Episode 21 – A Recap, Update

I just finished speaking at Xchange 2017 in Orlando* and enjoyed the opportunity to connect with some great partners attending the event.

This 21st episode is a bit of a milestone or a mid year point for the Ultimate Guide to Partnering. 20 episodes and we’ve built an amazing body of work through these terrific guests that I am now sharing broadly in my talks with technology partners looking to be better informed, connect and thrive.

In this episode I discuss how this all started, a unique personal story of transformation and how my fascination translates into my interviews where I witness the GRIT and DETERMINATION in the personal and professional stories of their business success. It’s why I love what I do and sharing and delivering their stories with you in this podcast format.

So where do we go from here? What about the next 20 episodes and the 20 episodes after that?

Since this is a bit of a mid-year review for me I’d like to receive your feedback, your course correction, your constructive feedback on what you wish to see or hear in future episodes of the Ultimate Guide to Partnering.. You see It’s just not good enough that I might like an episode or a particular topic or guest, it’s important that it serves you!

There are many places where you can reach me to share your feedback  – probably the best is my professional email address – You can also reach me on Facebook at Ultimate Guide to Partnering or on Linked In, Twitter and Instagram @vincemenzione. I really want to hear from each of you.

And please tell your friends about this podcast so that we can support them.

Thank you listening and thank you for supporting the Ultimate Guide to Partnering.

*Thank you to Robert DeMarzo, Doris Branscombe and the Channel Company Team!

Episode 20: How to be a Google Cloud Channel Partner. Eric Rosenkranz Google Partner Leader

When I started the Ultimate Guide to Partnering, I set as my objective to “inform the partner ecosystem” on how to best engage with the technology giants. My first series of episodes emphasized my roots and experience at Microsoft. My goal has been to expand and explore the partner strategies of the other technology giants, how they view their partner ecosystems and what they seek from and what makes great partnerships.

In this episode I interview a partner leader at one of the other technology giants, another “hyperscaler”. For those not deep in the technology sector, a “hyperscaler” is one of only a few companies in technology capable of making the significant investments in cloud infrastructure, geographically dispersed data centers, network infrastructure, etc. Only a few companies are capable of these investments at scale and the most notable are: Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Definition from Wikipedia – In computing, hyperscale is the ability of an architecture to scale appropriately as increased demand is added to the system. This typically involves the ability to seamlessly provision and add compute, memory, networking, and storage resources to a given node or set of nodes that make up a larger computing, distributed computing, or grid computing environment. Hyperscale computing is necessary in order to build a robust and scalable cloud, big data, map reduce, or distributed storage system and is often associated with the infrastructure required to run large distributed sites such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon.

This interview is focused on Google and I was joined by Eric Rosenkranz, Google’s Cloud Platform Service Partner Lead for North America. Eric was also a former colleague of mine when we both worked for Microsoft.

In this interview Eric tells his story, share his impression of Google’s unique value and his view of partnerships and teams. It’s an excellent view for any channel partner who works with more than one of the technology giants, or just wants to broaden their perspective on the industry.

On his focus…

  • His role – leads the North American team focused on regional and national system integrators, partners doing IT outsourcing and traditional resellers looking to enrich their offering. He is building the partner ecosystem geographically and across vertical and industry solutions.
  • His focus – services partners that build repeatable IP and innovate or leverage the advanced capabilities Google offers – such as machine learning.
  • Perspective on competition – the experience and early bets AWS made have led to dramatic success and public cloud adoption. Microsoft has had big success across many cloud offerings and geographies.
  • Why Google? – the quality of talent and engineering at Google, delivering things like its search engine and adjacent technologies. Google is solving for the big computer science problems around machine learning, containers, self-driving cars, language translation, etc. Google is also a huge contributor to “open source”. Eric references Googles contributions to Tensor Flow, an open-source software library for Machine Intelligence.
  • What is Google doing now? – Google has increased the number of offerings and increased its geographical coverage to support the market. One example we discussed was containerization where Google really stepped out ahead of the market as part of its own development efforts. Video is another great example of the advanced work tied to machine learning and the API’s (Application Program Interface) Google provides for partners.
  • How he views Amazon and Microsoft? – He tells his team to view them more as coalition partners than competition. There is a opportunity for all three to transform the IT landscape to produce bigger impact for shareholders or the mission. He also believes many organizations will have a multi-cloud strategy.

On partnering…

  • What attributes does Eric look for in partners? – Partners that can solve discrete industry use case scenarios and build repeatable IP, and strong depth and breadth of cloud expertise. Work for which Google’s customers are asking. Partners investing in unique scenarios, technical capacity and capability and an investment in both talent and go to market activities. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Core Infrastructure and Containerization were areas of focus he cited.
  • What does he think makes a great partner? – a relationship grounded in trust and integrity. “No matter how strong engineering talent or sales and marketing, the best partners do right by customers and their technology partners.”
  • Common myths about working with Google? – in his first weeks on the job the initial reaction he received from partners was a sense of surprise that Google had a channel strategy or partnership program. He has seen the perception change dramatically in his time in role as Google gets the message of its partner programs to market broadly.
  • Partners that failed – his general experience working with partners that failed in the past occurred when expectation were not properly aligned on a business outcome.

On his career…

What is the most fun aspect of the job – the value the partnership brings to the business, the excitement that builds when relationships are spun-up and joint wins. He also enjoys being part of something that is growing and cites the broad initiatives across Google’s parent company Alphabet to be a disruptive engine to the economy.

His career journey – Eric shares the story of his start in IT and how it ultimately led to a role at Microsoft. He ultimately joined the Microsoft Azure team during its early formative years.

Advice he would give someone he were mentoring? – “Understand your superpowers and double down on them”. People that leverage their “powers” or strengths and find people with the skills that bolster their capabilities are ultimately more successful.

Role Models – his wife. She is CEO of her own company, gets stuff done, and balances many things on her plate at one time.

Advice he’d give his 20 year old self – don’t expect your journey to take a deliberate and predictable path.

Another piece of advice – he is a big fan of meditation to improve his focus and also enjoys yoga as a great way to shut things down.

Personal billboard – don’t wait, meditate!

How to reach Eric: or on Linked In.

If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes , Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players or by going to my website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“. You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab. This helps others find the podcast.

You can also follow and like on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

Episode 19: Introducing Cloud Wave Partners. Jen Spencer interviews Vince Menzione on the Allbound Podcast

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Partnering. In this episode of the podcast, you get to hear me – Vince Menzione – being interviewed by Jen Spencer on her technology and channel podcast – the Allbound Podcast, hosted by Jen Spencer.

Jen was kind enough to invite me to her show which features technology channel leaders to discuss trends and success strategies. We discuss my experiences and insights in the channel and my new venture Cloud Wave Partners.

In this episode, we discuss what makes successful partnerships – how compensation drives behavior – and why commitment to a shared purpose is essential to success. Here is a link to the article and show notes from Allbound.

As a footnote – I’m releasing this episode with the official launch of my website where you can sign up for my weekly newsletter to read about my latest podcast episodes and other useful nuggets of information.

I hope you enjoy this episode


If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes , Google PlayPlayer FM or going to my website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“. Please review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab. This helps others find the podcast.

You can also follow and like on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

Episode 18: #MSInspire – decoding Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner Org. with voice from the field Bill Hawkins.

I recently returned from an amazing week in Washington DC where I had the opportunity to present to partners on “how to take their Microsoft relationship to the next level”, visit many old friends and meet new friends. I also received some amazing feedback on Ultimate Guide to Partnering.

This is an important time at Microsoft and partners need to better understand how the changes will impact their business and engagement with the tech giant.

I asked a voice of the Microsoft partner field to help me take our listeners through the changes – what it means to partners and how this ultimately translates into action in the days ahead.

In this latest episode of the podcast I was joined by Bill Hawkins from Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner or OCP organization to share his thoughts on the changes, how they will impact partners and how partner sellers will engage to drive partner success in FY18.

In the discussion Bill pointed to an overarching theme – the right resource, engaging with the right partner, at the right time.

We discuss exactly what has changed. The slide below provides an overview of the roles and motions and we go through each element in more detail on the podcast.

We touch on the shift in compensation to better align sellers to the consumption model versus the transaction. Everyone in the field will be pivoting harder in this regard. More details on incentives plans will follow as changes roll out to the segments. They have not been released as of the date of this podcast to individuals in the Microsoft organization.

Toni Townes Whitley discussed the shift to “industry focused – partner powered” which is fundamental and allow for da eeper and more focused engagement by Microsoft sellers with partners into a given customer’s business. The 6 verticals are:

1. Financial Services

2. Manufacturing

3. Retail

4. Education

5. Health – 430 accounts, roughly $2B.

6. Government

We conclude here that it’s a great time to be a partner!

Satya’s announced 4 key solution areas for the business during his Monday keynote – its important to note that these are not stove-piped business silos, but interdependent solution sets:

1. Modern Workplace & introduced MICROSOFT 365

2. Business Applications – including DYNAMICS 365

3. Applications & Infrastructure –

4. Data and AI

In the days ahead, I’ll be asking leaders from Redmond and elsewhere to join the podcast and share more details on how these changes translate into success for partners.

Now more than any time – its important that Redmond have a persistent channel and message to partners and field sellers on how to drive the change to effect mutual success. I’m happy to be a conduit at scale through Ultimate Guide to Partnering.

I hope you enjoy this episode.


If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes , Google PlayPlayer FM or going to my website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“. Please review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab. This helps others find the podcast.

You can also follow and like on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

Vince Menzione

Episode 17: “Healthcare 2.0 – power and promise of digital health”. Andrea McGonigle, Managing Director Microsoft Health and Life Sciences

I’m excited to release this 17th episode of the podcast on the 17th day of the month. I am joined by someone with whom I worked closely with at Microsoft to discuss a topic where disruptive technology is playing a significant role in improving lives. It’s such an important topic that I’ve dedicated this second episode to do a deeper dive. I call this one – “Healthcare 2.0”.

My guest Andrea McGonigle, serves as Microsoft’s Managing Director for the Health & Life Sciences. She currently leads a team focused on Business and Partner Development and looks at health holistically across the business. Health is $2B business for Microsoft. Andrea was named by PharmaVoice one of the top 100 influential people in Life Sciences in 2012 and 2013. She was named to the Main Line Times Top 24 Power Women list for 2014. Previous to joining Microsoft, Andrea spent 11 years at Merck & Co., Inc focused enterprise collaboration, FDA compliance and clinical trial management. She is on the advisory board of Drexel University MBA program and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Andrea has a great personal and professional story which she often blogs about at Working Queen Bee Blog. Andrea is passionate about health and life sciences, women in tech, and all things Microsoft.

In this episode we discuss the role of partners and why they are integral to everything she does. Microsoft uses the building blocks of Azure, IoT, Skype, Analytics and Machine Learning in its work with partners to bring forward world class solutions for healthcare. Andrea looks for partners to drive solutions in four key areas:

  1. Clinical Analytics.
  2. Care Coordination.
  3. Patient Engagement.
  4. Personalized Medicine.

We peel back on “Personalized Medicine” and Andrea gives a great example on diagnosis and how having all the data from a larger cohort allows doctors to prescribe the best path forward for patients. And we discuss a use case scenario with Genomics and how gene sequencing can predict the best treatment. DNA Nexus was a partner Andrea called out that Microsoft is working with in this area.

Virtual Health is another hot topic – receiving any type of care through technology. MDLive was a partner we discussed and their application utilizes the Microsoft Azure platform.

Andrea believes Microsoft is uniquely positioned in the application of Care Coordination – “the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants involved in a patient’s care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services.”

Andrea also tells us about “Health Bots” and how Halolens is being deployed to train surgeons.

As I do with each of my episodes, I deconstruct with Andrea “what makes a great partner?” Some of the attributes she looks for in Healthcare:

  1. Know vertical and customer – technical and business decision makers.
  2. Be an industry expert and speak their language
  3. Know your capabilities and capacity limitations – knowing when to say yes and no to engagement. Full transparency in your delivery capabilities.
  4. Proven success – Be able to tell a story about full implementation and resulting success, it can’t just be a press release.

In my discussion about partners that failed, Andrea points to two areas – “poor expectation setting” and “poor communication” with Microsoft. And in response to my question about “what Microsoft doesn’t teach, but she believes is true for partners in her market?” Andrea says, “Don’t be afraid to say no!” This comes back to the discussion on capacity and expectation setting.

Key takeaway here for partners – know your capabilities and limits, and be transparent in communications with the tech giant. 

As with each episode, Andrea and I dive into her personal and professional journey and her story is a rich example of an immigrant families experience with its oldest child being schooled in America and then onto college.

  • Most fun aspect of the job – “working with partners” – understanding how they got started and how they have grown their business
  • One best piece of advice when she started – “be yourself” – am I strong enough from an industry perspective, am I technical enough?
  • Personal journey antidote- she born in Belfast, Northern and her Irish accent was mistaken for an speech impediment when she started school in the US.
  • She shares her passions for health, technology and women through her blog “Working Queen Bee Blog”and shares one of her favorite posts “Never be afraid to leave early” – finding ways to address priorities.
  • Piece of advice for those starting out in technology – “Build about a board of advisors” – mentors are great but having a board of advisors that you can access to learn about a specific competency you wish to develop. This is a recommendation I’ve seen from other successful individuals.
  • Role Models – A manager who pushed Andrea to develop her network by by joining a philanthropic board. If he didn’t push me I would never have learned and grown.
  • Quote she lives her life by – “Be in the Moment”.
  • Useful advice on social – she only checks her social media at set times. She also uses hashtags to track other “influencers”.
  • What she would tell her 25 year old self – “Just be yourself” – she was shy in her youth and wish she had the confidence at that time in her life that she does now.
  • Personal Billboard (this is a metaphor) – her Working Queen Bee – and the irony of being a working queen bee.
  • Book she recommends – “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. For Andrea, this book really struck a chord.
  • How to reach Andrea – Twitter @andreawork or


If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes , Google PlayPlayer FM or going to my website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“. Please review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab. This helps others find the podcast.

You can also follow and like on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

Vince Menzione

Episode 16: Transforming law enforcement through technology. An amazing interview with Mariano Delle Donne, CEO of Adventos

This is a very special interview episode of the podcast as my guest is a Microsoft Partner who overcame adversity in his native Argentina to come to the United States, build a business and live an outstanding life.

Today Mariano Delle Donne is the CEO of Adventos, a software company dedicated to applying life-learned virtues of “working smart” and “working efficiently” to law enforcement.

Adventos’ flagship SmartForce system reduces officer risks and agency costs by enabling a more efficient sharing of information (learn more at He and his team have worked with more than 250 public agencies across the U.S., and more than 100 public safety agencies.

In this episode we discuss the organization’s transformation from a traditional SI model, to a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) delivering a Software as a Service (SAAS) solution for Law Enforcement – crime reduction and proactive policing targeting the several thousand law enforcement agencies nationwide. We learn more about their compelling value proposition in Law Enforcement, the Public Safety market and the evolution of the cloud and technology to solve for 21st Century public safety and law enforcement.

As with each of my episodes, I spotlight the personal and professional journey and Mariano’s story of hope and resilience in addressing adversity is compelling and inspiring.

He grew up in a small town called Villa Regina, in the Rio Negro province of Argentina. As a young teenager, he escaped a life of poverty, eventually enrolling in an exchange program that took him to an elite college preparatory school in South Africa. He excelled as a swimmer while receiving arguably the best academic training in Africa.

Mariano was offered a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Denver (DU) in Denver, Colorado. And the story about how he pursued that objective is worth listening. He subsequently became captain of the swim team, a 16-time All American, and was ranked 8th in the nation in the 100 meter backstroke (Division II). At 21 years old, he turned down the opportunity to swim for Argentina in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia in order to retain his scholarship, finish his college education, and pursue another passion—developing technology that improves lives.

Mariano’s mission, ultimately, is to be a great husband and father. Today, he is married and has two sons. His family lives in Denver, Colorado and he still swims with his boys…giving them a small head start when they ask, “Come on dad, let’s race!”

  • Favorite Quote (from his wife) – “Don’t Get Mad – Get Better”.
  • Best piece of advice – “Just Go for It”.
  • Best attributes – adaptable, perseverance or sustained effort.
  • Advice to his “25 year old self” – “Relax – don’t stress so much”. 
  • Personal Billboard, what would you share on it ? – “Father, Husband, Business leader” – he writes this in his personal journal daily to keep himself anchored on his key outcomes – whatever task he looks to achieve.
  • His piece of advice – focus on your outcomes, mightily !
  • His advice on business – Simplify, focus on the business, be mindful of the numbers, focus on the customer and what is important to you and your customer.
  • His must read for partners focused on SaaS: Sales Acceleration Formula.
  • Other book recommendations: “Rules for a Knight”, by Ethan Hawke“Power of the Myth”, by Joseph Campbell.
  • And one I also love, “Ego is the Enemy”, by Ryan Holiday.
  • His must read blog : 

If you’d like to reach Mariano, you can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mariano’s story is one of transformation and I hope you find this interview and episode to be both informative and inspiring!


If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes , Google Play, Player FM or going to my website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“. Please review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab. This helps others find the podcast.

You can also follow and like on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

Vince Menzione

Episode 15: @MeetDux and build your “social” brand. My interview with Dux Raymond Sy, AvePoint’s CMO & PS CTO

My guest for this episode of the podcast is Dux Raymond Sy. With over 20 years of business & technology experience, Dux is the CMO & Public Sector CTO of AvePoint an award winning Microsoft partner and 2017 Public Sector Partner of the Year Award winner. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP), a Microsoft Regional Director (RD) and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) who has authored a book, white papers, industry articles and delivered interactive presentations to over 10,000 people in major industry events worldwide.

I asked Dux to join and discuss his role at AvePoint, their continued success partnering with and through Microsoft, his personal and professional journey as an immigrant to the US and his amazing reputation in the Microsoft Partner ecosystem as an influencer – and I asked him to share how he developed this prowess with our listeners.

We discuss how he joined AvePoint, the company’s value proposition and markets, how he created a brand on social and became an “influencer” shortly after writing his book and the advice he would give partners on successfully working with Microsoft – what makes a great partnership and what to avoid.

I asked Dux to share his advice for anyone looking to build their social brand with our listeners, he also shared two links to presentations he gave at Microsoft’s 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference:

We dig in on AvePoint‘s Value Proposition, Ideal Customer Profile and the Award Winning Platform they built to support Microsoft Public Sector’s business,

Dux also provides our listeners very insightful advice on how to best engage with Microsoft and things to avoid when first engaging the field organization.

As with each of my episodes, we spotlight Dux’s personal and professional journey from his native Philippines and what he learned from his family to the successful career partnering with Microsoft and achieving his dream of meeting industry legends Bill Gates, Satya Nadella and Tim Berners-Lee.

Some nuggets:

  1. Quote he lives his life by – Stay Humble and Hustle Hard.
  2. His passion for giving back and his recent mission trip to Uganda to set up technology – we include a link to a blog he wrote about it HERE.
  3. AvePoint’s philanthropic work:
  4. Best piece of advice when he started – “Being hungry – you will be rewarded for trying, but will never be rewarded if you do not try” A mindset of contribution, and staying hungry.
  5. How he keeps his energy level up – he wakes up a 4:30 AM everyday and uses this time to focus, exercise and nurture a positive mindset.
  6. Role Model – Thomas Edison for his persistence. He also admires the work of some of the internet companies to impact change and transformation, such as Airbnb for transforming the hotel industry.
  7. A book he loves – “Radical Candor ” by Kim Scott.
  8. If he had a “Personal Billboard” what would it say? – #HackTheStatusQuo
  9. What he would tell his 25 year old self – “start learning about the stock market sooner”.

Here are the most common links to reach and follow Dux: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels search @MeetDux. His personal brand page is:

It’s a really informative interview and I hope you enjoy this episode!

Continue reading “Episode 15: @MeetDux and build your “social” brand. My interview with Dux Raymond Sy, AvePoint’s CMO & PS CTO”

Episode 14: How to “#MSInspire” partners – my interview with Kati Quigley, Microsoft Global Partner Marketing Sr. Director

With the Microsoft Inspire Conference a short time away, I asked Kati Quigley, Microsoft’s Senior Director for Global Partner Marketing to sit down and help our listeners better understand her mission recruiting and inspiring partners, what’s in store for our listeners planning to attend Inspire in Washington DC July 9-13th and the personal and professional journey to Senior Director at Microsoft.

Kati and her team are part of the newly organized “One Commercial Partner Organization” and responsible for all things partner, globally and support an ecosystem of about 300,000 Microsoft Partners. Her work includes recruiting and enabling channel partners by increasing partner discover-ability and a two – way dialogue with Microsoft. Her team brings awareness to partners and their solutions and drives partner to partner connection. In our talk we discuss the digital tools her team utilizes to make the ecosystem smaller, connect and bring awareness and ultimately make the partner ecosystem as a whole – successful.

Kati’s team was responsible for relaunching the Microsoft Partner Community to simplify the “partner experience” and has organized the content to bring greater visibility to resources and communities of partners and the goal of helping partners grow their businesses with Microsoft. –

During the interview we discuss characteristics she sees in the best Microsoft channel partners and “grit” was a term she uses to describe what is important to success along with adaptability. We also discuss and dispel the common myth that “Microsoft doesn’t care” about its partners, the viewpoint that it’s difficult to connect and engage with the tech giant.

We shift gears midway in the episode to focus on the upcoming Microsoft Inspire Conference and the opportunities for the 15,000 partners coming to Washington DC July 9-13th. The event is enormous and chock full of great keynotes and content, as well as opportunities for partners and Microsoft to connect in order to grow the business together.  The “My Inspire” tool is one great way to search and connect for one-on-one meetings.

With over 560 sessions and a packed agenda, Kati’s advice is to plan ahead, but leave room for “unstructured connection time”. You can build your schedule for the event with the My Inspire tool. There are some great venues to just hang out for chance meetings. A best place to hang out and grab a latte or a cocktail is the Commons and within it – the Community Hub – a center of activity with participation from IAMCP, and Women In Technology. There are also “Ted-like” talks planned there.

In preparation for the trip, you might also want to read this great article – “3 Tips to Grow Your Network at Microsoft Inspire.”  by Dean Amintrout

As with each of my podcast guests, I offer listeners the chance to learn from the personal and professional journey of my guest and Kati’s journey is worth a listen as she moved from the events business into technology.

  1. Advice for someone you are mentoring – Pursue those things that you love – if there is something that is compelling to you – you can overcome other challenges that come up.
  2. Hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them – switching from events – making that career shift was somewhat difficult – wasn’t the obvious path – but you have to persevere. –
  3. Lessons learned – never too late to make a switch – you can continue to grow your career – make yourself uncomfortable – be comfortable being uncomfortable.
  4. Advice for those you are mentoring – “pursue something that you love – if you really believe at your core and it aligns with your values and interests, you’ll do better.”
  5. Role Models – Gavriella Schuster – Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Partners – can speak at great depth about the Microsoft business broadly – collaborative and open. Her ongoing advice is to ask questions and for clarity.
  6. Quote she lives by – Do something everyday that makes you a little bit scared – Eleanor Roosevelt.
  7. Advice she’d give her 25 year old self – “Take more risk!” – this one has been shared by at least 3 guests thus far.
  8. Another great quote – “A Balanced Life Works”.
  9. Two books she recommended:Medici Effect – Frans Johansoon.
  10. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking- Susan Cain.
  11. Her daily obsession – Going to the gym every morning at 5AM – “there’s simply no excuse to NOT go to the gym at 5 AM !”
  12. And her personal billboard, what would it say on it – “Always assume best Intent”. I absolutely LOVE this one !

It’s a really informative interview and I hope you enjoy it!

Continue reading “Episode 14: How to “#MSInspire” partners – my interview with Kati Quigley, Microsoft Global Partner Marketing Sr. Director”

Episode 13: Anatomy of an award-winning “born in the cloud” channel partner. An interview with 10th Magnitude’s Jason Rook

A “Born in the Cloud Partner” is loosely defined as “a partner whose business model focuses on the cloud-based delivery of computing resources and software rather than legacy on-premises hardware and licensed software”. 

This week’s episode of Ultimate Guide to Partnering features an early “Born in the Cloud Partner”- 10th Magnitude and my guest for the interview Jason Rook offers the unique perspective of both a former Microsoft employee and now an award-winning partner.

Jason is a former Microsoft channel director who was tasked with recruiting partners to Microsoft Azure in it’s infancy. The relationship that developed with a new partner, 10th Magnitude and it’s founder Alex Brown ultimately led to Rook joining the organization as they demonstrated early commitment, expertise and success.

Jason currently serves as VP of Market Development and is responsible for developing and executing strategic relationships that deliver business-transforming solutions to 10th Magnitude customers and partners. He also leads the marketing function and is responsible for all Alliances and key industry relationships. Rook also serves on The Channel Company XChange Advisory board and is a regular speaker and contributor on the topic and trends in the Cloud and the Microsoft channel ecosystem.

In this interview we discuss 10th Magnitude’s journey, key relationships and how they go to market with customers. “The goal is to help customers take advantage of all the benefits of the cloud to reduce costs, get features to their customers quicker and transform – we are a transformation company”, stated Rook.

We discuss attributes that make 10th Magnitude successful to its customers and have led to a staggering 80+% annual growth. We also explore customer types and the extensive work they do with ISV’s looking to move to the cloud and compete in the SAAS – Software as a Service realm.

Over the course of the conversation we distill attributes that made 10th Magnitude an award-winning Microsoft partner and the 2017 Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure Partner of the Year. These are great tips for any successful partnerships, as distilled here:

  1. Willingness to adopt and get behind what Microsoft was doing.
  2. Align the business to Microsoft’s priorities
  3. Defined their niche as an “Azure – only” shop demonstrating focused that customers liked.
  4. Transparency – candid conversations with Microsoft about what you can do and cannot do.
  5. Integrity – speaking the same way to the customer without the partner present,
  6. Having each other’s best interests at heart – bending at times to get the deal done.
  7. Partners need to understand the complex of the Redmond giant and get their mind’s around what they “can change” vs. “what cannot change”.

As with each interview, I focus some of my questions on Jason’s professional journey including:

  • Favorite Quote – “Don’t get excited” – there are only so many hours in a day, be calm and don’t get excited by change
  • Favorite book – Seven Principles of Professional Services – by Shane Anastasi.
  • If you had a billboard what it depict – “it would highlight our culture with a series of pictures depicting why 10th Magnitude is an attractive place to work”.

If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes and subscribing or going to the website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“.  Please review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also follow and like on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for following and listening.

Vince Menzione

Episode 12: Great partnerships and great teams! NYT bestselling author Don Yaeger helps deconstruct them.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Ultimate Guide to Partnering is Don Yaeger, whose latest book with Chicago Cubs Catcher David “Granpa Ross” just landed at #10 on the New York Times Bestseller list. In this episode this 10-time NYT best-selling author and award winning speaker discusses the attributes of successful partnerships and teams !

As a former Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, Don built a reputation as one of America’s most provocative thought leaders. As a speaker, he is often sought to discuss lessons on achieving greatness, and learned from experiences with some of the greatest sports legends. And he’s been invited to every major talk show – from Oprah to Nightline, from CNN to Good Morning America. Learn more about Don here.

Don and I discuss the attributes of great teams and great partnerships gleaned from his book Great Teams.  Some key takeaways from the interview:

  1. A shared “purpose” at a deep level is important to the success of both great teams and great partnerships.
  2. Understanding “leadership style” and how to apply it to your partner and team’s situation is important. Its equally important to understand your partners leadership style and adapting to ensure the most successful collaboration and the long term success of the partnership.
  3. “Comraderie” and a sense of “collective direction” were key to the 2013 Boston Red Sox’s successful turnaround and drive to a World Series and how these attributes apply to teams and partnerships.
  4. Why “embracing change” is critical for partners looking to survive and thrive in this age of rapid digital transformation – the best teams are constantly out ahead.
  5. How David Ross changed his “mindset” to serve his team and ensure his destiny. More can be learned in Don’s latest New York Times Bestseller, TEAMMATE – by David Ross and Don Yaeger.

As with each of my episodes, I ask Don to share his advice for our listeners on personal and professional growth.

  • Best advice you were given when you started out – When Don graduated Ball State with a degree in journalism in 1984, his dad suggested he use each interview to learn a lesson that would also serve him. In over 2500 interviews, Don asked this one question, “If you could point to ONE HABIT that allowed you to do what others could not do, what would that habit be?” Don distilled this to his book “Greatness – The 16 Characteristics of True Champions” – by Don Yaeger. 
  • Favorite lesson – from his interviews and talks with legendary coach John Wooden, “constantly pay attention and manage your inner circle”. Don was a part of John Wooden’s mentorship program and met with him often, resulting in the book – A Gameplan for Life.
  • Favorite Quote – “Make each day your masterpiece” – from John Wooden.
  • Advice he’d give his 25 year old self – “Slow Down”. Which is great advice and something I’d recommend to all early in career listeners.
  • Favorite or most gifted book – “The Notebook”- by Nicholas Sparks“.
  • What Don would put on a billboard, “Greatness is a journey and not a destination”.

You access Don’s complete collection of books here, you can reach Don at and follow Don on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

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Thank you for listening

Vince Menzione