I  usually write my blogs from my office, or from the comfort of my home at night. But not this time. I’m writing this from my hotel in Parramatta, a small suburb on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia.

Yep – Australia, mate!

Sydney, Australia, including the famous Opera House

Our work at Adaris has been great these past two years; my team and I have had the opportunity to travel across Canada and the US to work with customers on ZENworks, OES, GroupWise and Vibe. I personally have had a lot of fun working with Vibe customers all over North America, and so I was quite excited when a few weeks ago I received an email from a partner down here who had been to one of my Vibe presentations at Brainshare. One of his customers had deployed Vibe a little over a year ago, but needed some help getting some more stuff done. After a couple of discussions, the customer agreed to bring me on-site.

From left to right: Connie, Jacques, Claudio & Lou

I’ve already been here a week, now, working with Claudio Antonioli, owner of SystemCraft. They are a fantastic bunch of people, absolutely dedicated to Novell and committed to their customers. They remind me very much of Adaris in their passion for their work. Connie, who is Claudio’s partner, runs the office while he and his brother Lou are out working with their clients. She is amazing! Not only does she answer all customer inquiries, but also handles the team, the bookings, the administration and the accounting. Whew!

We spent the first week visiting customers, and then Connie organized two client briefings at their office. A total of sixteen customers came out for these briefings! Great turnout! We briefed them on everything that has been happening at Novell since the Attachmate acquisition, then demonstrated and talked about Vibe. Benjamin Old and Dave Wymer from Novell were there to represent Novell for these meetings, so a big thank-you to both of them for being there.

There was visible interest, lots of discussion and questions, and in the end, it looks like SystemCraft will be very busy with some Vibe projects! No less than 4-5 opportunities came out of these meetings.

The past year has been an exciting time to be a Novell partner, especially in North America, where so much has been done to rebuild and reconnect with customers. Dozens of sales reps have been hired, as well as systems engineers – more than I have ever seen in my 20 years of working with Novell. That wave, however, does not seem to have hit Australia – by all accounts, there are not yet enough Novell people here spreading the good word. So, to all my friends & contacts at Novell, I hope that some serious moves will happen soon to get some folks hired down here! You’ve got a wonderful partner here who is eager to help, so hopefully you will leverage them.

Sydney is huge! I guess there’s a misconception in us North Americans that Australia is this little island of kangaroos in the middle of the Pacific, so I was surprised to see what a big, vibrant city Sydney was. Can you say “underestimated”?

I’ve been having a blast down here – Australians certainly are a friendly bunch. During the customer briefings, I was introduced as a partner from Canada; I told them that this explained why I was the only one in the room who didn’t have an accent! Laughter all around.

And then there’s the coffee…

My wife and I make a moka-espresso in the morning, which produces a strong, flavorful coffee. When I travel on business, it’s one of the things I miss the most – a good coffee (well, I miss my wife, too, of course, but you know what I mean!). Seems like hotels in Canada and the US just don’t get it – this slightly dark water they serve and call coffee…meh, sorry! It’s not.

Australians, on the other hand, know and love their coffee! Espresso machines everywhere, lattes that are out of this world! Canadian and American hotels would do well to take note!

On a philosophical note…

I’ve had a lot of comments lately about how “lucky” I am, that my company is doing well, that we all get to travel and do work we love, etc.

I must say that I respectfully disagree. This does not come about through “luck”, but rather by making right decisions, taking chances and risks, and – most importantly – surrounding oneself with extraordinary people. My team is amazing, each and every one of them – it’s why we get things done, why our customers stick with us, and why Novell has entrusted us with a lot of business.

I am not lucky.

I am grateful.

There’s a big difference. And you know what’s funny? The more I express that gratefulness, the more “luck” I seem to get. One of my favorite folks to follow on Facebook is Norm O’Neal of One Community – I.T. in Action down in Indianapolis. Norm often expresses gratitude as well, and I’d bet he’s also a very “lucky” guy!

Stay well, everyone!
(or I guess I should be saying “G’day, mate!”)


Enjoying a nice ferry ride in Sydney Harbour!

More pics on our Facebook page!

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