Ending with a Bang

Wow, we’re at our last ThreeWill Hero. In this final post, we want to recognize both a special person and a special company. The person that we would like to recognize is Jason Jones and the company is Microsoft. Jason epitomizes all that is good about partnering with Microsoft. He’s a great communicator, he’s energetic and aggressive at the right times, and he looks for opportunities that make sense for both Microsoft and ThreeWill.

A Microsoft Partner Since the Beginning

One of the first things that we did as a business was to register as a Microsoft partner. Besides the generous licensing offered from partnering with Microsoft, this gave us the confidence that we were not starting our business alone. We felt like our company was starting out with one of the best brands in the industry and gained credibility that comes only by working with a company that has a strong reputation like Microsoft.

How Many Thousands of Companies Have Started Because of Microsoft?

It seems like sometimes it’s fashionable to take shots at Microsoft (I think it’s a part of human nature for people to try and knock success). But there is one thing that is undeniable about Microsoft – they are a partner focused company. For all that is said about the greatness of Apple and Google, Microsoft has provided thousands of companies like ThreeWill the opportunity to start and succeed because they are partner focused. For that, we are extremely grateful. We wouldn’t have started ThreeWill without Microsoft – they gave us a business model that helped us grow and thrive.

Deepening the Relationship

About five years in (and lots of conversations to convince certain people) we became a managed partner for Microsoft. We have had a number of Partner Account Managers (PAMs). We started out with Trey Kimbel, another real gem at Microsoft. Trey provided a great introduction to working well with Microsoft. We learned that PAMs have one of the most demanding and difficult jobs out there. Lots of responsibility with little authority and the difficulties of trying to serve multiple masters.

Partnering as a Systems Integrator

As a systems integrator, your business is making things work together. We’ve built a business around making SharePoint work with other platforms and key emerging technologies (including Enterprise Video with Polycom, Mobile with Rover Apps, and Social with Jive Software). Although sometimes these integrations might lead to competitive situations, most folks at Microsoft understand that all Microsoft solutions might not be the right solution for all companies (I said most). No one can deny Microsoft’s success in focusing on the Enterprise over the last ten years, and a key part of this success is their willingness to work well with other products/platforms. Kudos, Microsoft.

Back to Jason

I’ve been talking a lot about Microsoft in the last couple of paragraphs, but many of the positive attributes could also be said about Jason as a person. Jason is always looking out for us – talking to us about how to improve what we do based on what he learns from other companies like us. Part advocate, part mentor, part friend – he checks in with frequent calls to make sure things are going well and he looks to connect us to people both inside and outside of Microsoft that have the potential to make an impact on our business. Jason is also a man of faith – the highlight of every Microsoft Partner Conference is attending the Partners in Christ meeting that Jason helps lead. He’s got his head set on straight and knows what is important – another reason why we enjoy working with him and trust him. Jason is also very involved with his local Church serving in the middle school ministry which shows Jason has a heart for his community as well as his business.

Our PAM is a Celebrity

Jason is a bit of a celebrity — or at least his family is…his daughters, Mary-Charles Jones – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2325460/ and Maggie Elizabeth Jones – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1369619/, are successful young actors. Mary-Charles has been on Grey’s Anatomy and she plays the recurring role of a younger version of Hanna Montana. Both girls were in the recent remake of Footloose. In December of 2011, Maggie will star opposite Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” which is sure to be a big family hit! I’m not sure how he does this, but for a good part of the year his family is in Hollywood to meet the demands of success. Pretty amazing.

The Future

We recently brought on a twenty year veteran of Microsoft (Kirk Puffenberger). Kirk will be taking the lead in building our partnership with Microsoft (working quite a bit with Jason) and other companies that we are aligning with for success. We look forward to seeing where this partnership leads us and what the next 10 years has in store for both companies. Like any healthy relationship, we’ve had our share of disagreements…(we’re still waiting for an app store for SharePoint) But, by pushing each other, we have learned to grow stronger.

A Word from Jason

Jason had the following to share upon hearing that he was a ThreeWill Hero…

”I am truly honored to be featured as a THREEWILL HERO. It is working with companies like THREEWILL that truly make my job a joy each and every day. ThreeWill has shown unwavering commitment to not only Microsoft but to building great relationships with everyone they work with. Over the years I have seen how the ThreeWill team has positively impacted customers with their innovative approach to technology and knowing them has certainly impacted me personally over the years as well. I know that the next ten years will hold tremendous success for the entire ThreeWill team and I am excited to watch it happen.”

Thanks for being our final ThreeWill Hero Jason and thanks Microsoft for your support through the years!

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