Need to Know Podcast–Episode 142

I take a break for a week and let Marc have the steering wheel. He’s got a great guest for you, Microsoft MVP and renown author Orin Thomas as well all the news on Azure. I’ll be back next episode to catch everyone up on everything Office 365 so stay tuned.

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Orin Thomas Home

Marc’s Azure news

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Announcing the free CIAOPS Cloud lecture series


I am please to announce that I have created a new free lecture series at the CIAOPS Academy which you can find here:

Cloud Lecture Series

This is a free series of short topics that I have recorded at my face to face events. Topics include both business and technology and are mainly aimed at an IT Professionals audience. There is information in there to help you grow your cloud business as well as understand technologies like Office 365.

I’ll continue to add to this series over time as I do more events so enrol for free and ensure you check back regularly for the latest content.

Learning Online Advertising–Part 3

This is a follow on from the two previous parts, which you can read here:

After modifying the copy of the destination site:

Getting Started with SharePoint Online

My next thought was to take price out of the equation. Thus, I decided to increase the price of the course to $69 but then provide an immediate discount to the original price $49. The idea here was if people saw an immediate discount they would be more likely to purchase. In theory anyway.

The other thing that I did was also offer two lessons as a free preview so people could get a better idea of what the course is all about. The theory here was that if people received a free sample they would be more likely to purchase. Again, in theory.

With these two changes in place I re-initiated the Facebook ads. However, there was still something bugging me about the numbers in the back of my mind.

As previously mentioned, I had always thought that with 2,000+ clicks or so that there should have statistically been at least one conversion. Why hadn’t there even been one via dumb luck?


I then started digging into the reporting and discovered the reason! When I segmented the report by country I found the above results.

As you can see, the majority of clicks came from locations that probably don’t have English as their first language and probably don’t have a lot of disposable cash to spend on my courses!

D’Oh. I got seduced by Facebook numbers. When I initiated the ad I though “sure, I want to target this at the whole world. The more the better right?’’. WRONG. I should have started out targeting the ad at the locations I saw as my target market, i.e. Australia, U.S., U.K., etc. Rookie mistake.

However, this also raises another interesting learning in all my research on Facebook ads. Not one, ‘so-called’ expert had every said that I should start with a small target market and grow from there. No one pointed that having lots of click doesn’t mean these clicks come from where you desire. My faith in ‘so called’ experts’ in this area therefore still remains very low.


I then adjusted the audience for the ads to the above.


You can see above the new results. Most of the clicks now came from the desired locations, however I still got clicks from places like Nepal?? How did that happen?? I didn’t specify that as a location. Hmmmm…

Of course now that the ads are targeted at more desirable markets the cost per click increases. That I understand.

Unfortunately, even after these changes I still didn’t generate any revenue! However, it did teach me two big lessons.

1. Start with the smallest targeted audience possible and scale from there. If you go too broad, your investment will be consumed by lots of clicks from locations that are really not your target market.

In my case I started off with the audience being the world, rather the smaller audience of Australia, N.Z., U.S. etc

2. I have also come to conclusion that Facebook ads are more about ‘drive by interest’. By this I mean you are advertising to people who have indicated an interest in a topic (say SharePoint) rather than someone with a particular need that you get from Google because people are typing in what what they are searching for.

This, I think, makes advertising to a Facebook audience much harder. Why? Because people are probably likely to click and have a look at your content but that is simply out of interest rather than a specific need. That means you need to have a really compelling message and process for conversion. Tough.

Contrast that to people who type a particular search into Google using something like “Good SharePoint Online Training”. Such people have a real and immediate need. They are already well down the path to purchasing something to solve their need. This is a fundamental difference between Facebook and Google Ads (again, something that no one seems to highlight in any of the literature that I read).

Ok, so after spend a couple of hundred dollars on Facebook advertising, it is time to re-group and have a think about all this. I’m kinda thinking that online advertising is probably not the best vehicle for driving business to my online courses. However, I’m thinking that I might take what I have learnt and try and grow my email list.

Driving people to my email list will have less friction than my online courses for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is free and secondly it is something that people with a general interest (but no burning issues) should find appealing.

Now the challenge is that the current sign up page for list isn’t really optimised for ‘appealing’ conversion. Thus, I’ll probably need to put together something more sophisticated if I want to convert people. Maybe I don’t. I’ll have to see now won’t I?

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 141

Marc is back from Microsoft Ignite Australia with a load of information and experiences from one of the biggest Microsoft events of the year. He shares his thoughts and feedback on the experiences, the sessions, presenting as well as the social side. He also has some interesting statics to share about the conference so stay tuned. We’ll also cover off the latest Office 365 and Azure news to get us back on track with our regular updates. Also don’t forget to let us know what you think about the new and improved intro. Marc’s done a great job so don;t hesitate to give him a shout out and let him know. He always likes to hear from listeners.

Don’t forget to send us your feedback at

You can listen to this episode directly at:

or on Soundcloud here:

Subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.





Need to Know on Facebook

Marc’s Azure news

New Office 365 Roadmap

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business enhanced copying abilities

Improved searching via Delve

This episode is brought to you by:

Define your profit

This is part ten of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

and the previous parts are at:

We live in exponential times

Consider the following

Major Trends

Macro Trends

Software will eat the world

The phone is the desktop

Build a tailored service

Focus on adding value

The middle age spread


After taking the time to define a framework for our business let’s now examine each tier in detail.

We should always start with the top, and probably the most important tier, profit. I always like to ask people who run their own technology business why they do what they do. Surely, there is an easier way to make buck that selling technology?

The general responses I get back from this seemly innocuous question fall into three major categories:

1. I have no idea. This is where 75% of the respondents fall. They really can’t elucidate clearly any good reason why they get up every morning and do the same thing over and over, even if they hate it. They really can’t see any life beyond their business and typically their business is so ingrained in their personality that it is almost impossible to separate the two.

2. I want more. Here you find 20% of the remaining population. They say they want ‘more money’, ‘more time’, ‘more freedom’, etc. Yeah, great, I respond, but can you define for me what ‘more’ actually is? Is it $1 more or $1 million dollars more in profit? The failure here is to set specific goals. This allows people to ‘fool’ themselves into accomplishment by justifying results like $1 extra in profit as ‘more’.

3. I know exactly what I want. Here lies the final 5% who I would suggest are the most profitable and successful. Why? Because they know exactly what they want FROM their business. They want to take their family on a round the world tour for 12 months in 3 years, they want a pink Lamborghini, etc. The two major differences here are firstly, their goals are specific and measurable. Secondly, their goals are OUTSIDE their business. In short, they understand that their business is simply a vehicle to allow them achieve the goals. In short, in provides them freedom of choice.

Another fun question I ask technology business owners is how much money do you actually want to make? Few can put an actual dollar figure on what they want. You get a lot of general, fuzzy answers but few are specific down to the last cent. Why? Because again if you are fuzzy about the whole ‘what do you want’ then you lower the risk of failure. That’s honestly being slack now isn’t it? There is no shame in failure, it is a great learning exercise but people are very adverse to admitting failure, thus fuzzy goals.

By setting very specific goals you can create metrics that allow you to better understand how you are tracking to your goals. Having fuzzy goals means you have no concrete idea of what target you are shooting for. Thus, you have little idea what adjustments you need to make to achieve these. Again, an easy cop out using ill defined goals.

Another thing that I find many technology businesses ignorant of is, what is their end game? By this I mean what are their plans for the end of their involvement with their business? Are they going to close it down? Sell out? etc? What’s the plan? One of the most memorable presentations I ever attended after I refocused my business a number of years ago, was all about how you need to run your business like you are going to sell it at all times. Doing that gives you the flexibility to firstly take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. Secondly, it gives you the security of knowing that if something untoward eventuates (say an illness, relationship breakdown, etc.) you are in a position to dispose of the business if needed.

Just because you are running your business like you are going to sell it doesn’t mean you HAVE to sell it at any point. It simply provides you the freedom to be in control of when and why you sell, rather than it being forced upon you.

Another key oversight I witness with many technology businesses owners is they don’t diversify their income streams. They put all their eggs in the managed services basket and start to really struggle when the market no longer favours that (as we are seeing today). The more diversified streams you have the less risk you have. That is a time honoured rule of investment that you should also follow in a business.

So what other income streams are open to a technology business? Thanks to the Internet, plenty. Selling something (products, services, etc) directly via a web site is an option for many. Developing knowledge products like eBooks and courses is another. Getting into consulting or face to face training is potentially another. Going into another market or business has never been easier. The list goes on and on. There is also so much education and support for creating new income streams in your business that there is no excuse. The only impediment is the willingness to do some hard work and invest some resources.

When it comes to money in a business, it is always about generating profit, not revenues. Profit is revenue MINUS expenses! If it costs you more than you bring in then that ain’t profit, that is going backwards. Don’t also overlook the fact that expenses could be the time time you invest in your business. If you think you are generating good revenues but spending almost every waking hour in your business constantly, that isn’t profit either. That typically happens when you have no definable goals outside your business as mentioned previously.

Every time you spend something in your business that is an expense. Immediately, you should be asking yourself, how is this expense going to generate my business more money? That is how am I going to recover the cost of this expense plus some extra (i.e. profit). Simply throwing money away in a business without thought, because you can, is folly and arrogance that will one day come back and bite you in the backside.

Profit therefore should be the MAJOR focus of your business. Profit is the mechanism that allows your business to fund your external goals. Thus, you should be looking to maximise this at every turn. The problem is that most technology businesses, as the framework has shown, has actually become the smallest piece of the pie overcome by inefficiencies and lack of focus. Most see it as the end result of everything else in a business rather than defining it up front and making everything accommodate and focus on that goal. The good news is that you can fix upside down priority. You can once again make profit the largest piece of the pie.

Stay tuned for how.

February Webinar Resources

Our February webinar event is all done. You can see the slides either above or download them directly from here:

February 2017 Need to Know Webinar

If you are not a CIAOPS patron you want to view or download a full copy of the video from the session you can do so here:

you can also now get access to all webinars via:

for a nominal fee.

Thanks to everyone who attended and I hope to see you again next month when the focus session will be on Microsoft Teams.

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 140

We wrap up our final Microsoft Ignite Australia speaker focus with Stephane Budo whom we are talking to about his upcoming sessions including:

A deep dive into Storage Spaces

Join MVP Stephane Budo in this session to learn everything about Storage Spaces Direct, from what it is, its requirements and how to implement it, to testing its performance and tips and tricks. Using a lot of demos, we will look under the covers of the next evolution of Microsoft’s Software Defined Storage.


Protecting enterprise workloads with Cloud-First Bcakup solutions

Join Aruna Somendra from Microsoft and Stephane Budo, MVP in this technical and demo packed session to learn how Azure Backup – a Cloud-First SaaS service delivers hybrid backup as a service without the need to deploy or manage any infrastructure in the cloud for protecting and managing your workloads (SQL, Exchange, SharePoint) whether they are running in Azure or on premises. Understand how Azure backup went the extra step to protect backups in the cloud using multi-factor auth for destructive operations to guard against the emerging threats of ransomware. Find out more about how hybrid backup optimizes storage consumption and extends support to VMWare environments. Discover how you can easily build a bullet proof backup and restore strategy and become the legend that saves the day when a critical restore is required!

Don’t forget to send us your feedback at 

You can listen to this episode directly at:

or on Soundcloud here:

Subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.





This episode brought to you by:

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 139

You can’t stop the presses so we’re back with a heap of Azure and Office 365 news. We round up all the Microsoft cloud happenings and then jump into our super special guest, Christophe Fiessinger, Office 365 program manager from Microsoft to talk all about his presentation at Microsoft Ignite Australia:

Get the Latest on Office 365 Groups – Overview, What’s New and Roadmap

You’re invited to discover Microsoft Office 365 Groups. It’s the key component of our group collaboration solution, enabling you to move from task to task with cross application group membership (managed in Azure AD). Office 365 apps that are leveraging groups include Outlook, SharePoint, Yammer, OneNote, Skype for Business, Planner, Power BI, and Dynamics CRM. We’ll unlock the following topics: overview & demonstration, administration, and product roadmap.

Don’t forget to send us your feedback at

You can listen to this episode directly at:

or on Soundcloud here: 

Subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.





Azure news from Marc

New Groups integration abilities

Team Flows

Power BI Reports in SharePoint

Azure backup, instant file recovery

Azure CAT

This podcast is brought to you by: