ITNation 2014.  Whew.

This was the year I put our ITNation sponsorship on my Visa card and just hoped we’d be in business by November 2014.  We had become “Managed Sales Pros” – a niche specific cold calling company that only supported MSPs.

It could have gone either way, really.

The most interesting thing about ITNation 2014 for me was that it was the ONLY channel event that I’ve ever been able to truly measure any ROI on, since it was our first. I know for a fact we made over 300% ROI on this event.  Every event since, it’s been an absolute mystery.  Do we attribute client conversion to first touch, or last touch?  We still don’t know.   We do know that our sales cycle is long – most MSPs will meet us at an event, decide we are too expensive and then try a less expensive company, a company that spends way more on marketing than we do, or try it in house.  Then, a year or so later they’ll call us again.  Our very best marketing approach has always been letting MSPs work with our competitors and waiting.  But ITNation 2014 was our debutante ball, and the year I absolutely fell head over heels in love.

The channel is a jealous mistress, my friends – look at how few of us ever leave it.  We change roles, we change companies, but it’s a Godfather-style commitment.  You try to get out, but it always pulls you back in.

In 2014, we spent 25% of our previous years total revenue – not net income – total revenue – to sponsor ITNation.  This was before I could read a P&L, and I was running my business on muscle, feel and I don’t know – divine inspiration?

Memories of 2014 (aside from the gallery below…)

Tracie Orisko ditched me at our own party to go have dinner at The Waldorf Bull and Bear with OpenDNS where we experienced (for the first time, but not the only time) the legendary seemingly unlimited expense account of Andrew Kaiser.  Now Tracie and Andrew now work together at Huntress Labs — the circle of Tomahawk Steaks and Overpriced Cabernets channel life.

We had our very first channel suite party, where we learned what Eric Pinto knew all along – never, never, ever have a party in the hotel suite that you’re actually sleeping in.  I absolutely came out in my bathrobe to try to throw out a couple of Canadians and all of the Aussies.  It almost got us thrown out of the Waldorf.  Worth it.

Enjoy these little blasts from the past….see you tomorrow for 2015!