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Start Telling Your Origin Story

The letters glow brightly against the maroon façade of Gold’s Gym in the early hours of the morning. That’s where most days are started, lifting heavy weights with 30 seconds of rest between sets –  followed by 3 miles of high resistance cardio. The routine may be a hold over from growing up feeding the animals on the farm at dawn.

Besides receiving a bronze medal in World War II, my father was also known for being the first quadruple bypass heart patient in Oklahoma. Despite the surgery, he later died of a heart attack far too young when I was 16. That’s likely also the reason for such drive.

Computers didn’t fascinate me as much as the things you could do with them. Being Valedictorian in high school earned a scholarship to Tulsa University, which was the only opportunity for higher education. As a sophomore, I was ready to work and landed a paid internship. That experience leveraged a dream job as a consultant by graduation.

At the end of 1993, the whole world changed. My young wife, had a massive stroke that left her totally paralyzed on the right side of her body and unable to speak. Until then, I had traveled throughout North America helping Fortune 500 firms do dramatically more in less time using bar code technology.

Since extensive travel was no longer possible, I switched the firm’s business focus to helping local midsized organizations streamline technology. The marketplace was riddled with one-man shows, staffing firms, and hardware shops.

Keep the know-how to yourself, bill as many hours as possible, and resell anyone’s hardware or software for the margins. That was the mantra.

Customers often had to wait, the knowledge of the person providing support was suspect, exorbitant costs were just the way it was, and rude behavior was expected. Unfortunately, the landscape is very similar today.

I decided to do four things:

  1. Specialize in Microsoft productivity and security solutions – exclusively for midsized professional services, financial, industry and public sector organizations.
  2. Assume the risk for customers by offering flat cost and demonstrating business justification. No one would be compensated for billable hours or selling products.
  3. Communicate deliverables upfront and ongoing, so customers understand and control information technology.
  4. Train staff on how to talk with customers, using specific rules of engagement with simple language.

That’s our philosophy on customer service: share specialized expertise, no surprises on cost or deliverables, and treat people with courtesy and respect.

After 9 months, my wife learned to walk and talk again. Back then, who knew that I had stumbled upon a formula that customers desperately needed? Today, Matrixforce has saved clients collectively over $100 million annually on technology services and products and we are a top 100 Microsoft Cloud Provider in the world.

Now Tell Your Origin Story

A bio is fairly boilerplate and mostly indistinguishable from any other. No one’s resume could be considered entertaining either. Yet, customers sincerely want to know how you are any different from the competition and if their beliefs match with yours.

Tell your motivations and where they developed. Provide some imagery and personality. Explain a turning point or triumph of inspiration. Avoid boring and bluster.

Have you done anything noteworthy or mentionable?

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