Evelyn and I are out at ISPCon this week. Our primary purpose is marketing. We do a fair bit of consulting and related work for ISPs, and we tend to have services that work very well with ISPs. We've also had fairly good luck in the past getting business by going to conferences. Of course, this is the first conference where our primary purpose is getting business. It's been fairly good so far, though.
It's a bit hard because both Evelyn and I are kind of introverts, but things have been going really well. Evelyn has been doing a really good job of talking to people, and I've had my moments as well. I spoke with someone from another consulting/product company that is incredibly similar to our company, just by random. The more I talked the more similar we seemed, and I wondered if it would make sense for us to join forces in any ways. We're planning to get together some to talk more about it later.
We also ran into a couple of folks from one of our clients. We hope to take them out to dinner tomorrow. It's always good to meet up in person.
In the exhibitors area, we ran into a company that we had sent a proposal to last year, and done some follow-up with, but had never gotten finalized with. It turns out that the person we were working with was manning their booth, and recognized me. He said that the project had gotten delayed and they really wanted to go ahead with it. We arranged a time to get in touch later. That's a great contact.
The first talk I poked my head into was on BGP. I went in and he was saying “So, you'd want to use BGP to route packets between autonomous systems”, so I left. It was more basic than I was expecting. I went over to the other talk I was interested in, “Asterisk for ISPs”. It also was pretty basic, just a general introduction. It does sound like most of the problems I'm having with Asterisk are related more to the Digium cards I'm using than to Asterisk itself.
The next talk I went to was titled “The ISP transition from Networks to Applications” from a guy from Tucows. He was an extremely good speaker. The basic thrust of his presentation was that ISPs need to branch out to serve a few more of the things their clients need – provide for all their needs in this arena. While large ISPs can do marketing better, smaller ISPs can do customer support better.
This was funny because he asked one of the guys in the audience, who apparently works for a larger ISP, if this was true. The audience member stammered for a while and eventually got out “I think we do customer support pretty well.” The presenter agreed with that, but reiterated that smaller ISPs do it better.
All the while I was thinking that this was totally true. When one of our domain registration customers is having problems, Kristen will usually be the one to answer their call or e-mail. She's incredibly sharp on all the issues with the domain registration side of it. If it's something beyond that, the question will usually get run past Kevin or I, both of who have been managing domains and DNS servers for at least a decade.
I suspect the stammering guy never even imagined that that level of support was available. I can't imagine that his company offers that level of support.
The last session of the morning was on the legal issues surrounding phishing, spam, and viruses. It was kind of dry and not very well attended, but had some good information. One thing I didn't realize is that CVV2 credit card codes are not to be stored by the merchant after the transaction. We actually don't store ANY credit card information on our online systems at all, so that side of it's not an issue.
The lunch talk was someone from Earthlink reading a prepared speech on how ISPs need to band together to “tame the wild west” from spam and viruses and the like. Because no John Wayne is going to ride in and save the day. She was pretty shaky at reading, but made some good points.
I'll be writing more soon.comments powered by Disqus