I would not otherwise be able to get due to the volume of my purchases at the time.
After joining The ASCII Group, I was introduced to other valuable member benefits. There were all manner of affinity programs, offering discounts on car rentals, insurance, office supplies and the like. There were also regional meetings held once a year and something called The ASCII Forum. The ASCII Forum is a private information exchange for ASCII members, where members ask anything they want and other members respond to help. Not long after joining ASCII, I had a nasty technical issue that I was having trouble resolving for one of my clients. I emailed my problem out to the Forum and within ten minutes, my cell phone rang and it was ASCII member Jay Tipton calling to give me the answer to my problem. I'll never forget that! Jay and I met in person at some point over the next few years and we've been friends and have helped one another ever since.
ASCII also introduced me to CompTIA. At the time, being a member of ASCII meant you were also a member of CompTIA. For those that know me, you know I have been and remain very engaged with CompTIA. In fact, it was a call from Jerry Koutavas, president of ASCII, that led to my first term as a member of the CompTIA Board of Directors as CompTIA was looking for an MSP who could represent the smaller MSPs in the industry on the Board.
Over the years, I met the executive and membership teams of The ASCII Group and served on the ASCII Advisory Council for a number of years. Many of my longest term friends and colleagues in the business came by way of meeting them at an ASCII event. So, it just feels right to be able to give back to the Community that gave so much to me. I could not be happier to be working with the team at ASCII and taking ASCII Insider to new levels.
Here is the press release announcing my engagement with ASCII Insider:
The ASCII Group Breaks the Mold on Standard Channel Peer Groups
The ASCII Group, a membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, VARs and Solution Providers, has announced ASCII Insider, a new service for MSPs to facilitate growth and collaboration within their respective businesses in a peer group setting.
“Our goal is to further extend the significant conversations that are taking place within the ASCII community by enabling members to openly discuss operational strategies, business challenges and financial health, all within a private, non-competitive environment,” said Jerry Koutavas, President, The ASCII Group. “We recognize that peer groups are not something new, however based on member input, time considerations were a key factor in the structuring of these groups. Activities will be vendor-free, solely focused on their businesses. And moderators will be selected based on deep industry experience as to enhance the business discussion and direction within these groups.”
With multiple groups already engaged and committed, ASCII has handpicked industry veteran MJ Shoer to moderate these closed group discussions as well as future groups as ASCII Insider expands. MJ Shoer has been involved in the IT industry since 1992, including nearly 20 years as an ASCII member as the owner of Jenaly Technology Group. He has served on several advisory councils, including ASCII, ConnectWise, Kaseya, and CompTIA, where he was Board Chair from 2011 to 2015. MJ’s business experience and leadership role in the IT industry make him ideally qualified to lead the ASCII Insider groups.
“The foundation and community of ASCII and how it helped my business transform, was incredibly strategic for me as an IT provider,” said MJ Shoer, Founder & Principal Consultant, MJ Shoer, LLC. “With ASCII Insider, I view this as a great opportunity to give back to the group and to help MSPs shape their business for future success.”
For more information, please visit www.asciiinsider.com