About Me

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Damascus, Oregon, United States
I absolutely love anything that plugs in! My iPhone may just be an extension of my body. Networking, business, Christ, serving the community, husbandry, fatherhood, friends, and my amazing family are all that keep me ticking!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Too Old to Learn

This one is gonna be short, given that I don't get caught up in my rant.  In my short time on this earth, I have noticed a few very important traits in individuals that I either want to mirror, or run from.  One that I have seen creep up over and over again is the ability someone possesses to learn.

When I first started in the professional world, I was a sponge.  I was an expert at nothing and a student of anything I could open up to.  Around me, I heard several individuals who considered themselves "seasoned veterans" who offered their advice along the way.  Now I could sift through this information and find that there was at least a portion of value to be had, but most of these veterans delivered their advice in the form of extreme negativity.  It almost seemed as if they were trying to discourage me from the given endeavor I attempted.  This advice they gave came from many years of wins and losses, ups and downs, good times and bad.  The end result was a jaded look at life, almost a fear of attacking any challenge life had for them.

I promised I'd never allow myself to get to this point.  I didn't however, expect it to creep up on me this fast.  The other day I found myself making these same excuses as the elder individuals I'd heard in the past.  It terrified me.  I had to make a conscious effort to turn from such a jaded way of thinking and attack life with the same excited ignorance I'd had a few years back.

I now see it more than ever.  When a person, my senior, asks me for advice and I give it, they seem to allow all of the reasons why they've lost in the past discourage them from learning a new way or taking the advice that isn't their own.  These individuals are typically unsuccessful, and it's only a matter of time before what they consider to be safe, die around them.

So don't ever think yourself too educated, too old, too set in your ways to take some valuable advice.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Faith in Business

Ever been at work and someone wants to talk about money?  How about politics?  Maybe someone has gone so far as to bring up the untouchable subject of religion at work.  It seems like that subject in the past has been off limits, uncomfortable, even against the law at times.  Well it's not the past, it's today and in a world of ever-increasing rights and moral-less breakthroughs I believe that these rights have come full circle when it comes to the subject of religion in the workplace.  Not only do I think that it's less of a faux pas to discuss your faith within the workplace, I would venture to say that it is fashionable and recommended.

I work in sales, corporate sales that requires a certain level of trust and relationship between my customers.  I've made a great living from nothing but my big mouth by building a high amount of trust in the customers who have spent millions and millions of dollars with me.  This trust involves me being candid about my family, my values, and yes, my faith.  Now I'm not one to push my beliefs on anyone, Christ didn't do that and I don't believe in it.  I do however, take every opportunity to talk with customers, colleagues, and vendors about the most important thing in my life; the forgiving blood of Christ Jesus.  My faith drives my selling and my customers know it.  They know that if I am looking to God for guidance while I do business, there's no way they will be taken advantage of.  That is a great feeling of comfort to give a customer. 

That being said, could you believe that I have NEVER had a negative response to sharing what I believe with the folks I do business with?  Why would they?  What I believe is that Christ died to save me, we should love Him as He loves us, and we should love the people we come in contact with.  How could anyone get offended over that??  The truth is, they love it.  I had a vendor tell me about his faith today at lunch and it brought him to tears, I was moved to say the least.  His courage and candid spirit inspired me, and I'll never forget it.

So in this world of exercising our rights and acting out whatever we feel, take a moment to exercise your right to share with the people you do business with the love of Christ that stops at nothing to flood our lives and save us all.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Andrew Morrison Sound Board

Apparently my co-workers get such a kick out of the little things that I say on a regular basis and on the phone to vendors who call in and don't realize they are talking to a competitor, that they have created a sound board with these sound-bytes.  Take these sayings with a grain(s) of salt as this isn't the way I usually interact with people.  Enjoy!


Monday, September 20, 2010


This one is sure to get the feminists goin'!  As you can see, the title of this blog is 'Mush'.  Now the only context in which this word is typically used would be as a command to someone(thing) to jump to, start, go, and not so much at a leisurely pace.  Now I will be so bold as to combine this word with marriage.  Give me a minute to explain this archaic, chauvinistic way of viewing the institute of marriage.

I have had the opportunity to observe a number of different marriages.  Failed marriages, successful marriages, unhappy marriages, stay together for the kids marriages.  You name it, I've seen it.  One element that I see as key to any successful, or lacking in an unsuccessful, marriage is each person's ability to 'mush' when it comes to the needs of their spouse.  In my observation, there are three flavors of this illustration; One of the two people meeting the needs of the other, neither meeting each others' needs, and both meeting each others' needs. 

In most marriages I see one of the two people jumping to the needs of the other for a certain period of time until the 'giver' gets disgruntled, never communicates with the 'receiver' and eventually leaves, shuts down, or worse.  During this type of union, I've observed for some reason a heightened amount of rigid communication, even verbal abuse from the 'receiver'.  Why this is, I still have not figured out.  Maybe it is to maintain that role of the one who wears the pants.  Nevertheless, this is all too common, and can slowly ruin a marriage.

Sometimes I've seen a style of marriage where each person is constantly fighting for their own 'say', their own time, their own piece of the financial pie, and their very own...whatever they can claim over their spouse.  This is a much faster killer when it comes to those sacred nuptials.  It amazes me how many people act like they are single while they are married.  They battle it out for what they feel entitled to, while ignoring their partner's needs.  They get frustrated with the other one for making plans on top of their existing plans yet neither of them checked with the other to consider what they may like to do.  This form of marriage is very unfortunate as it demeans the other person and is just plain sad.

Rarely do I see a style of marriage that I feel I learned from my own father.  It is that of jumping to the needs of the other.  The hardest part of this style is not the action of serving the other, it's abandoning one's pride long enough to understand that it is not all about you.  It's so imperative to make sure that your spouses' needs are met, their life is pleasant, and they know you exist to please them.  This seems like a very simple concept but I am blown away at how many marriages lack this simple, simple action.  Once again, it is NOT ABOUT YOU.

So take these words of wisdom with a grain of salt as I've now only been married for a year, but so far it has been a joy of giving, communicating, and pleasing the other person so that there is no reason to default to that selfish way that tempts us all. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cold Calling!

Oh cold calling!  Such a loathsome art hated by most when having to carry it out, yet hated more when on the receiving end.  As miserable as it may seem, I don't think that those in the sales industry understand the true value.  I agree that it can be a relatively painstaking process, but the treasure doesn't lie solely in the rare win at the end of the disparate tunnel, rather it is DURING all of the hang ups, nonsense rebuttals, bulletproof contracts, and the occasional "no one loves me feeling."

When you first decide to cold call, you exercise the ability to hope.  Yep, just plain ol' hope.  The hope that one day you will convince someone will listen to you, believe that you can actually help them, and buy from you.  Not only may you get yourself a sale, it may be one that pays you a year's worth of commission.

During cold calling, don't allow the sudden slamming down of the phone to serve only as discouragement.  Instead, treat it as motivation.  Look to it as a game, a bit of comic relief in your serious work day.  Don't ever take yourself too seriously, it will drive you nuts, then to the soup line.

Second, cold calling helps you understand the customer.  If a customer opens up their doors to you and just signs your contract, you have learned NOTHING!  It is imperative that you experience a customer in their rawest state, sometimes that means while they are yelling at you.  This interaction could tell you what they hate about sales people so you don't act that way, what their past pains with vendors so you know where to perform, and how busy they are working on a project so you can provide them with the tools to complete that project more efficiently.  The best advice I ever received from a past employer of mine was, "You have one of the biggest mouths I have ever experienced, but you know exactly when to shut it."  If you can't shut your mouth long enough to listen to the needs of the customer, you don't even deserve an unemployment check. 

Lastly, the most valuable element, I feel, in cold calling is that of being able to polish up what you are known for as a salesman, your mouth.  The more you practice, the better you get with your weapon.  If the person you're calling asks a question you don't know, you are most likely going to sound inexperienced when you try to answer it.  The next time that question is asked, you'd better sound like an expert.  Multiply this by 100 times a day, five days a week, and you'll have the answers to a lot of questions.  Customers who are ready to talk, expect you to have a good amount of info for them.  Don't be afraid to ask someone the answer, but don't rely on others to do your job.  It's important to learn as you progress through this process.  Just because you are a sales person, doesn't mean you don't need to be technical, or educated on your product or service.

So pick up that phone, take a deep breath, and enjoy the process of cold calling.  Remember, it is impossible for you to feel a true win until you know what loss is.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Dark World of Consulting

I had looked forward to this post for some time.  Little did I know I would have multiple examples of my consultant stereotype dropped right into my lap this week.  Now don't get me wrong, I have always given new consultants a fair shake, even more so because I truly believe that once I find a good one, He/She will be of both our benefit, as well as the customers we work with.

I did just that this week as I chatted with a current customer of mine, who had been moved to Google Apps from an exchange server that went down.  This recommendation was that from their current consultant, who I have heard rumors of asking for a "spiff" for choosing a given vendor's product.  The customer was frustrated that Google Apps had failed due to squelched bandwidth and a lack of preliminary planning.  My solution was to triple the bandwidth with a WiMax connection and keep them off of an additional, expensive T1 line that had been recommended by the consultant.  Upon informing the consultant of the solution, he said, "That sounds great, if I recommend your solution to our customer, what's in it for me?"  I couldn't believe my ears.  Wasn't our customer, who was a 501(c)3, paying the consultant to recommend a neutral, unbiased solution?  Yet, he was simply choosing the provider who put the most money in his pocket.  Does this seem as ridiculous to you as it does to me?!

Earlier this week, before my experience I explained above, I had lost an RFP (request for proposal) due to this very same thing.  I was the first runner up due to the fact that I didn't offer to pay the consultant to choose my communication system.  When I had gone back to the customer to shed some light on this injustice, they simply said that they trust him and are sure he led them down the right path.

The next customer, described in the first paragraph, was much more open to discovering the truth.  I was able to tell them everything, which may or may not lead to them choosing my solution, but at least I know they have all the information in front of them.

In wrap-up, there are a few types of vendors within the IT world; Hardware/Software/Service Providers, Outsourced IT, and Consultants are among some of the main types.  Each of these can offer a little bit of every service, yet if you are a true consultant, paid for your time and NEUTRAL expertise, you will not collect payment from any other party except the customer.  It is immoral and borderline illegal to come in as a consultant and attempt to sell a product, tangible service, or accept payment for choosing a vendor.  Wise up, and land yourself a real job.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Mole

Now I come from a long line of green-thumbed men.  Hard labor, or any labor for that matter has never been something that I could bring myself to do with an eager disposition.  This summer I've been empowered to show the other men in my family that it's not just my mouth I can run, but my lawn mower is a force to be reckoned with as well!

Through a careful process of weed-and-feed, the perfect amount of water, 16-16-16 fertilizer, and the guidance of the yard master (dad), I have reached darn near the perfect shade of deep green grass in our yard.  I did this in less than three weeks to boot!  Then I spent the next few days tweeting, talking, and sending pictures of my perfect lawn to those I know.

Today I went to mow my oh-so perfect, dark green, lushness and an ugly little talpidae had something else in mind.  Yes, I have my first mole.  Moles are typically subterranean mammals who don't need much fresh air at all.  Apparently this pint-sized demon got turned around and poked his head out of my perfect yard twice...then another three times!  So for all to see, I am exposing my imperfect yard in hopes that a great amount of sympathy may dress my wounds.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Matthew 5:37

If you've had the opportunity of knowing me for the past five years, you know that I approach the task at hand with the utmost perfection.  If you knew me prior to this, you may expect just the opposite as I spent the first part of my life cutting corners, getting out of responsibilities, and looking out for myself only. 

Now, where this change is typically a gradual process for most, mine came first in the form of opportunity.  The shifting moment was on my first day at a company called TeleSmart Networks.  President Mark Bilton-Smith walked into my office, set a laptop and a Blackberry in front of me, and simply stated, "I've got to leave for a meeting, go sell."  Trial by fire!

With the next five years came an incredible ride, an incredible test.  From the largest RFP that TeleSmart had been awarded, to a corporate acquisition, to starting anew, it has all instilled in me a valuable lesson.  I could either own up to my new-found success, or tap dance around responsibility and watch it fall as most opportunities I'd faced.  I chose the former and allowed this value pour out into everything I take on.  The lesson is to let my yes be yes, and my no be no.

From my father, I believe I learned this lesson.  He has never instructed me to, yet has always personified it without compromise.  From my mother, I've learned to know when to loosen my grip on this practice and offer grace to those who may not hold dear such standards.  And from my wife I am humbled by her patience with me as I further progress through this life skill.

As you follow my blogging endeavors, all three of you, know that my aim is to carry this lesson, value, and God-breathed scripture through all that I do and say.