Geoff Ables on The MVP Show

Geoff Ables on The MVP Show

Geoff Ables
Microsoft Business Applications MVP


  • An introduction about the family and life of Geoff Ables, what they do for fun and hobbies. 
  • Geoff’s learning experiences as MVP; when and how his journey started.  
  • Find out more about c5insight and the company’s history. 
  • Geoff’s story and journey into writing the books Dynamics CRM 2011 Administrator Bible and The LUCK Principle. 
  • The process of writing the books and how did it come about? 
  • Geoff’s observations when it comes to Microsoft’s technology. 


C5insight -
Adoption Survey System: 
The LUCK Principle Book:
Revenue Engineering Book:
Microsoft MVP YouTube Series - How to Become a Microsoft MVP
90-Day Mentoring Challenge - 

AgileXRm - The integrated BPM for Microsoft Power Platform

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If you want to get in touch with me, you can message me here on Linkedin.

Thanks for listening 🚀 - Mark Smith


[mark]: today's guest is from the USA he's the managing partner of c five insights he became an vpandtwnty twenty first up and he's that here's the clincher here he's a co author of a book called dynamics cam twenty eleven administrative administrative bible now that book was the go to book back early in my career in the the dynamics arecerem days and he he authored this book with mat wide man you can if you look at the show notes i'll have his twitter linked in blog posts et cet for you to click on and go to but welcome to the show jeff

[geoff_ables]: thank you so much for being here that dates me that was back in the days when people actually still used books as references

[mark]: what's amazing is that you know how came it took you so long to become an MVP

[geoff_ables]: you know it's funny but by the time i became one and i was chatting with a great mvp kyly kayser i don't know if you know her she's been around and she's super full of energy and lots of people in the community know her and we were chatting and she just she was asking me about m v p and i told her i wasn't one and she kind of thought i thought you've been m v p for years from before i was an m v p why haven't you been so honestly i never pursued it actively it wasn't the title wasn't all that important to me it's still not all that important to me purse don't see me listed on my profiles as much as a lot of other m p ps do but but i found out that i was probably qualified so and it was just a ittle bit of time to invest but b to getting out there speaking when venus like this doing lots of public speaking it's what i've enjoyed doing for many many many years and i started running into folks saying well are you an m v p because if you're m v p you'll speak here if you're not an m v p we may not have you at all it will certainly a tougher hill to climb to get in so at that point i said well this this is it's a good investment of time for me to make it's good for my career and it's an it alignes well with what i'm already doing so so all the pieces kind of fell together i wasn't looking for it we just kind

[mark]: i like it i like it tell me before i jump into more detail of your history your journey all those exciting things tell me about family your family you live and kind of what you do and you're not working

[geoff_ables]: sure so i live in a little town called hunters will north carolina but it's a suburb of the city of charlotte north carolina which probably still isn't very well known around the world but it's in north carolina and the south eastern part of the united states ave lived here for twenty five years now was in mississippi united states for a few years before that but grew up right outside of washington d so i'm a washingtonian by by birth and background so so family my wife and i are now empty nesters which i highly recommend to anybody at wonderful stage of life we've had our first grandchild he turned to a couple of months ago in fact he was born the day after saint patrick's day and i found out that daughter is now pregnant with us second child so we're expecting a granddaughter in november so so that's kind of where i hail from and what i do what do i do for fun my wife and i now that we're now that we're empty nesters we can play again and be kids and so we have we have a couple of motor cycles now actually so next day after tomorrow i leave on a ten day motorcycle ride going through a lot of the midwestern southeastern mid western united states um we love doing that we love travel she's actually not riding with me on that trip but she's going to meet me in nashville tennessee for a few days and we love we've both kind of fallen in love with fine spirits so she's got a certificate in fine wines i love those i love bourbon the whole mixing those with the motorcycle thing doesn't always work out so but but it's kind of fun you know you go to a destination you enjoy that you stay there the night then you come back home so they all they all dovetail together nicely with each other

[mark]: i love it i love it man after my own heart when it comes to spirits and and drinking fine spirits tell me tell me yeah yeah tell me about in fact just digress lightly i just sent my cousin who lives in england for his fiftieth birthday i sent him wife and i paid for him to go to ile in scotland which is where le froid and elburg and and brook laddy distillery a whole range of distilleries there and he just went this last week and he just sent a all the photos through and just said absolute experience of his life you know go in there for the weekend um ah yeah yeah totally yep

[geoff_ables]: wonderful yeah that sounds tremendous there's something about going to the destination that connects you more with it right i mean getting the spirit is kind of a challenge but when you when you see the maker especially these more feeling family run types of organization it just enhances it so much

[mark]: and when you know a hundred plus year history and things like that right it's just phenomenal experience tell me yeah yeah yeah exactly exactly c five

[geoff_ables]: hardly anyone here in the states has a hundred plus year history because we had

[mark]: that right it's just phenomenal experience tell me yeah yeah yeah exactly exactly c five

[geoff_ables]: the thing called prohibition

[mark]: that right it's just phenomenal experience tell me yeah yeah yeah exactly exactly c five insights i've heard them around the market for many many years tell us a bit about that

[geoff_ables]: see if i've insight actually it's we pronounced it singularly here although a lot of people say insights so you technically were founded twenty years ago in fact we celebrated our twentieth birthday in charleston south carolina um just a couple of months ago so we kind of tok the whole company out there and had a nice time together celebrating our twentieth birthday together it was born as customer connect we were very focused just on this sort of the custom our engagement type of the world than we were born before dynamics so we were doing general consulting and sells worse stuff and then got more more lined with microsoff at some point in that journey we re named c five in sight because we realized we wanted and needed to be more than customer engagement we wanted to be digital employee engagement too and focus on things like share points in teams which we were a little ahead of the curve we didn't think so but we kind of thought well these these worlds are converging right so we better be ready and now with power platform that's really kind of happening but it took a little longer than we than we thought it would so that's kind of our story high level but i'd say what's probably different about us is other than our culture we're not a big company but i can tell you whenever we've brought anybody in within the past several years they've said this place is just different from any other place that i've worked before right and it's you know hopefully compensate effectively and all that kind of stuff that's of course important but i think it's just we think that digital engagement customer employed engagement is really about giving everybody a voice right deeply listening to people understanding forming better more meaningful connections and knowing the results so we can continuously improve really believe it so we really try to practise what we preach internally how we run our company and what we talk about practise what we preach internally how we run our company and what we talk about and how we speak were very business and outcome focused rather than just technology focused and that's worked well for through the years but i think that whole idea of listen understand connected now we call that being luck powered by luck that's something that kind of was a pithy way to explain what we did back when we develop maybe fifteen years ago and it became more and more the formula to help organizations that struggle with these things to actually figure out that this is how it works this is how you need to do it these are the things you're gonna do bet or if you do this the right way

[mark]: so breakdown luck for me is it is it play on the letters in luck

[geoff_ables]: ah it is it is i mean it was truly born a long time ago ah it is it is i mean it was truly born a long time ago we were we were trying to explain what what results and morse because you know a lot of these projects struggle fail out or just struggle either it's adoption or technical issues and so we were trying to make it easy to understand and we kind of said look it's about listening first and listening is like you know when we listen to humans you and i are listening we're not listening we're writing it down in our brain right well in the digital world your brain is a corporate memory that's your corn data base that's teams and chair point whatever that is so you you're trying to take this human thing listen and you're trying to do it at scale and then as humans we understand right stephen cove says the problem is at scale and then as humans we understand right stephen cove says the problem is not that we don't listen it's a we listen with the intent to respond rather than with the intent to really truly deeply under and and that's the analytic step we've got all this data we've written in our corporate memory now how do we really break that apart so that we can make better decisions clearly understand customers and each other better and have more relevant ialogue is in conversation so that's the sport the communication the connecting part what we found over time was it's not just about good people's skills connecting those are born out of process so listening is a data step understanding is the analytic step connecting as the process step and knowing your results is a continuous improvement step that's really where collaboration is really critical because you don't learn if you don't learn together so listen understand connect and know that spells luck so it's a on those words and we like it because it's kind of tongue and cheek with people go but what do you help people do we help them become powered by luck first or kind of what but we don't believe in luck right and then we explain you know it's luck process not luck the lower case blessings sort of luck

[mark]: like it tell me the journey to writing that book back in twenty eleven you know when people used to still write big technical books and we don't see it as much these days what was your process how did that come about for you

[geoff_ables]: right you know i wish i could take much credit for that i really have to give most of the credit for that book to matt woidhaman matt was an m v p at that time and already had been an m v p he's been an m v p for for many many years and so somehow in his journey someone approached him and said look i think someone has actually approached him saying they've approached me i don't want to do this do you want to do it and approached me i don't want to do this do you want to do it and matt approached me and said this is inter but you know it's a lot and so he said let's work with each other on it so he worked for c five insight customer connect at the time at the time and we partner he wrote about half of the book and i wrote half of the book but he's really the one who kind of brought it in and he really kind of spear headed the one who kind of brought it in and he really kind of spear headed a lot of the thinking about how we would do it he was an excellent partner in all of that and and i would say buy on large if i were to kind of say who wrote what matt probably wrote the stuff that required the harder technical lifting because he had a lot of that expertise i wrote the stuff that well gosh if i'm if i'm if i'm mean to myself i'd say it's a lighter fluff stuff but i'd say it's it's more configuration focused or business centric what i wrote and contribute to it

[mark]: interesting because i've you know questioned met on why he couldn't retire off the proceeds of authoring a book like that and so i have a feeling for

[geoff_ables]: yeah it's because he split the ten dollars fifty fifty with me so yeah it's because he split the ten dollars fifty fifty with me so uh uh

[mark]: exactly exactly so i know i know kind of how much money that was made in that and i am like you know people don't write books like this for the money right there's got to be other motivations outside of us and always i

[geoff_ables]: right

[mark]: always surprised when they see people all throwing books nowadays textbooks like this because it's just everything changes so quickly and i know that even when you did that and the screen shuts and stuff were constantly in an evolution and getting that book published

[geoff_ables]: oh yeah i'm surprised how long it actually stayed fairly relevant right i mean in sixteen seventeen eighteen people were still kind of using it as a bit of a reference guide but yeah i actually wrote another book called luck principle and i got someone to kind of coach and mentor me a little bit through that process and the way they put it was all that a book is is a really expensive business card so if if it turns into anything more than that count at all blessing good fortune but it's a it's a great credibility boosting tool and it is that it helps with conversations when people go well you know i don't know you what should i know well i helped write this book okay we can move past that and let's get down to breast tax now

[mark]: exactly yep yeah oh yeah m yeah yeah exactly exactly it's definitely a good calling card um well as i look time's flying pretty quickly tell me tell me about your observations in the last twenty years you've seen microsopht go through a journey and you know particularly when sacha came into play we have seen in the last three to four years where james phillips has who led who's recently left of course the bizet practice or left microsopt for that matter a tremendous change when it came under his leadership as an we've seen a phenomenal we saw the application layer separate from the underlying platform of the power platform and and the dynamics apse and then you know you've been through ram and the stories behind that tell me what's your opposite if you played the last twenty years what are your big highlights key observations and then i want you to look forward to the future and your observation there

[geoff_ables]: so as it relates to sort of the micro soft stack and co sphere and that kind of stuff well i don't i don't know if i'm the greatest guy to pontificate on that i mean certainly the we've all been to enough micro soft um hype sessions and i say that lovingly but you know when we get when we first get engaged in this you go to those and you're so excited because you think this great stuff is coming and then you go to it two or three years later and you think they're finally getting a result all the problems that you didn't ever realize it had until you got into it and then three or four years later you just realize you're kind of in this endless cycle of that right the world is changing and microsopt is changing and with every new new thing that has created it unleash as a host of new complaints and issues just like just like with anything else out there and i guess if i looked at it in hindsight what i would say is as said earlier for us we thought oh the world is converging microsophkind was talking about this idea of convergence and share point and kind of unstructured content and structured content getting together and that that journey took much longer than any of us i think we're guessing i remember back in the days we wrote the bible people said well we're standing up to see arm really is a development platform develop all these cool extra things on top of it share point would kind of be a box of lagos and that will kind of complete our development environment and i think we kind of realized that that covered about twenty percent of the use cases that we actually thought that it would cover and now with power plat we're covering a lot more we're really getting into convergence more of that stuff is happening but having been around all the way back in you know the days of the nineties when people are talking about rapid application development platforms and things like that that they were saying this is going to change how people develop forever and guess what developers are more and more in demand than they ever were before continue to be and i just think that's going to remain true it might be that we can do more things that used to require developers than we used to be able to do and i think to some extent that's true but not as much as the term citizen developer would suggest and and i think that as we do those things we're unlocking a host of other visions that require the expertise of developers or at least very advanced configuration people to bring businesses where they need to be to close those gaps so so i think the more the things change the more that they stay the same as long as you stay ahead of it it's a it's a big world and there's going to be a need for all levels of technical competency

[mark]: what are your most bullish on on the future in the ego system

[geoff_ables]: most bullish on the echo system you know i mean there's a very tactical side of that right power platform is growing like crazy so things like you know um power as portals stuff like that i think are going to be great places to invest time and energy there's tons of time going into a i i was building predictive models before i started this company right but it was for a gani bank who had money to spend on that stuff so i think we've just begun to unlock the potential of a i i mean we lump things like o c r and predictive modeling in we've been doing that stuff for three or for yer right we're just beginning to unlock what i can do for folks and i think that's going to be a big area i'm not a big believer in metiverse or at least i think we're so early on the stages of it it would be like talking about tablet computing in nineteen eighty five or something right so you know there were a few devices but we hadn't begun to unlock all the things we need to do to do that so i don't know that's probably a very tactical answer i'm sure there's a much more strategic deep thinking issue around the fifth generation of corporate automation and stuff like that that we should talk about but my mindset isn't there this evening

[mark]: jeff it's been a pleasure to have you on the show

[geoff_ables]: mark great to see you again hope to rejoin you at some point take care

Geoff AblesProfile Photo

Geoff Ables

Bestselling author, Microsoft MVP, and international keynote speaker, Geoff Ables is a thought leader on digital customer and employee engagement. Geoff co-authored the "Dynamics CRM 2011 Administrator Bible" and his most recent book, "The LUCK Principle," delivers fresh insight and inspiration into creating people-centric digital workplaces. Geoff recently edited another book, “Revenue Engineering: 5 Steps to a CRM-Ready Sales Process”, written by Tricia Desso-Cox. Geoff is an avid motorcycle and wine enthusiast and has appeared as a guest on "The Impractical Jokers.