The only thing I love more than reading business books (and of course, my family) is Phish. So, I am going to be opening up this forum with a seven-part series; a Phish-series, which I wrote recently. This series is about my love of Phish and how that relates to some of my business ideas. Here's the first piece titled: "You Can Always Get What You Want." Oh but before you jump in, you might want to have a listen to my recent Phish interview on WPVM radio. Enjoy!
Those who know me, and I mean those who really know me, not the “Hi Jeffrey, I met you at a networking event and can you hire me?” kinda people, know that my passion for RCS and my family, is only equaled by my love of Phish, the epic masters of musical improv.
So if you are just learning about my Phish passion, we clearly have a lot more to talk about.
One sleepless night, I was pondering a conversation with one of my employees about how we could take RCS to the next level. I started going through work emails --- opening old emails, scanning headlines, deleting anything that didn’t speak to me, and quickly responding to whichever emails took the amount of brain power I had on what was turning out to be a very sleepless morning.
Then I spotted an email about an upcoming Phish tour and that got me wide awake. Here’s why…these tickets are tough to get, and lots of time needs to be devoted to getting them.
Phish fans line up early to get their tickets in advance. Getting these tickets is a priority and nothing and no one (just ask my wife) comes before it.
I realized that one of the business questions that I had been toying with for the past month could be answered in my obsession with Phish.
I am not one who likes to wait, and getting tickets is not easy. There’s a process of signing up to pre-sales, getting the tickets through usual channels and then the inevitable check-in at StubHub. It’s stressful when you feel that you MUST see your favorite band, and not just for one night, but for ALL of the nights that they are playing --- regardless of how far you may have to travel to make this happen.
So why do I go through this process? What works for me about Phish that has made me race to get tickets for multi-nights of performances and to eagerly count down the days to the shows on my calendar? And why are the concerts so satisfying for me?
First, I know what is going to happen at these concerts. I am going to hear the music I crave, get some surprises on their impromptu line-up --- and a solid music and crowd experience is going to be delivered. I always walk away satisfied.
So, how does that feeling inspire me to connect Phish with RCS?
Our mission is that our clients will get the reliable service they want. Our goal is to bring solutions that you may not have considered that will make your business run more smoothly and ensure that you will always be satisfied. This is the start of taking our business to the next level, by responding to your support emails, tickets, and calls quickly and efficiently. The frustrating experience of Phish is everything I do not want for our clients.
Getting tickets to Phish concerts is hard; talking to us at RCS about your needs is easy. Just open a ticket, or give us a call! Responding to your needs immediately is the vital first step in taking our business to the next level. I know all too well the frustration that waiting can bring.
Amazing the things we learn when we can’t fall asleep. (Next time I’ll tell you about what else I learned on another, very similar, sleepless Monday evening.)
Today’s workplace tech shenanigans ---- one of those days when there were some big projects all coming to a head at once --- had me heading home feeling like not even a year of sleep would do it for me. On my train ride home I started my own personal brand of meditation and conjured up all the most relaxing places I’ve ever visited.
I locked into a memory of the last Phish concert that I had been to. And how it felt when I was there. And part of me, okay, that’s a lie because all of me actually, was wishing I was still there.
And then I started thinking...What is it that makes a Phish concert work for me and bring the serenity that I crave in other parts of my life? Is it just the product of a large group of people enjoying themselves and simply vibing? Or is it a result of doing so much pre-event planning and preparing beforehand; deciding to attend, buying the tickets, traveling to the event, etc. that by the time the actual event rolls around, Phish fans are overqualified to just sit back, prop their feet up, and bathe in the full experience as the show unfolds?
At a Phish concert, the prep is all worth it in that moment when the lights go down, the curtains rise, the band starts playing, and the first set begins.
That’s how it is with technology --- and what we want for our clients.
We all know what it feels like when your technology is running completely smoothly, when you go to work and leave knowing your workday went by with no tech hiccups. When your infrastructure is running seamlessly (no UPS is making a useless noise. You all know which noise I mean) and everything is operating in perfect sync, it’s an opportunity for productivity from you and your team to be on the mark.
Is it any wonder that at a Phish concert, in a room full of what I am sure are many stressed-out-as-such CEOs, everyone just wants to tune-out and experience that surreal Phish feeling?! I know I do.
When was the last time you’ve given thought to how much you gain when your infrastructure is functioning without a glitch?
If you are one of those hoarders who hold onto your outdated equipment for way longer than forever, chances are you’ve constantly been forced to think about this. So I probably won’t have to say much to get you to trust me when I tell you that the spend is worth the investment.
When it comes to your technology running smoothly, we tend to overlook important details such as how much it costs our company when a server goes down or a user can’t work. Even something as simple as a staffer’s desktop running slowly, or employees working remotely and not having the tools they need can cost you in both efficiency and mounting frustration.
It shouldn’t take a Phish expert (certainly not a Phan like myself) to tell you that this arrangement is far from efficient or cost-effective. All these little things can cost you every day.
RCS can help you minimize your downtime and enjoy the full experience of your company operating optimally.
When you signed onto an agreement with RCS, we sat down with you and reviewed all your infrastructure needs. We assessed your current environment. We made recommendations and then we implemented them. All to ensure that your Phan experience was as brilliant as a Phish fan’s, as I don’t think it’s fair that only Phish fans should experience this level of complete zen.
Here are the five things that we are looking at for each of our clients --- and assessing --- on a quarterly basis:
Business changes all the time, and so do your business needs. Sometimes small adjustments can save you time and make your business run more efficiently.
Talk to us about even the smallest of tweaks that your business needs, as well as big ideas. Our goal: your tech solutions increase your profitability and your efficiency.
And this brings you that same relaxed feeling I have when Phish dives into their first song, and I settle in knowing exactly what I am going to enjoy with a few improv surprises, their own tweaks, that keep me smiling.
It’s that time of year. My wife, Tuni, and I need a vacation. The last time we escaped, it was New Year’s weekend and we didn’t actually leave town. Instead we caught a subway to a Phish Concert at Madison Square Garden, our own grand version of a Great Escape.
I like to go Phish concerts alone. Well, alone with my wife that is. Why? Tuni’s not going to ask me annoying questions while I am experiencing something I enjoy as much as the escape of a Phish concert. She’s come to know better.
Truth be told, when I go to a Phish concert, it’s not like when I go to a networking event. I don’t really want to meet every single Phish fan in the room. But that is not to say I don’t. Somehow, sitting --- no standing --- in a room full of Phans like myself, it is not too difficult to find common ground and all chances of awkward introductions fade away in the face of the harmonious cacophony that is Phish.
The only kind of data I want to think about is escaping into the music and the experience. That does not include the possibility of the guy sitting next to me mistaking a nice cordial hello for a sign that I want to spend the rest of my life getting to know him, or worse, him having the audacity to continue our polite pre-show introductions into the first set.
It’s at times like this that I wish my life was password-protected. Who knew networking could be so downright dangerous? Ferrazzi sure failed to mention that in his business book, Never Eat Alone.
Business owners can feel lost when their data is not protected. Are you constantly thinking about who you might be sharing restricted information with? Does your data management leave you feeling insecure?
Well, it occurred to me that perhaps the answer to effective data-handling can be found in following the Phish formula. Allow me.
At RCS, when you choose us as your IT company, we will offer you a full virus and anti-virus protection plan. We promise to show you how to navigate through the crowds of hackers trying to create an insecure connection between your company --- and the rest of the world --- and we have the smarts and know-how to ensure you are fully password-protected. No more worrying about how to transfer data securely between certain employees while keeping it from others and no more experiencing potentially dangerous connections.
I wish I could do it this easily at concerts.
We know what to do to make your business secure. Give us a call and we can talk about everything you need to ensure that no one is entering into a relationship with your server or your employees’ desktops, laptops, and mobile devices when they are unwanted.
Trust me. I will channel my inner Phish Phan “solidarity mantra” onto protecting your business needs.
You may remember me telling you that I’d be willing to travel any distance if it meant not missing a Phish concert. Once I even trekked down to Mexico.
Unfortunately, though, the same cannot be said about our recent company move from one side of Manhattan to the other. You’d think with having an office set up with tech that would stay up in the face of a hurricane, we would easily make it through the bureaucracy of a move. But then we came upon elevator insurance requirements and, alas, who knew this would be tougher to conquer than our craziest of tech days? Building management folks make TSA officials look tame.
Our move brings to mind a new deal we closed while I was on my way to catch a plane to Mexico a few summers ago for the most epic Phish concert yet. If nothing else, the fact that I could travel across an airport while closing a deal --- not to mention the fact that I had access to all of the resources I needed to prepare for my meeting while I was sitting in an airport trying to be productive through a four-hour plane delay --- was just the best feeling EVER. At RCS, we believe that being able to work on-the-go is the gift that all execs should be given.
Because our infrastructure is set up for it, when I travel to a Phish concert (or just about anywhere, for that matter), I can leave everything at my office and still have what I need with me so I can access it while I travel --- and it’s all so neat and easy. I don’t even have to pay for overweight luggage!
It’s nothing like the old-fashioned moving trucks we used to need to take us from one side of Manhattan to the other. I can connect with anyone I need to from any part of the world and the people I am speaking with need never know I am just checking things off my to-do list from a lone airport out in the middle of nowhere.
As if that Phish concert wasn’t memorable enough.
It was while I was sitting for hours in that airport that I realized why most of our clients lean on us for full-on remote access to their office and machines. Although they’re not all Phish fans like me (granted, they should be), they obviously know what it means to be away from your office but still have piles upon piles of tasks to accomplish, as well as a payroll to process. Knowing that we are able to provide people with everything they need to be productive from any part of the globe makes me sing (obviously a Phish song).
Even if it’s not a Phish concert you’re heading to, you ought to think about how your office is connecting. If the weather is bad or your flight home is delayed, are you and your employees set up to ensure that things continue to operate smoothly?
And if you are, what happens if an employee takes something home and then loses it? Or if TSA confiscates your sales pitch?
I’ll tell you what. You want to be prepared. You want to be able to call your IT company and get immediate help restoring your data, especially considering that in business there is more at stake than “just” getting to a Phish concert.
Let us do the work for you to ensure that you are accounting for all your remote needs. It's high time you flew stress-free and besides...you don’t need that kinda baggage.
I feel old. Never thought the day would come when “have a cup of coffee and catch your breath” would feel like a commodity. I remember my first Phish concert back in my college days. I was too young then to really appreciate what I was experiencing --- or at least that’s what I tell myself now.
I know it’s hard to believe that Phish wasn’t always a part of my DNA. Sometimes even I forget that it wasn’t until New Years of 2012, when I attended my second concert along with my wife, that I became a die-hard Phish Phan. And even though it was a number of years ago (no I am not disclosing how many. You can do the math), I can still recall the songs I heard at that concert and the way it felt to free-fall into the Phish Phan club: VIP sailing.
It’s almost like finding old files or restoring old ones that have been properly backed up. The memories are stored in some old file cabinets in the back of my brain and all I need to do is extract a moment in my mind and the song associated with that moment starts to run on automatic playback right when I think of it (and even sometimes when I don’t).
While my Phish memories will stay with me forever; my employees may not. So that’s why I need to think about who and what is holding onto sensitive company information and how I make sure I will save that data if/when they go.
You’d be surprised at how much useless data we all store without knowing it. Yet, somehow, when we are in a state of crisis because something like the marketing plan we’d been working on for the last six months ran out the door unexpectedly with our former employee, we realize just a little too late what else we should’ve been storing.
When it comes to Phish memories, I don’t need to rely on backup to recall things. All I need to do is look at the old ticket stubs taped to my desk and the concert in question pops into my mind. But unless your service tickets are taped to your desk like mine, you probably need a better system for organizing, storing, and retrieving company files and backups.
RCS can help you make sure your data is as accessible to you as my Phish files are to me, and we’ll even keep track of the tickets.
It’s happening. We’re redesigning our website. We’ve been sitting on this project for months and months and have finally reached a point where even I feel we can no longer leave it undone. Soooo, design time.
This project is one of the reasons I found myself listening to a recording which one of my employees compiled with a bunch of feedback from our clients. Our relationship with our clients is key to what we do and the feedback they give us is one of the many ways in which we stay connected. Other ways include weekly and monthly client check-ins, a tri-annual meeting with our clients and senior staff, regular feedback forms, and a good dose of the good old “How are you” and “What’s new?” kinda phone calls.
It’s sort of like a Phish concert in that our processes and offerings always revolve around our clients’ needs and wishes, just like how at every live Phish performance, the music is built around the interaction between the band and the audience. And from what I’ve seen, or actually heard, the better the engagement between the two, the better the music becomes. Perhaps this is what makes a Phish concert so incredibly captivating.
At a Phish concert, here’s how it works: the band plays a note and the audience provides a response. The band plays another note as a direct response to what the audience “said” (or in this case, sung), the audience responds again, the band plays another note, the audience responds, and so on and so forth. As a result, every set is different and every concert becomes another uniquely designed experience.
At RCS, when you sign on to an agreement, the first thing we do is meet with you and lay out a plan. We ask you questions and watch you work so as to learn about your business. We spend hours gathering as much information as possible about your long-term struggles and goals.
Then we propose custom solutions based off of your responses. We tailor our “music,” if you will, to what will best suit your specific business needs and we propose unique solutions to help your business grow. The more we communicate, the better our solutions become, the happier you are, the better you perform, and so on and so forth.
The recording I was listening to on this particular day was from a client who said (and I quote), “RCS always puts our company first. They first figure out what’s best for us and then they figure out a way to make money after.”
Figuring out “what is best for our client” is our goal, and the constant communication we have with our clients is what allows us to be successful in reaching it. Each client of ours has a unique set of needs and therefore our solutions for each one of them take on a completely different tone.
We know that managing your business technology can be a huge production, and so we invite you to begin a conversation with us about your business. I am confident that we can create a customized solution for you which will drive your business forward.
You may recall my saying that I never attended a Phish concert with anyone other than my wife as I like to stay in the zone of enjoying the music instead of chatting or being responsible for someone else’s enjoyment of an evening. But I changed my tune (pun intended) when Phish announced their recent tour in Atlanta.
Why the change of heart? You may be surprised to learn that Atlanta is where the majority of our tech team works. Seriously, our New York tri-state area company has a large percentage of its employees in Atlanta.
Why did I opt to have part of the team move to Atlanta? One of our dynamite techs, Jesse Mattox, decided to move there and he was just too skilled to lose. So in that month’s business planning meeting we took a good look at our options and realized that the smartest thing to do was to have him get settled there, and hire a skilled team to surround him, including a new help-desk office out there.
Truth is, we often tell our clients to consider remote solutions --- and we help many of them get set up that way. So it seemed feasible --- and sensible --- for us to finally do the same for our business...and voila, the RCS Atlanta team was born!
Since that time, the Atlanta team has grown to include a whole team of dynamite techs --- “mini-Jesses” if you will --- and nowadays it’s Tim, our new lead team tech, or Eric, our triage technician, who you will likely speak with if you call into our 24-hour support line. Jesse is working with us on Level 2 projects, still from Atlanta.
So back to Phish. When I saw that they were playing in Atlanta, I thought it would be great to take the entire ATL team to the show. My wife came along too. There are times that rules are made to be broken.
So speaking of changes and doing things differently, sometimes new ways make room for new results and changing things up can be productive. It may sound crazy, but even the way your employees’ desks are organized (or not organized) can impact the way they perform.
Take it from me. A few months ago, I would never have believed that a Phish concert could be a Phish concert if I took my work team with me. Who knew that a night out of the office WITH MY TEAM could still be so incredibly awesome?! Now there are a whole bunch of RCS Phish Phans running around here --- and I was able to use my time in Atlanta to check in with them on the business at that office, as well.
Good things evolve, companies evolve, and old ways never open up new doors.
If you are reading this, you may want to ask yourselves what you can do (or not do) to continue to propel your business forward. At RCS, we believe in the ability of seamless IT to save your business time and money. Sometimes, all you need is a new way of looking at things --- or a new group of people to attend a concert with --- to see things in a completely fresh light. Next year, I’m bringing the NYC team to see Phish!
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