VISION ’21 Recap — The Year of the Return
Each year, The 20 puts on an IT conference to help growth-minded Managed Service Providers (MSPs) achieve business breakthroughs, key into industry trends, and get ahead of the competition. After hosting a virtual conference in 2020, The 20 returned this year with a live event, VISION ’21.
The theme of VISION ’21, which took place last week in Arlington, TX, was “The Year of the Return.” After a turbulent 2020, we here at The 20 were determined to give IT business owners an opportunity to reignite their passion, renew their optimism, and reconnect with our awesome community. The result was an incredible conference that still has us feeling fired up!
Here’s a recap of what went down at VISION ’21. If you were in attendance, we hope the following brings back good memories and helps you consolidate some of the information you absorbed at the event. And if you weren’t in attendance, all we can say is …
There’s always next year!
Venue — Live! by Loews
We would be remiss to do a recap of VISION ’21 without talking about the venue, because Live! by Loews offered a spectacular setting for this year’s event. The stylish resort destination is right next to the Cowboys and Rangers stadiums. And we do mean right next to. At the cocktail welcome reception, attendees enjoyed a clear view of AT&T Stadium out on the hotel’s gorgeous event lawn, and were treated to the country-fried rock of The Buffalo Ruckus (shout out to The 20’s very own Jerrod Ford on the drums!). We couldn’t have scripted a more perfect evening or a better way to kick off the event.
Throughout the entire conference, the Live! by Loews team made us feel welcome with their consummate professionalism and warm, Texas hospitality. Delicious food, stunning views, top-notch event spaces — Live! by Loews came through on all fronts. We’re lucky to have such a terrific venue in our own backyard!
Main Stage Sessions
MSPs come to VISION because they want to get better: operate more efficiently, profitably, and in ways that are scalable. You can’t do any of those things without knowledge, and the main stage sessions at VISION ’21 provided attendees with more knowledge than can possibly be summarized in a couple paragraphs. The best we can do is give a few highlights …
Tim Conkle, CEO of The 20, gave multiple sessions that were chock-full of wisdom for growing MSPs. The 20’s dynamic approach to MSP growth, founded on the idea that a successful company is always thinking about ‘what’s next,’ starts with Conkle, whose decades of experience in the IT industry and entrepreneurial brilliance give him unique insights into our industry — where it’s at, and more importantly, where it’s going to be. At VISION ’21, Conkle’s focus was squarely on the future — automation, standardization, sales cadence, and of course, how our MSP members can continue to leverage The 20’s revolutionary model to make huge gains in the next few years.
Another member of The 20 team, recent COO hire, Ken Pecot, spoke on how MSPs can utilize KPIs to inject efficiency into their operations and foster a culture of accountability among their employees. Pecot’s perspective has the potential to help The 20 reach new heights in the coming year, and hearing him lay out his ideas was an exciting preview of what’s in store for The 20 and its community of MSP members. Change is coming, and with it, the chance for further growth!
Two excellent panel discussions took place at VISION ’21: Cybersecurity Panel: The Optimal Stack, (moderated by Rob Boles; featuring Ken Nix, Mike Tarango, Chuck Everette, and Ed Murphy), and The MSP Marketing Equation (moderated by The 20’s CMO, Crystal McFerran; featuring Dana Liedholm, Andra Hedden, and Emalee Sugano). Cybersecurity and marketing are two of the hottest topics in the MSP world, and with good reason — MSPs that want to flourish over the next several years need to get serious about both. VISION ’21 brought together experts on these two crucial topics and the resulting conversations were truly edifying. A big thanks to all of the panel members for generously sharing their knowledge and insights with us.
The 20 MSP Members Only Day
The third day of VISION ’21 was for The 20’s MSP members only. These Friday sessions covered cybersecurity, service delivery, and “Where We’re Headed — Rocks for 2022.” Members also participated in a panel discussion led by The 20’s Platoon Leaders: Ciera Cole, Jeff Griffin, Crystal McFerran, and Ken Pecot. It was great to see our MSP family really hunker down and sort out the nuts and bolts of what we’re trying to do, which is of course — grow like crazy and dominate the industry! The free-flowing discussion and open exchange of ideas signal that all is well at The 20. A huge shout-out to our MSP members — your enthusiastic participation and commitment to getting better every single day are what motivate us to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the MSP space.
VISION ’21 featured eight breakout sessions led by industry experts from Egnyte, Huntress, MSP360, BLOKWORX, Crayon, Marketopia, Privatise, and N-able. These sessions provided attendees with the opportunity to delve more deeply into key topics, and collaboratively tackle problems that MSPs are currently facing. When you think about it, breakout sessions embody an idea that lies at the very heart of The 20: Our industry moves quickly, and staying current means staying connected — to your business, to your employees, and to your community of peers. Thanks to our sponsors and participants for making the breakout meetings a big success!
Keynote Speaker — Nick Vujicic
Last week at VISION ’21, a man who was born without arms or legs, who endured constant bullying in his youth, who overcame extreme feelings of isolation and loneliness to become a world-renowned motivational speaker, bestselling author, and successful entrepreneur — that man took the main stage and BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE. His humor, earnestness, candor, and indomitable spirit filled the room. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He taught us about the power of the “attitude of gratitude,” and other tools for leading a successful and happy life. We are all better people for having heard this man speak. Thanks for inspiring all of us, Nick. Your keynote was truly life-changing.
There are parties, and then there are parties hosted by The 20. There are cover bands, and then there’s Emerald City Band. There’s having fun, and then there’s — you get the picture. The VISION Party was a night to remember, and we want to thank all of you for being so much fun — and for dispelling any doubts about the dancing skills of folks in the IT world. We’re already looking forward to next year!
We came. We learned. And we will conquer! The next year could be a big one for MSPs looking to grow and scale. VISION ’21 was for you, the IT business owner who isn’t happy settling for mediocrity. We hope the event equipped you with the knowledge and resources to make a big push in the coming year. Thank you to all who participated in VISION ’21 — attendees, speakers, sponsors, staff. VISION is VISION because of you.