Episode 330: Ben Greiner on Evangelising With MSPs

The MSP world is constantly evolving to keep pace with the changing world of technology. Ben Greiner joins us in this episode to take a look at how MSPs distil the learnings of generations of MacAdmins into service products and what larger environments can learn from them in return!



  • Ben Greiner, Apple Champion & Growth Advisor, Addigy – LinkedIn


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Please note that this transcript was generated automatically

Speaker 1 (00:00:01):
I see what you’re saying. And I believe in the M S P model over the break fix, and I think it benefits both the

Speaker 2 (00:00:07):
Buyer. Well, those aren’t the only two models, so let’s not, because I will throw down and fight. If you wanted to tell me that I was only a break fix consultant and I’ve had other MSPs tell me that I was only a break fix consultant and it’s derogatory and it’s inflammatory and it’s offensive. So you will hear me get spicy. I think I just did. That’s where we go. I

Speaker 3 (00:00:29):
Just heard you get spicy.

Speaker 2 (00:00:30):
I like it.

Speaker 2 (00:01:52):
Hello and welcome to the Mac Admins podcast. I’m your host, Tom Bridge. And Marcus, how are you? How is winter?

Speaker 3 (00:01:58):
Winter? It’s sunny outside, which is

Speaker 2 (00:02:02):
Lovely. Oh,

Speaker 3 (00:02:02):
Right. So it’s still technically winter, but logistically it’s spring

Speaker 2 (00:02:09):
Maybe starting to feel a little bit more reasonable,

Speaker 3 (00:02:14):
Which is nice.

Speaker 2 (00:02:14):
This is like the February analog, right? Yeah. I mean this is the equivalent attitude and of course if you live in a good climate, end of February is a pretty good spot to be in. I always look forward to that March one day kind of where everything starts to feel right again.

Speaker 3 (00:02:30):
But the problem is I look out the door at the swimming pool in the backyard and Charles was showing this wonderful war hammer miniature before that had this lovely blue mohawk and this green moss that it was standing on. And the swimming pool looks a little like that at the moment. So I think have some work ahead of me there. So you

Speaker 5 (00:02:51):
Have the blue mohawk or the swimming pool has the blue mohawk.

Speaker 3 (00:02:55):
I think it’s a blue mohawk. Maybe there’s an otter with a blue mohawk swimming around in the sludge. But that’s a question to answer later.

Speaker 2 (00:03:07):
Yeah, no, I think that’s a good one and to answer later that is and not just a good question, Charles, how are you?

Speaker 5 (00:03:14):
Fantastic. It’s beautiful weekend here in Minneapolis and for me, the weekend always ends with this recording that’s become for the past four or five years, my end of weekend preparing for the next day as soon as we are done because everyone else in the house is asleep. I go into email mode and check Slack and do those things that I kind of postpone for the weekend. So regrettably or luckily, I don’t know which the weekend is now over and I’m hanging out with you guys.

Speaker 2 (00:03:56):
So I mean, honestly, it’s a pretty good way to start your work week. Right? I was going to say, this is honestly, I agree with you. This is where my week starts, and so I was going to say it’s the last round of quiet moment. I put the baseball game on when I was making dinner this evening and watch some baseball had my relaxing moment and now I’m checking into a little bit of fun work, but work nonetheless. But it’s not just the three of us this week. I do want to welcome back Ben Griner and say Ben Griner, it’s so great to see you. How are things in your world?

Speaker 1 (00:04:30):
Well, thank you Tom. Thank you. And before we get started, I need to say that I thought my agent booked me on Smartless. So if I accidentally call any of you by the names Jason, Sean or Will, my apologies.

Speaker 2 (00:04:47):

Speaker 1 (00:04:48):
I realized they stole,

Speaker 2 (00:04:49):
Stole. I would take that as a high compliment.

Speaker 1 (00:04:51):
Yeah, I think they stole the idea from you guys really because it was 2017 when I was last on here, episode 48.

Speaker 2 (00:05:00):

  1. Speaker 1 (00:05:00):
    Yeah. And they didn’t start until much later.

Speaker 2 (00:05:03):
Well, so a lot’s been happening since we saw you on episode 48 and you’ve changed jobs more than once, including a recent change. So tell us what you’ve been up to. Give us the lay of the land.

Speaker 1 (00:05:16):
Yeah, I guess I have changed jobs, but I wouldn’t say more than once. At least it doesn’t feel like I did it more than once, but I understand why you’re saying that. So for those of you who don’t know my background, go to episode 48. Listen to that episode. Get

Speaker 2 (00:05:32):
Caught up. Well, the length of the show notes. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (00:05:33):
Yep. Get caught up and then come back here. Because we talked in 2017 and it was soon after that, maybe less than a year later, that I took my managed service company, forget computers and made a really hard decision to move the backend infrastructure from one M D M provider to another. And that is something we could talk about if we want to, but we don’t have to. After that, I was approached by someone I met at the Golden Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. If anyone here has heard of that, maybe Marcus wouldn’t. I don’t think they have it overseas, but it’s a great program for small businesses and small business owners and it’s all about growing your business. And I went through that program. I think I was going through the program either right before or right during last time you had me on the show and I met tons of people.

Speaker 1 (00:06:38):
There were lots of technology companies in that program and one of them approached me in, I think it was 2019, and said, I’ve been acquired by a large M S P. This large M S P sees the future in the Apple ecosystem. They know they need to get better. They’re going to either build their own Apple team or they’re going to acquire one. And I thought of you and I wasn’t looking to get acquired, but of course when someone says that, you entertain the conversation and it turned out to be a really great fit and there was a delay because of the pandemic. But in 2020, my team at Forget computers and keep in mind, forget computers was always more than just me. There’s tons of great people forget computers. And that team became, the Apple team had a place called antia, which was a much larger, traditionally windows focused managed service provider. I think there are maybe close to 500 people now, and the largest we ever were at forget computers was maybe 15, 15 people. So quite a difference. That’s

Speaker 2 (00:07:50):
A pretty big difference. Yeah, that’s a huge cultural differential I would bet as

Speaker 1 (00:07:54):
Well for sure. And navigating that and communicating the changes that we wanted to make, moving from windows, windows, windows to windows and Apple was challenging and fun and exciting. And after two years of helping that integration happen, I left inva. So that was the very end of 2022. After spending two years there, took some time off and got a call one day from Jason Debar who’s been on the show here, founder and c e O of Agy. And he had some interesting concepts around what he wanted to do at Agy. He introduced me to some great people that he either had recently hired or was about to hire. And in fact, one person in particular pre, I don’t know if Prethem has been on your show, but he started the same time I did at Agy and he was part of the team that worked on Apple Business manager at Apple. And I was really excited about meeting people and working with people like Pritham and seeing what we could do with the Apple platform. So now I am working at agy, and by the way, I’m working also with Selena. I know she was on your show earlier this year

Speaker 5 (00:09:21):
And she’s just

Speaker 3 (00:09:22):
Been over here in Australia for the World Cup.

Speaker 1 (00:09:25):
Oh yes, exactly.

Speaker 3 (00:09:26):
Telling me all sorts of stories about matches. She got to see.

Speaker 1 (00:09:30):
Yeah, I was chatting, I had a meeting with her and I said, I’m afraid to ask because I think you’re still in Australia. What time is it? I think it was 2:00 AM for

Speaker 5 (00:09:39):

Speaker 1 (00:09:42):
That you don’t record the podcast at 2:00 AM just

Speaker 3 (00:09:45):

Speaker 5 (00:09:47):
I mean, we have,

Speaker 3 (00:09:49):
It’s always 2:00 AM somewhere.

Speaker 5 (00:09:52):
Yep. Yeah. Especially when we have people in Eastern Europe or Western, Eastern Europe, Singapore, there’ve been guests in places that meant one of us probably wasn’t going to show up if not two of us and these things happen. So what is it that you do here at agy?

Speaker 1 (00:10:20):
That’s a great question. I would say I could tell you what I’m doing now and whether or not that will continue, I’m not sure meaning it could change. Let me get my official title just so I don’t say it incorrectly. Apple Champion and Growth Advisor is my title, and there are two aspects to that. The first, the Apple Champion, obviously I’m a Apple champion promoting the Apple platform and I’m also helping the Apple champions within our client base. So I’m talking to existing clients, many of them MSPs, although there are internal IT teams as well that use the agy platform and helping them grow with Apple. But I’m also having conversations with the business owners and the leaders who want to grow and grow with Apple. So it’s kind of twofold. I look at the AGY champions as being more technical. They’re the ones that probably live in the Mac admin Slack channel and you see a lot of them and know a lot of ’em.

Speaker 1 (00:11:32):
And then there are the business leaders and business owners that really, I think it’s sometimes difficult for us as time Apple, apple fans to understand that there’s a whole nother world outside of Apple where they don’t really know all details. And I find that surprising. I don’t know why I consider, we all know Apple is the largest company in the world, right? By market capitalization. Most valuable. Yeah, most valuable. Thank you. That’s a better way of saying it. The most valuable company in the world, but there’s still so much that people don’t know about Apple, and I think that’s partly Apple’s fault, but we can talk more about that for sure.

Speaker 3 (00:12:22):
So how did your time atva working in an organization dealing with Windows environments as well as Apple environments, did that change the way you approached championing Apple in organizations going from being in a predominantly Apple organization to now having that context of how Apple fits within organizations, but how other platforms are dealt within an M S P environment?

Speaker 1 (00:12:48):
Well, Marcus, that’s a good question. Did my view or how I perceived maybe the Windows world of change or how did I approach it? I did learn a lot about the Windows focused environments. I had previously had many conversations with internal IT teams who were Windows focused, other MSPs who were Windows focused, and I felt like I was getting better at talking to them, but there was always a sort of communication gap or language barrier, which sounds silly and ridiculous, but it definitely is out there. And maybe some of you, Charles has experience writing code and experimenting beyond the Apple platform, but I don’t have that. I have some good friends who I can talk to who are very cross-platform aware and give me honest and good feedback, but I felt like every time I had a conversation prior, it would break down to the point where we would never progress. So one of the exciting parts about working Atva was I knew that this had to work. We were embedded, we were the same company and we were going to figure out a way to make this work. But I was a little surprised at some of the outdated views of Apple that linger on still today. And you mean

Speaker 5 (00:14:19):
Views by predominantly Windows MSPs about Apple?

Speaker 1 (00:14:26):

Speaker 5 (00:14:27):
Not views within Apple. Got it. Exactly. Just making sure I understand.

Speaker 1 (00:14:30):
No, thanks for clarifying. I will sometimes talk in circles or say the wrong thing. So

Speaker 5 (00:14:36):
Say we have,

Speaker 1 (00:14:37):
I think the biggest thing that I didn’t appreciate before working at antia is how powerful the channel is. And I don’t know if you all are familiar with the channel or know what that means. Oh yeah. It sounds like Charles does. Maybe some of you are nodding.

Speaker 2 (00:14:56):
I feel like we could use an explanation. I feel like this is one of those terms that I see bandaid about every now and again. And for folks who work largely in internal IT departments, they don’t always know what the channel is. Or you might have a channel partner, but you’re not as familiar with or with the intimate operations of how the channel economy works.

Speaker 1 (00:15:15):
In fact, Tom, you’re at JumpCloud, so I know you’re probably familiar with the channel and in fact, I was just looking at a magazine that talks about the channel and they listed some up and coming up and coming newcomers and JumpCloud was on that list, which I found interesting. Oh yeah. So kudos to JumpCloud for making it on the list, but also how long has JumpCloud been around now?

Speaker 2 (00:15:41):
Oh yeah, more than coming up on, gosh, it’s 2023. So I think that we’ve been around 13 years, 2010 give or take. Well mean we’ve been around a while. I’d need to go back and look, but I certainly work with people who’ve been at JumpCloud coming up on 10 years. We certainly think about it from that perspective. What’s up and coming? I mean, I know that we’ve changed a lot of our M S P focus over the last three years. And so we may be newer to the M S P market. We were traditionally an active directory replacement. You’d bring us in as an ad replacement to handle things like Radius and to handle things like LDAP and other things like that. But as an evolving product, we really weren’t set up for MSPs at all until we introduced our multi-tenant portal. And that was in the 2020 timeframe, 2019. So I think that when we think about it that way, we’re a much younger business. We’ve spent a lot of time in Antoine who runs our M S P practice has spent a huge amount of time rejiggering how we sell to MSPs to make us more economical for that side of the practice. Even though we’re intended for use by businesses, we’re also intended for use by their MSPs, and so that you can have a shared relationship that way.

Speaker 1 (00:17:05):
Yeah. Well, I just found it interesting that I’ve known JumpCloud, maybe, I don’t know if I’ve known them for 10 years, but just to see it listed as an upcoming up and coming business. Sounded like maybe you’re breaking into the channel. So what is the channel? The channel is, in my view, and honestly I am still relatively new to the channel, but it’s the ecosystem that is built, I think entirely around Microsoft. If you sell Microsoft licensing, you sell Microsoft hardware, anything related to Microsoft in the managed service provider world, which I think are predominantly Windows focused, then you sell into the channel. And the channel could be discounts margins, could be rebates, could be sales incentives, could be special privileges for MSPs for pricing or advanced pricing or returns or exchanges. They really cater and custom to the channel. And I think we can all imagine how Apple handles the channel. I mean, Apple’s idea of the channel is we are going to build it ourself and we’re going to control every aspect of it. And the challenge is the channel doesn’t understand how to deal with that.

Speaker 3 (00:18:37):
Does that make sense? I think in the Apple space as well, I know at least here in Australia there’s a fairly strong channel when it comes to Apple. Some of those organizations also deal with Windows, but it’s generally not the other way that there are large channel partners and integrators who are primarily Windows and either don’t participate in the Apple side of the channel or don’t participate well in the Apple side of the channel. But it’s really interesting to see as someone who worked for a channel partner for many years in the Apple space, it’s a real untapped market of, I suppose the way I’ve looked at the channel is it’s organizations that are in between the end customer and the actual vendor, whether it be Microsoft, apple, AGY, JumpCloud, Jamf, workspace One, any of these sorts of things. And it’s sort of interesting as when I was an admin and was dealing in internal IT directly with these vendors, varying different degrees of engagement with the channels. Sometimes it was just literally purchase orders were going through them and it was more of a financial arrangement. But seeing more and more companies wanting to do value add and service providing, as you were saying, bundling discounts, incentives to actually grow the channel and what they’re providing,

Speaker 5 (00:20:21):
That might be a good moment to clarify a few terms like var value added reseller. So you sell stuff, but then you also typically have services with the Apple Channel. Those services are typically where you make more a margin than selling the hardware, which you might sell at X percent, where X is a one digit number of you feel lucky of the money that Yeah. And then the channel for most networking products might be 25 points. So you might be selling and pocketing as profit 25% of what you sold and potentially getting the same service revenue and then selling

Speaker 2 (00:21:11):
Lot of

Speaker 5 (00:21:11):
Microsoft products. Yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 2 (00:21:13):
It also depends on a lot of the manufacturers. I certainly know that when once upon a time I was a Ruckus reseller, we were oftentimes offered 40 to 50 points beneath the OR M S R P. And essentially it was up to us to figure out, alright, you can’t advertise below the M S R P price, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell at underneath the M S R P price. And so you could eat into your margin and sell at a discount and try and undercut another reseller. And so there was a fair amount of that that happened all the time. And I would say that if you’re buying equipment out there, network equipment and you’re buying at M S R, please don’t. You don’t need to do that. There’s discounts all over the place. And I certainly know that San Jose based very large company with five letters in their name, who you’ve probably heard of, has M S P margins well above 50 points. And so you can probably come up with a good way to pay, well less than the list price and still feel like the other side’s getting a good deal out of the whole thing.

Speaker 5 (00:22:22):
And some of those things you get such as a reseller. So VAR is by nature a subset of reseller, not all resellers do services. So there’s that and LAR large area reseller, so the CDWs and then distributors. With the distributors you’re talking about in the US at least predominantly Ingram Micro, maybe Tech Data, there are a few others. But there, just to unpack some of those terms because I don’t know if everyone’s hurt them, whatever.

Speaker 2 (00:23:00):
Yeah. Well, and it’s always good to take a pass through and see what’s changed. I certainly know that when I started Tech Evolutionary, God almost 17 years ago now, which makes me feel so very old, a lot of those things have changed over, we’ve seen the rise of software as a service, which now has its own separate relationship with VARs and with channel partners and things along

Speaker 5 (00:23:26):
Those lines. And with a lot of them, a much better one, like selling exchange licenses versus selling Google licenses. You don’t get the big upfront, but you get a long-term permanent revenue stream unless someone else goes and checks that box in a person’s Google or Office 365 tenant. But yeah, I mean that’s one way. And MSPs I would say are for some companies part of the channel and for other companies not part of the channel because it’s like, are you renting or reselling or what is this relationship? So I do feel like this is an interesting place where when you and I and actually Tom at Techno Missionary started, we were primarily bespoke consulting. People would call us and Hey, I have a problem getting onto a O l or whatever era that you are. And we, over time, I think all transitioned into somewhat of an M S P based model where people are paying us a flat fee per month to support machines rather than a retainer or an hourly plus retainer or some of the whatever mixture of billing models that you get into. So do you mind telling us what that transition into that M S P practice before you started Attivo was like?

Speaker 1 (00:24:58):
Yeah, and I do want to clarify just one thing about the channel. I mean, I’m making generalizations and high level summaries about the channel. I know the channel can be different in other countries, but I think markets says something that I believe strongly in, which is this is an untapped market. There are a ton of MSPs who only think about Windows day in and day out, and surprisingly, they are still ignoring the Apple platform or they’re using tools that are good enough in their mind to meet some mysterious expectations. That is a ridiculous solution. So if they are aware or could be made aware of how they could make money, which is another point Charles made when he talked about the channel, they make money off the channel. Now also, to be clear, inva has seen the foresight in investing in the Apple platform and doing it the right way. But I do have a lot of conversations with MSPs or have had conversations with MSPs who still don’t quite understand how they can make money with the Apple platform. And that’s the challenge that I would love all of us here and all the listeners to kind of brainstorm about how we can try to elevate Apple beyond the bubble that we all live in and try to reach those people that

Speaker 3 (00:26:31):
I think the point you made just then is a really important one where choosing tools that they think are good enough and thinking that the experience they have both from a management perspective and also an end user perspective is as good as it gets. And in their mind, go, Apple’s not fit for the enterprise. Apple’s not able to do this. You can’t integrate this, you can’t manage that. The users are just going to have trouble. We better just stick them on the same Windows box that everybody else is using. And getting them to understand that the choosing tools who actually choose to work with Apple and understand Apple and go to where Apple is going gives you a very different experience, both from actually being able to deliver the outcomes you need as a company, but also for users to get the reason they wanted a Mac in the first place was because it works like a Mac,

Speaker 1 (00:27:27):
Right? Right. I mean, I’m sure we all remember, was it 2015 when I B M came to the J O C and talked about how their single pane of glass was a single pane of glass for windows and a single pane of glass for Apple? And I thought, well, here is I B M telling the story that I’ve been trying to tell, but I’m just me. No one’s going to listen to me. But people will listen to I B M. And I’m really surprised that, I mean, yes, there are companies, smart companies who have listened to I B M, no doubt, but there are still a large group of mid-market companies here, at least in the United States, who either don’t know that story or I feel like when I tell them that story, they think, yeah, but I’m not I B M, so how could I ever achieve that even though they have access to the same tools that I B M used to achieve that, that’s my challenge. How do you really help somebody understand that

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Speaker 3 (00:29:39):
Tom, I think you come at it from a slightly different perspective as well. Being an organization that does offer a pane of glass looking in different directions, yet has chosen to invest in understanding the Apple ecosystem, whereas what I saw with a lot of the more traditional R M M tools, which most MSPs would use and would have a tick box for trying to manage Windows, trying to manage Mac OSS in varying degrees of success or comedy depending on how you looked at it. So how do you find getting people to understand the difference between using the tools they know and are comfortable with compared to something that’s actually fit for purpose?

Speaker 1 (00:30:26):
And before Tom answers that question, sorry, Tom, I’m going to use my guest status here to chime in.

Speaker 2 (00:30:33):

Speaker 1 (00:30:37):
Again, inva made the decision that we’re going to do this, basically the I B M way, which is why the acquisition of Forget computers went through, but Oh, now I forgot my point, my point I was trying to make. What was it you said? You just said Marcus, you said something,

Speaker 3 (00:30:59):
The R M M and

Speaker 1 (00:31:01):
Oh, the R M M. Yes. But there are so many MSPs that do have that outdated. It’s basically Windows software that, as you said, has the MAC checkbox and it doesn’t work any longer because of P P P C. Big reason, and because they don’t understand the Apple platform, they don’t even know why it doesn’t work,

Speaker 3 (00:31:25):
Or they don’t even know that it doesn’t work as well.

Speaker 1 (00:31:27):
Yeah, or that too. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (00:31:29):
I mean, I think that there’s just such a fundamental difference between how R M M tools work and how Apple Management tools work in a lot of ways. And what, go ahead, Charles.

Speaker 5 (00:31:41):
I mean, one is, I don’t think I realized this until our excellent occasional co-host Emily sparked it in my head, which is it feels like, and I’ve used a whole bunch of those traditional R M M tools at the M S P level, and it feels like they’re about cutting costs very specifically. It’s about how much labor can I save by automating X, Y, and Z tasks. Whereas on the Apple platform, as Emily could probably state far better if she happened to be here today, it’s about providing a better experience. And I’ve always felt like, I don’t think that I truly understood that until Emily subliminally almost pounded it into my head, but it does feel like that’s a key difference. And things like P P P C or just actually being able to manage things that you couldn’t manage otherwise are a symptom of that.

Speaker 5 (00:32:54):
But the big underlying thing is really we’re trying to make things better while cutting down on human labor costs because it just so happens that the users don’t want us visiting their computer and taking it out of their hands anyways. They have a day job and they’re super busy. And so if we can make the experience better and we happen to cut costs, which I think was a big piece of the I B M thing, then all the better. But I do feel like at the C T O level, they don’t often think of that unless they’re calling it some buzzword. I think the one from this year is digital transformation or something like that. But really it’s still just making people happy rather than making them into lemmings maybe.

Speaker 1 (00:33:48):
I agree. And I remember, or sorry, I don’t recall exactly what Emily said, but what I often say is, and this could be what she was saying, is traditionally the Windows world, IT world thinks only of the device. That’s all they’re concerned with. But the Apple world, as far as I can remember, has always talked about the person using the device. And those are the, and to your point, Charles, I don’t think that really, I understood it, but it didn’t really click for me until I witnessed it full on and from a company that wants to change, but you don’t just change a 500 person company overnight just by saying those words. It has to be repeated and educated and informed, and they have to understand how they actually can make money off the platform. So, sorry Tom, I think we’ve interrupted you three times now.

Speaker 2 (00:34:45):
It’s okay. I think that there is, and this gets me actually into my next question, which is it has more to do with if we treat the commoditization of the device as the MSP’s goal in a more PC focused world, like a more traditional MSP model where essentially we’re just trying to say anything, look, I care about the computer, I don’t care about the user using it as much. And that has been, in some cases, some of the underlying architecture of the M S P model overall, the change from a more bespoke consulting environment where you have a relationship with a person or a relationship with a group of people, and you base your interactions based on all of those things. And maybe you don’t get quite such a bespoke product, but maybe you do. And I don’t necessarily think that the March to M S P that we saw from a lot of Apple consultants network folks, a lot of practitioners out there in the realm has been an unmitigated positive for the ecosystem as a whole. So I was kind of wondering how you think about the transition into the M S P model for a C N members.

Speaker 1 (00:36:01):
Well, first you’ll have to explain to me exactly what you mean by unmitigated positive.

Speaker 2 (00:36:07):
Well, I mean, it certainly was very good for our bottom line when we told a lot of our customers, Hey, we’re M S P only now, or we’re M S P primary. It was certainly easy for us to say, Hey, look, this is how it’s going to work out. Some months you’re going to save money some months you’re not. And it was certainly a lot easier for me to make budgets. It was certainly a lot easier for me to deal with those things. But customers with highly intelligent user bases who weren’t in deep need of day-to-day support, certainly weren’t as well served by the M S P market, right? That no longer makes it an unmitigated good for

Speaker 1 (00:36:45):
The customer at that point. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. And I believe in the M S P model over the break fix, and I think it benefits both

Speaker 2 (00:36:53):
The buyer. Well, those aren’t the only two models. So let’s not, because I will throw down and fight if you wanted to tell me that I was only a break fix consultant. You’re right. I’ve other MSPs tell me that. Well, I was only a break fix consultant and it’s derogatory and it’s inflammatory and it’s offensive. So you’ll hear me get spicy. I think I

Speaker 1 (00:37:14):
Just did. That’s

Speaker 2 (00:37:15):
Where we go. Just heard you get spicy. I like it. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (00:37:21):
Okay. My apologies for the derogatory language.

Speaker 2 (00:37:23):
All good friend. All good.

Speaker 1 (00:37:26):
Again, I’m oversimplifying generalizing, and I think you guys should have, has anyone flipped the table and walked out on this podcast yet?

Speaker 2 (00:37:34):
Because maybe not to my

Speaker 1 (00:37:36):

Speaker 2 (00:37:36):
Yeah. Oh no, let’s not go there.

Speaker 1 (00:37:41):
Well, here’s what I think I’m witnessing, and it’s always easy to say this after the fact, but what we have been doing in the Apple world of caring about the people using the devices that is happening in the Windows world, it’s just a few years behind us, maybe several years behind us. I’d agree with that for sure. And I mean, everyone wants to be the best and be competitive. And yes, you can do that with profit by cutting costs, as Charles said, or you can do that with excellent service. And I think they realized this. In fact, I was at a conference, a Windows Focus conference, which I’d never been to. And let’s be fair, if I’m trying to reach outside the Apple bubble, this is not the best forum for me to do this. So this is a warmup show I think for me. Hey,

Speaker 2 (00:38:36):
That’s great. Everybody gets practice, right? It’s a

Speaker 3 (00:38:39):
Safe room.

Speaker 1 (00:38:41):
Yeah, safe room. Thank you. And I think we’re all of mind, so we can come up with some good ideas and maybe the listeners will as well. But I was at a conference windows focused and they had a talk about customer service. And it was kind of interesting to me. It was almost as if we’ve been talking about this for 10, 20 years. But in that particular presentation, it was like this was brand new. Hey guys, look with great customer service, you can do this, this, and this. And it was almost like the audience was, they were talking to Nick Burns. Does anyone remember, oh

Speaker 2 (00:39:18):
God, I hate Nick Burns so much. It’s so true and so

Speaker 1 (00:39:23):
Frustrating. So I can only say that. What sort

Speaker 3 (00:39:24):
Things was it? Was it along the lines of if you don’t lock people’s desktop background, maybe they won’t complain so much about the other things you’re doing to their machines. Was it at that level of customer service?

Speaker 1 (00:39:38):
Well, I can’t remember that level of detail, but I do remember I spoke to the presenter afterward and he had written a book about how to provide excellent service on your help desk. And I was having a conversation with him, and we got along really well. And he said to me, he said, A lot of people here don’t think the way you do. That’s why I wrote this book. I think that said it all right. This was because they had thought so long about the device, thinking about the user is a new concept. And you’re right, I can’t go out and say that other than in a safe space like this, but I think you guys know what I’m talking about.

Speaker 5 (00:40:21):
Oh yeah. And it turns out your renewal rates at N M S P or higher when people actually like you, because if you’re just appealing to the C F O, who is understandably because it’s in the job description trying to reduce cost, then ultimately you’re going to make enemies when you say, well, that’s not covered under our SS L A or Yeah, we only patch Chrome four times a year because that’s our SS L a. And you’re like, but there’s a new version of Chrome. How often? Four times a day. So many of those things, that kind of traditional M S P model is really about fixing the cost in a way that is predictably profitable.

Speaker 1 (00:41:21):
And to be totally fair, it’s not that they, I’m saying the Windows IT world intentionally is trying to be like Nick Burns and Marcus, Nick Burns, right from SS N L, we’ll have to get,

Speaker 3 (00:41:35):
No, not familiar with him at all.

Speaker 2 (00:41:38):
It’s Jimmy Fallon’s character where he’s telling people to move and he’ll fix it, and he’s making fun of the user while he is doing it.

Speaker 5 (00:41:46):
And really everything Jimmy Fallon does is funny in general.

Speaker 2 (00:41:52):
How about that local sports franchise,

Speaker 3 (00:41:54):

Speaker 1 (00:41:56):
Yeah. So I think this is a long history of just people using Windows PCs almost expecting the behavior, the Nick Burns behavior and it kind of self-fulfilling. And so they are trying to provide good service and they’re doing the best they can, but they don’t really comprehend the level of good service that we offer on the Apple platform. I think it’s a whole nother level. And I think for a lot of us here, maybe because we also grew up, at least I did, I think some of you did in the creative world, where the workflows are much more complex, much more complex than web browsing and email and spreadsheets.

Speaker 5 (00:42:36):
Those are the salaries.

Speaker 3 (00:42:38):
Yeah, no, exactly. You’re paying these people a lot of money to do what they’re good at doing. And then that’s literally what got me into this was every time the Windows M s P company would come into the design studio I was working at, it’s like, I reckon in five minutes I’m not going to be able to print. There it goes again. And they would literally walk out without caring about the fact that they’d broken the creative department not in the scope. I don’t care about that. That’s out of scope.

Speaker 1 (00:43:18):
We had so many internal IT teams break the workflow and for the Mac users, and every single time the blame was put on us, and it was our job to prove to them that it was a network change that they made on the Windows side. And of course the answer was always, well, but everything’s working on the Windows side. How could that be? But ultimately they would always find, do I have to pay Pam if I say it’s always d n s? They would always find that it’s d n s.

Speaker 2 (00:43:48):
Please do. I’m just saying.

Speaker 3 (00:43:51):
Or the other one was, it’s a Mac issue, was the one that I’d always hear if that was somehow a get out of jail free card, well, oh, that’s a Mac issue. I’m going to pick up my bag and walk out the door and Apple will fix it. Which we all know that’s not how Apple works.

Speaker 5 (00:44:10):
Well, I think Ben has a really interesting point here where I feel like since our guests are some often some of the best in the business, we seem to have put ourselves in a bubble. And this is part of what I was interested in exploring in this episode in the first place where we see people who care about a curated, wonderful user experience where users don’t get prompted a lot, users are secure, they’re not able to accidentally send people a hundred thousand credit card numbers or social security numbers. And yet there’s still this, and I think Ben, you nailed it when you said mid-market, because there are huge MSPs including I B M, Wipro, et cetera, who really cater to being able to give this type of curated experience to the Mac platform. And some of even I’ve seen carried that into their Windows practices.

Speaker 5 (00:45:15):
But as we go down market, not to be offensive to anyone, but literally the tenant sizes are smaller, we see less of that and more of some of the same old ways. And that might be a single pane of glass, but it does feel like sometimes there’s still two cohorts of MSPs. There are these Apple focused MSPs, many of which maybe were ACN and have grown up into maybe being able to work with larger enterprise companies, but a lot maybe started in this hourly consulting model where more billable hours, I think Marcus posted on Slack earlier. And then there are the Windows focused ones that are about guarding, which literally was the term in one of those certification classes I took once on how to build an M S P guarding the scope and just a different ethos ecosystem. And with books like what you mentioned, it sounds like more coming over, but what are the different types of lessons that you feel like you’ve seen in your experience on the Apple side that you can take to that more window centric cohort? And I don’t know if you have an example of how you might’ve parlayed your experiences and won anyone over?

Speaker 5 (00:47:01):

Speaker 1 (00:47:02):
So this is the, we’re talking about taking Apple ideas to Windows or Windows ideas back to Apple. Which way are we talking?

Speaker 5 (00:47:09):
Oh heck, let’s make that bilateral, wherever you want to take that. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (00:47:15):
Let’s see. I do think what we can learn from the Windows world is there is a lot of structure and standardization and automation, automation of billing. I mean with the active directory infrastructure, once you own that, you know what’s on the directory, what devices are on the directory or not. And so there are a lot of things you can automate, like a device shows up bill for it. You don’t need to know how it got there. If it’s on your active directory, it’s part of your management system. You can bill for it. And I think that’s something we have zero touch on the Apple platform, but we also know that people can work around zero touch. So I am getting a little off topic, but I’m thinking what’s going to happen is when everyone is using conditional access, when everyone starts saying, you must meet certain conditions to gain access to company data, we’re going to see all companies, organizations, IT departments of all sizes are going to start seeing Apple devices come out of the woodwork.

Speaker 1 (00:48:30):
And they’re either going to not be allowed on unless they have this condition met conditional access and do some type of B Y O D enrollment, or they’re going to say, what’s going on? This was working now it’s not working, and I need to get it fixed. Because a lot of these Windows based IT teams, whether they’re internal or M S P, I feel they’ve ignored the Apple platform for so long. They don’t even know what’s out there talking to their servers and their email and their whatever. And I have a good example of that quick story. We were working, this goes back to the Forget Computers days pre pandemic. We were approached by someone who I’d worked with for many years. They went to a company that was about 50. They had about 50 max and 50 Windows machines. Now, we didn’t do Windows, but this was someone I wanted to help.

Speaker 1 (00:49:28):
They had 50 max, which was good enough for me. And I brought in my friend who was Windows focused. And actually this also ties into JumpCloud because it was the first time we talked to client into using JumpCloud because the pushback we were getting was, well, our current M S P is telling us we can’t change anything because of our local active directory. And I said, well, JumpCloud can replace Active Directory. And actually Tom, I feel like at the time, this goes back a few years, they weren’t saying outright, we will replace Active Directory. I had to actually get on a phone call and say, you can replace Active Directory, right? I don’t see any, I feel like there’s a lot of, yeah, we can do this, we can do that, but can you actually replace,

Speaker 2 (00:50:11):
We’re not a local D n S server. We’re not a file server. We’re not, there’s some things that we’re still not, but I was going to say how businesses use Active Directory in the most common parlance we are.

Speaker 1 (00:50:22):
So at this time, even my good friend, my Windows friend was skeptical that this could be done, but so we had to do some testing. And in the testing I was with him. At one of the tests we did, the clients told me that their current M S P said that they bound all of their computers to Active Directory, including the MAC for security reasons. So you could only get to the server if you’re bound to active directory. And I said, well, I’m pretty sure if we, I’m buying the Mac, we can still get to the server. And they said, no, that’s not possible. The IT team said, it’s not. We’ve been asking for that for years. And sure enough took the Mac off the bind, we plugged in the IP address of the server, we the username and password, and voila, the Mac had access to the server. The client immediately signed up for our services for one because they had been told that that was not possible. And then we were able to migrate them away from local active directory to JumpCloud. And I forget how I got on this topic now, what triggered that topic? There was a question, oh, what can we learn? Oh, okay. So I think there is a lot of structure and process and procedure that goes into a well run and profitable M S P, but I also think everything, there’s a meeting in the middle, there’s a balance.

Speaker 1 (00:52:01):
This brings me to employee choice programs, which is what I think I was ultimately trying to get to because this company had an employee choice program, which is how they had gotten to this 50 50. And I think in today’s market, everything I hear is that we’re all competing for employees. It’s hard to find good people and retain good people. So Apple’s, they’ve been saying this for many years, but their employee choice program I think is a great story. And I try to introduce that whenever I can to businesses. Some of them are already doing it, they just don’t call it that and they don’t take it full advantage of it. And sometimes they don’t even let their team know that they have an employee choice program. It’s kind of secret like, well, if you ask in a certain way or if you have a certain level of status, then you can get a Mac.

Speaker 1 (00:52:52):
And I find it interesting that when I would ask people offline, if you had a choice, would you choose a Mac? So many people are like, oh yeah, I would love to have a Mac, but it won’t let us have it. And so this brings me back to, I think still that untapped market are those gatekeepers, and I’m sure Apple knows this. Apple knows that the untapped market are the gatekeepers that are keeping Apple out of business today, or Max, we’ll say Max, because they pretty much lost the fight against iPhones a long time ago. Until conditional access makes its way, then we may see what happens. But I feel like I went off track there, so you guys may need to bring me back.

Speaker 5 (00:53:36):
No, it’s all good. I mean, I guess to flip that around, we were talking about what we can learn, which it seems like automation is the ultimate answer that you provided underneath all the other stuff. And I think if you’re on staff, that might be just automation with your help desk system or if you’re an M S P, that might be automation on the R M M side, whether that’s an auto task or there’s tons of providers that do the billing automation. So can I hook my device management up in there so that the spirit animal of the company can be listed on the help desk tickets? That show is solved when we send them to the C F O so they can see how valuable we ultimately are. But other than kind of a user experience or a quality aspect, what do you feel like the other side, the Windows-based MSPs can take? And this maybe gets more into your day job over there at What are you trying to teach them I guess as you go out there?

Speaker 1 (00:54:59):
Well, first of all, I never assume that I can teach anyone anything. Oh,

Speaker 5 (00:55:05):
They might have a ton more experience in one area than others. We all have things to teach each other that’s not as derogatory

Speaker 1 (00:55:14):
Course. And I’m not assuming that, I mean, I’m not putting you down Charles in that. I’m just clarifying and protecting myself in this podcast when I say that, fair enough. I try to go out and ask questions about what they’re doing. And ultimately my vision is that if I have a vision that I’ve taken from Apple of how the Apple device lifecycle should operate from zero touch to trade-in, let’s call it that, and there are certain touch points along the way. There’s Apple Business Manager, there’s Zero Touch eventually there will most likely be managed Apple IDs if there aren’t already. We all know that’s coming, right?

Speaker 1 (00:56:04):
So I’m asking questions about where they are in that maturity life cycle and seeing how I can get them to the next phase. And for some people that is signing up for Apple Business Manager, not just for themselves, but if they’re an M S P, all of their clients, which unfortunately is still not a great experience in my experience doing that. But it has to be done. And the hard part is upfront. But once that’s done, you start to lay that foundation, okay, now we’ve got Apple Business Manager, now we can start connect our M D M, we can start doing zero touch and Apple will continue to evolve and change. But if we have that foundation in place, then you can adapt and change with them and not be standing flat-footed when Apple announces some new requirement. And I think that’s the ultimate goal is if clients, the end user, the end business doesn’t hear it from us or from their M S P, they’re going to hear it from Apple or they’re going to hear it from somebody else.

Speaker 1 (00:57:19):
And any business today, any technology business that’s ignoring the Apple platform, I think they’re doing it at their own risk because somebody’s going to educate them, maybe not me, but it will be somebody. And I think they’ll eventually wisen up that, well, maybe it has traditionally had too much say and too much control, and maybe I shouldn’t accept the status quo. And there is a better way to do things. And that will happen both on the Apple side and the Windows side. I mean, windows does have Intune and what they don’t call it zero touch, but actually I did see them call it Zero Touch in one of their PDFs. So they’re taking ideas from Apple.

Speaker 5 (00:58:01):
Oh yeah, there’s definitely automated enrollment. There’s, they’ve gotten to the point where, yeah, you could autopilot, but you can, I mean, they’re definitely going in the direction of self-contained Apple application bundles. And to me that’s a much more Apple ish way to do things. Even if you’re writing an app in TypeScript or something, it’s still a self-contained application bundle where you’re not dropping B xds or DLLs and Bizarre Places and all the other stuff that used to go into Windows distribution.

Speaker 1 (00:58:38):
So getting back to your original question, I think, and I’m going to go both ways on this and I’m going to talk about communication, and I’ve tried to get better at communication for a long time, and it’s a constant challenge, but obviously IT, and Windows and Apple needs to continue to get better at communication. In fact, I believe a lot of us are in, I say US as a whole are in the security situations that we’re in today with constant attacks because it kept people in the dark for too long and said, don’t worry about it. We’ve got this until one day they didn’t. It can no longer protect the castle in the office. We’re all connected everywhere. And so now when you say to people, well, I actually need you to help me protect you, they’re kind of like, what? Isn’t that your job?

Speaker 1 (00:59:37):
Aren’t you, your IT isn’t that, shouldn’t you be doing that? And they don’t understand the difference between security and IT and why we’ve asked them. I say again, we, it’s more Windows centric, but why we’ve said, ignore this, and now we’re saying we need your help. But so I think the Windows teams need to be more communicative towards the end user, and I think Apple needs to be more communicative to people like us so that we can continue to communicate to the end user. We all know Apple’s super secretive. They’ve gotten a lot better since Steve Jobs passed away, but they still surprise us and they still keep us guessing, and they still give us, in my experience, information about managed Apple IDs that go this way and that way and don’t make sense to anybody. And I just want to know what’s their vision? When should we be adopting them and what’s the end goal? I have some ideas about that, but that’s probably another podcast.

Speaker 2 (01:00:44):
We’ll have to have you back for that one. I would really enjoy that. I think that would be a fun conversation. Yeah, Tom has way more opinions about managed app ideas than I do for sure. I’m hopeful to have yet more opinions as we get into the spot where managed Apple IDs can be federated more globally, and now that they will have more value come. macOS Sonoma and iOS 17. I have a lot more hope or

Speaker 3 (01:01:10):
We’ll just have more things to vetch about now that we’ve got more functionality. I don’t know. That’s kind of how Mac admin’s role, isn’t it?

Speaker 4 (01:01:21):
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Speaker 2 (01:02:47):
This week is the Exchange Conference in Nashville, and a bunch of my colleagues are going down to Nashville. I’m seeing photos from them on social. It looks like it’s going to be a good time. What’s the conference scene like for MSPs?

Speaker 1 (01:02:59):
That’s a very good question that I probably cannot answer. I was so focused on communication integration. I did not participate in the conferencing. I did mention one conference I went to prior tova that was actually, GY invited me to that one, and then I’ve only been a month at gy, so that is one of my, I’m interested in learning what the scene is. In fact, I’m interested in learning not just what the scene is, but what the channels are that the other bubble communicates in, because I don’t think as much as I love MAC admin Slack, thank you very much. Mac admins.

Speaker 1 (01:03:45):
Even before my role now, I was not the one living in that per se. It was Ross Matsuda who shout out to him. He was my go-to guy, my engineer, and he still lives in Mac admin Slack in the GY channel, I think mostly. So where are the Windows Focus MSPs congregating, and not just the technicians, but the business leaders, and I know there’s IT Nation. I think that is one that is a huge, huge one. And there are a handful of others, and I know GY being Jason comes from the Kaseya world, so he knows about those conferences. I personally still, I’m a fringe observer at this point.

Speaker 2 (01:04:34):
A fair, I was going to say, I know that there are a couple of other ones. I went to DattoCon for the very first time this past year, and that was an interesting experience. Shaq did the DJ set on the last night, which was totally bananas, right? I mean, I guess that shows you kind of how big some of these events get in terms of, hey, the star power that they can bring to bear for a low, low sponsorship cost. I’m sure.

Speaker 1 (01:04:59):
Speaking of that, I just saw a magazine, I, I guess I subscribed to it. I don’t know. I keep showing up at their conference. They had the entire Shark Tank gang. Oh,

Speaker 1 (01:05:14):
Wow. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. The money that it probably costs to get four sharks on stage to talk about business. I mean, that is a whole nother world that, and to talk about communication, just one more thing, because we had Paul Boden, if I’m saying his name correctly, product manager from Microsoft for Apple Products at Microsoft, had him on one of our webinars talking about the challenges of building Apple applications that need to look like Windows or Microsoft and Apple, and very interesting. Loved it. I have tried so many times to get just one person from Apple to talk to me about Apple Business Manager, about Apple retail, about the relationship. It’s not that technical. What do you think? My answer, my response was

Speaker 2 (01:06:15):
Silence. Totally silence.

Speaker 1 (01:06:17):
I mean, to be fair, I will get a response. It just won’t be the one I want. So I don’t understand at the risk of being put on the Apple list, why Apple still retains that we will not talk publicly or we not be recorded. We will not. I don’t know if anyone here can say or

Speaker 5 (01:06:40):
Share or has an insight. I can 100% giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. I can 100% understand why people wouldn’t want to either commit or comment on future things that they can’t guarantee. And as a former product manager, I don’t think you can actually guarantee anything in software development. Agreed. When you’re the most valuable company in the world, as you mentioned in the very beginning of the episode, and therefore likely to be sued if you don’t achieve what it is that you

Speaker 2 (01:07:14):
Just committed, that’s really what comes down toed to in a lot of cases, that it comes down to revenue recognition in a lot of cases. The second that you promise it by or you given approximate date or do any of those kind of

Speaker 5 (01:07:25):
Things, yeah, then you can’t, you’re on the hook. Recognize the revenue. You can’t recognize the revenue

Speaker 2 (01:07:28):
Until such time as you’ve done

Speaker 1 (01:07:29):
It. Well, in my example, and I agree with you, but in my example, if Apple wants, and really we all know we need to have Apple Business Manager account, and that process is confusing, and I want to educate my clients on how they can get that and why. And I want them to hear it from Apple. I mean, I can say it all day every day until I’m blue in the face, but I want them to hear it from Apple because that makes a difference. People listen to Apple, at least that’s my view, and that would be something you would think they would want to promote. So this is where I don’t understand why they can’t take that one small step and say, well, yeah, you’re right. We should be promoting it because it will help you. It will help me. It’ll help all of us in the ecosystem if our clients understand that it’s not just us making this up. Apple is saying this is what needs to happen.

Speaker 5 (01:08:22):
So please,

Speaker 1 (01:08:23):
Apple, if you’re listening,

Speaker 5 (01:08:24):
I will expand super quick because Tom, I thought that was a great question about what are other, what’s the conference ecosystem? And I do find it to be very vendor centric. If you are using Kaseya, then you’ll go to their conference. You mentioned Datto. If you’re using Datto, you’ll go to theirs. But there are cross platform Slack channels or Discord channels. So M S P Geek, and there’s one more, but I’ll put the two links in the show notes. And I used to use these, obviously if I were a vendor, I wouldn’t be advertising on them, but it’s a great, I do find I’d rather go on Slack and kind of understand things or on Discord more than go to a conference because A, I can do it on my own time. B, it’s not time boxed. I can have it B, as much of a duration.

Speaker 5 (01:09:19):
C I see a lot more things, especially when the perspective that people have is so vendor centric. And an overall M S P geeks, discord channel is so much more vendor agnostic. So I get to see things from eight or nine different vendors, and to me, that’s much more powerful. And I don’t find, especially for the five or 10 or 15 person MSPs, that a lot of them go to that many conferences because at that size, every hour that you’re not out there is either hour that you’re not billing or three tickets that you didn’t close for devices that are under management or what have you. So until you get to a much larger, if you have 10,000 devices under management, then now you’re probably starting to send people off and try to figure out more. But we’ll include a couple links in there. And in the meantime, Tom, who wrote this bonus question

Speaker 2 (01:10:31):
Here at the Mac Admins podcast, we want to say a special thank you to all of our Patreon backers. The following people are to be recognized for their incredible generosity. Ubca, thank you. Adam Selby. Thank you. Nate Walk. Thank you. Michael Sy. Thank you Rick Goody. Thank you. Mike Boylan. You know it. Thank you. Melvin Vives. Thank you. Bill Stites. Thank you. Anus Ville. Thank you. Jeffrey Compton, m Marsh, St. Stu McDonald, Hamlin Cruzin, Adam Berg. Thank you. AJ Reka. Thank you. James St. Traci, Tim Perfi of two Canoes. Thank you. Nate Sinal, will O’Neill, Seb Nash, the folks at Command Control Power, Steven Weinstein, swarthout, Daniel McLaughlin, Justin Holt, bill Smith, and Weldon Dodd. Thank you all so much and remember that you can back us if you just head out to patreon.com/mac ADM podcast. Thanks everybody.

Speaker 3 (01:11:26):
That was me.

Speaker 5 (01:11:28):
Ah, Marcus. Okay, Marcus,

Speaker 2 (01:11:29):
You want to ask Marcus? Dive right in.

Speaker 3 (01:11:32):
So based on your experience with the Windows M s P world, what’s a feature that you’ve seen in the Windows M S P world that you wish was easier to achieve with Apple devices? So we’ve talked about what the approach we take and having that, I suppose potentially condescending view of, Hey, you should be like us, but what is there You’ve looked at that Windows people are able to really easily do on devices and go, that’d be nice.

Speaker 1 (01:12:03):
Well, a reminder and caveat, I am not technical or if I ever was technical, it’s draining out of me every month. But

Speaker 5 (01:12:18):
There was a, I know you to be very technical, so thank you for the demure way you kicked that off, but don’t sell yourself for

Speaker 1 (01:12:26):
Not in this room. So I have heard of this feature, so I’m hoping that somebody here can validate that this is a real feature and that it still exists, but it’s called, I think, rollback. If you install something and it doesn’t go well, you could just roll it right back. Yeah. Could you imagine that?

Speaker 3 (01:12:50):
I think that’s called rapid, rapid security response, isn’t it? From a certain point of view,

Speaker 5 (01:12:56):
I do feel like Windows has always had a better uninstaller scenario in general. It’s baked into the operating system somewhat. Like, oh, I ran this M S I or M S T, and now I know as Windows does, how to roll back away from that. I don’t find it to always be great when you’re upgrading a piece of software, but if you’re installing a net new piece of software, it can definitely remove the registry keys and all the cruft that goes to all the crufty places that Retty Crustiness goes.

Speaker 3 (01:13:34):
So an enterprise UND undo button is basically what we’re looking for there.

Speaker 1 (01:13:39):
Enterprise undo button.

Speaker 3 (01:13:41):
That was a bad idea. Let’s just hit that five times and start again.

Speaker 5 (01:13:46):

Speaker 1 (01:13:48):
Go ahead. I was going to add one more piece, which is I love it. I think I’m getting more accustomed to this and accepting of this, and technology’s getting better, much like cars are more reliable, but the upgrade cycle that Apple has, the aggressive upgrade cycle, sometimes I think, oh wow, it’s kind of nice Windows I don’t quite understand. I say, well, they came out with Windows 11, what, two years ago? Are you moving to that? No, we’re not moving to that. Well, why not? We don’t need to, don’t want to. You can still buy old machines with the previous operating, I mean, buy new machines with the previous operating system. And we all know the challenges, especially in the creative world. I mean, the creative workflows, again, are so complex. You can’t often, it’s getting easier, but you can’t always

Speaker 3 (01:14:38):
Just throw a new pay for P support. Have they finally gotten rid of XP support? Are there still some fringe cases where they’ll accept vast amounts of money to go? Yeah,

Speaker 1 (01:14:47):
It seems like it lasts forever. And I’m not saying Apple should do that again, happy. There’s a medium we can all meet somewhere in the middle. Windows should probably be more aggressive and Apple, maybe they could slow down one, take a year off Apple, just take

Speaker 5 (01:14:59):
A year off. I’m actually seeing the opposite. I feel like Microsoft is actually moving into a monthly cadence and their point releases.

Speaker 1 (01:15:07):
Well, you’re talking about updates. I’m talking about upgrades. I think we’re talking

Speaker 5 (01:15:11):
About you’re correct. However, some of the updates are upgrade sized. They just don’t call it that sometimes.

Speaker 3 (01:15:21):
Am I right in thinking that they’ve kind of said Windows 11 is they’re all just going to be considered updates from here on

Speaker 5 (01:15:31):
Regardless of how it’s been over? Yeah, they’ve had some pretty big monthly updates since February maybe of last year. And some of these, especially if you have a T P M chip on your device and you’re using Vault or Edge with Vault, some of these updates have been fairly considerable. Whereas I think we’ve had to get used to this annual cycle, and that has taken years for us to get accustomed to. I’m now starting to hear friends on the Windows side complaining about the same thing, but monthly, but without three or four months of having the betas to kind of nail it, if that makes sense.

Speaker 1 (01:16:17):
Yeah. You guys could have a whole show where we just speculate about what Windows is doing or not doing. Yeah,

Speaker 5 (01:16:22):
We just do. That

Speaker 3 (01:16:23):
Makes a change of just speculating about what Apple’s doing, which is how many years have we been doing that for? Yeah.

Speaker 5 (01:16:29):
Oh man. Speaking of how many years have we, I feel like every year that we’ve done this podcast, we’ve talked about an April Fool’s joke where we pivot to Windows admin and we’ve actually never done it, so maybe this will be the year. I doubt it.

Speaker 3 (01:16:45):
So what about you,

Speaker 5 (01:16:45):
Tom wants to plan.

Speaker 3 (01:16:47):
Yeah. So what have you seen in the Windows world that you’d love to be able to do in Mac oss?

Speaker 2 (01:16:52):
So one of the interesting things that I see from my position is the Windows M D M channel is fascinating.

Speaker 5 (01:17:00):
Oh, you stole my thing. So I

Speaker 2 (01:17:03):
Love mean, obviously now with Declarative, we get a status channel. That’s all the time, which is tremendous. What I think was really, really interesting is you get a lot more status information over the Windows M D M channel than you do over the Mac OS MD channel. Yeah. They don’t

Speaker 5 (01:17:20):
Care about privacy at all.

Speaker 2 (01:17:22):
No, they do not. They are assuming that this is a window, this is a work machine and that you have no right to privacy. And that is one of the differences between Microsoft and Apple here. Apple has a lot more protections built into their platform for individual users, whether or not they are on a personal device or a company device. So I think it’s interesting that what they choose to prioritize, and so the enterprise functionality of the Windows environment is certainly, it airs in the favor of the IT practitioner. And I don’t hate that. I don’t hate that at all. I think that’s actually pretty rad. So count me interested in hoping that, and we certainly have seen so much doubling down from Apple on the enterprise IT space, and if you look at the investments that we saw in Sonoma, that’s due out in a month or two, there’s a lot of functionality there that’s really positive for the enterprise environment. So I love the enterprise aspects of the Microsoft world, and I don’t think that, I dunno, there’s ups and downs. I

Speaker 1 (01:18:34):
Think that’s good. But Tom, earlier we were talking about communication and expectations. I think you just hit on it. There are totally separate expectations of sitting in front of a Windows machine and what it can do to that versus on a Mac. And if you’re going to restart a Windows machine, I think they’re like, yeah, it does that. Okay, whatever. And you try to do that on the Apple platform without having a conversation about why. And a lot of people are like, what are you doing to my computer?

Speaker 3 (01:19:02):
What about you, Charles? What would you like to do? How would you like to Windows a Mac from a management perspective?

Speaker 5 (01:19:12):
I mean, it would be great. Albeit completely, I impossible, given what I’ve seen in the past to have a long-term roadmap. To Ben’s point earlier, I feel like that long-term support date is also nice where this version of Windows or one of the other pieces of software in the ecosystem will be supported until this date. That decade worth of security patches is nice. I can see counter arguments to those things where it’s like, now you’re stifling innovation. You’re slowing us down by having to support old crap, yada, yada, yada. Yeah. I feel like I could get into specific features. The registry is old and crappy and Microsoft Jet databases suck, but it’s nice having all that stuff in one place as opposed to all these weird defaults files that are P lists that are kind of aggregated. I can think of dozens and dozens of things that each platform does better than the other. Oh, yeah. But going beyond that, I do feel like this is our long-term vision and where we’d like to go. We have no date that we can set upon it. However, this is the direction we’re going. And I feel like if you get the chance to see an Apple person at a conference giving a presentation, you can kind of get that, but those aren’t allowed to be recorded.

Speaker 5 (01:21:04):
But also, we reserve the right to change our mind because newer protocols, newer standards from standards bodies come along that we may decide to, it’s a hard thing. Microsoft never got sued that I’m aware of doing that. They probably did, and I’m just not aware of it. But I do feel like that’s one of the key things that when I see CTOs who actually know what they’re doing, talk about Microsoft and things they do well, it’s that long-term vision and laying it out, and maybe they make it, maybe they don’t, maybe they change course, but this is the direction we’re going to help you future-proof your fleets for lack of a better term. So how about you, Marcus?

Speaker 3 (01:21:58):
You asked the question. Yeah, so just to sort of expand on yours a little more. So what you’re saying is to be able to see things like what we’ve seen this year with declarative M D M and platform, ss s o, where we see them evolve every year and sort of this slow reveal of what’s happening to actually get a little bit more insight into what next year and the year after may be so we can sort of know that it’s not finished yet and know a little bit more like what finished will hopefully look like.

Speaker 5 (01:22:30):
I mean, swift UI as an example, is a declarative framework for defining how things show up on a screen. And Apple seems in swift itself to have really embraced the concept of declarative, functional, declarative programming. And I think to say we would like to roll that out until a better paradigm comes along that is more beneficial to programmers is easy. However, what we’re left with instead is to have to infer things like that by, oh, well, here we are doing declarative device management. What is that exactly? And I don’t like the fact that MDMs are out there saying, oh, this is all the great stuff that you’re going to get with Declarative. And it’s like, well, the end user shouldn’t know or care what declarative device management is. It’s a programming paradigm, the json

Speaker 3 (01:23:33):
And also the average way admin probably doesn’t want to have to deal with that paradigm either as well. They just want

Speaker 5 (01:23:39):
To, oh heck no, click

Speaker 3 (01:23:40):
A button and say these things happen, make these things not happen, right?

Speaker 5 (01:23:46):
Yeah. So that’s one example of that. But I can think of dozens and dozens of examples of that, and it’s very Apple centric to not talk about where we’re going in the future that way. And I don’t know if that’s a bad nineties rom-com type of not wanting to commit to the future. I feel like Matthew McConaughey is sitting here. Yeah, man. Nevermind. I’m going off the deep end. Marcus, you owe us an answer

Speaker 3 (01:24:25):
To zero. The dang question. Yeah. I’m going to go a little bit more granular on this, and I think all of yours have been really, really valuable. Are you going to say

Speaker 5 (01:24:33):

Speaker 3 (01:24:34):
Clippy? Yeah, absolutely. Clippy. Well, you could control clippy with what I’m thinking about like application control for Windows MSPs seems to be a lot easier, whether it’s just implied that it’s easy, but really having a lot more control over what people can and cannot install or actually use on their machines. And I know that’s something that more and more as Macs are getting embraced in the enterprise or as the places that have already embraced Macs at dealing with regulation and security are just saying we actually want to be able to control what people can run on these machines. And the way Mac OSS works is Rich has got a great presentation he did at Maxis admin last year, I think about showing just how much a standard user can do on their machine. And so to prevent that at the moment, you’ve got to cobble together all sorts of processes with system extensions, unified logging, all sorts of other underlying frameworks on the machine, and seeing lots of organizations coming out to market with various solutions for trying to get application control.

Speaker 3 (01:25:43):
We’ve got things like Google Santa that’s been doing it for years, but is still very much an open source project. And then the workflows for an organization to actually maintain that database or list of applications is a lot of work. And to have a framework built into Mac OSS that just makes this with appropriate supervision, or as Tom’s asking for supervision Pro plus for work groups or whatever it is that gives you that layer of control, it’d be nice to have something some direction and some enablement to be able to do that. So it’s something I hear Windows admins talking about being able to do, like I’m fascinated to know whether it is actually as easily done or managed

Speaker 5 (01:26:35):
According to how things are installed. You can do G P O based allow or deny listings. I don’t think we’re supposed to say older terms for that, but yeah, that’s totally easy-ish. However, there’s so much cruft, and unless it’s a self contained application, there’s still some, and that’s really only on surface laptops with a T P M chip that you start getting into that kind of, which that’s technology in general, right? Yeah. I can’t fully encrypt and guarantee that something’s fully encrypt. I do find the T P M integration with the Vault to be and the GPOs that are capable of managing those to be pretty rad. And the way that Windows M D M gives me telemetry into weird things that to whoever made the point about privacy that Apple will never do. In my mind, I think that was huge ton. But yeah, there’s tons of options there. And I don’t think Google would care if Apple sherlocked Sam, and they’re not charging for it, right? No.

Speaker 3 (01:27:52):
And I know there’s lots of vendors that would love to have a more robust framework to be able to use to provide that functionality.

Speaker 5 (01:28:04):
Every M D M provider, but that’s at more of a hash level than I think you run into two different things there on the Windows side. I think it’s a hash on the Apple side. I think it’s the actual developer

Speaker 3 (01:28:23):
ID process. There’s so many different ways I think develop

Speaker 5 (01:28:28):
Back the right term, but

Speaker 3 (01:28:30):
My favorite, it depends.

Speaker 5 (01:28:33):
Yeah. Sorry, I fell asleep when Charles said hash. What’s

Speaker 3 (01:28:39):
Going on?

Speaker 5 (01:28:41):
We’re not in Amsterdam, I promise. Is

Speaker 2 (01:28:43):

Speaker 5 (01:28:43):
Right? I was going to say

Speaker 3 (01:28:45):
Back to Matthew McConaughey there, I think.

Speaker 5 (01:28:47):
Yeah, for sure. One of my former customers.

Speaker 2 (01:28:52):
Well, Ben, it’s been a huge pleasure to have you on this evening. If folks want to follow your work as you start at Agy, where’s the best place for them to look?

Speaker 1 (01:29:02):
Well, first, the pleasure is all mine. Thank you very much to all three of you. And you probably saw this, but there’s a headline that was out there somewhere recently that said, maybe it wasn’t a headline, but it said, by publishing 21 episodes of a podcast, you place yourself in the top 1% of podcasters. So you guys are clearly in the top 1% congratulations.

Speaker 2 (01:29:25):
We’re one percenters.

Speaker 3 (01:29:27):
Yay, you’re welcome.

Speaker 1 (01:29:30):
But where you can find me, not only did I take six months off, but even before that, I was never really a big online persona person, and I’ve even scaled back. I did delete my Facebook account. I can’t remember when, but I went all out and deleted it. I think I haven’t yet pulled the trigger on Twitter, but I should because I haven’t posted anything on it. Going to

Speaker 3 (01:29:52):
Trigger on itself fairly soon. You’re dead. The only people that are there are sitting there waiting to watch. Its slow, hilarious demise.

Speaker 1 (01:30:02):
Yeah, it’s so weird. Anyway, I’m on LinkedIn and I hope to get back to maybe some more regular posting on LinkedIn, and I’m going to try to get more involved in the Mac admin Slack channel, especially in the Agy channel. I now have this awkward feeling that because I have an agy under my title that I can’t speak as freely as I would like to on the Mac admins Slack channel. Do you guys know what I’m talking about?

Speaker 3 (01:30:33):
Oh, yeah, I know what you’re talking about. I doubt Jason would care, but yeah,

Speaker 1 (01:30:38):
No, I’m not worried about Jason. I’m worried about the repercussions of someone thinking I’m shilling.

Speaker 3 (01:30:43):

Speaker 1 (01:30:43):
Enough. So I don’t know. I need to get better at that, but you can find me at LinkedIn, and if you go to forget computers.com, which I still own, it will redirect you to LinkedIn for now.

Speaker 2 (01:30:58):
Fantastic. Well, Ben, it’s been a huge pleasure to see you. I promise we’ll have you back on sooner than episode, what would that be, 590 or something along those lines?

Speaker 1 (01:31:08):
Yeah, another 300 episodes. I’ll be back.

Speaker 2 (01:31:10):
Yeah, we’d be delighted to have you back much sooner than that. Thanks as always. You’ve been such an active part of the A C N community and other places along those lines for years. It’s great to have you on.

Speaker 1 (01:31:24):
Thank you very much.

Speaker 2 (01:31:26):
Awesome. Well, thanks so much for joining us for another fine episode of the MCAD Mens Podcast. Thanks so much for our awesome sponsors, Kaji Collide and Simple M D m, and thanks everybody. We’ll see you next time. See

Speaker 3 (01:31:37):
You next time. See you later.

Speaker 1 (01:31:40):
Bye. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to say goodbye in the group. Do

Speaker 3 (01:31:45):
Whatever you want.

Speaker 1 (01:31:47):
You can fix it. Fix it in post. Thank you, James.

Speaker 2 (01:31:54):
The M Men’s Podcast is a production of MCAD Men’s Podcast, L L C. Our producer is Tom Bridge. Our sound editor and mixing engineer is James Smith. Our theme music was produced by Adam Coga the first time he opened. GarageBand sponsorship for the Mac Admins podcast is provided by the mcad admins.org Slack, where you can join thousands of Mac admins in a free Slack instance. Visit mac admins.org and also by techno missionary L L C. Technically we can help. For more information about this podcast and other broadcasts like it, please visit podcast dot m admins.org. Since we’ve converted this podcast to A P F ss, the funny metadata joke is at the end,

Speaker 3 (01:32:39):
I did that change the way you approached what you do now, like Champion app, sorry, James championing Apple from a different viewpoint. Now having that context of how MSPs for Windows operate and how customers dealing with Windows treat the Apple ecosystem.

Speaker 1 (01:33:00):
Well, first I want to say I’m glad to hear you mumble or fumble your words, Marcus, because you sound so articulate and your enunciation is amazing that I envy you. So thank you for that. Thank you,

Speaker 3 (01:33:13):
James. For the listeners who won’t have heard that, because James has, I’m hoping edited that out.

Speaker 1 (01:33:23):
So could you repeat the question one more time? Just,

Speaker 3 (01:33:26):
Just, sorry, James, the whole thing, because I was so inarticulate. Yeah, so you, sorry. Sorry, James.



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