What the Head Nerds Were Up to in 2020

Being a part of an MSP is challenging. As an owner, you have to wear multiple hats and make decisions in areas where you may not be an expert. Likewise, technicians can be stretched thin doing varied work while their colleagues in-house can specialize on a specific technology or process.

To help alleviate these challenges, we introduced our Head Nerds in 2019—a dedicated team of seasoned industry professionals with decades of experience, each focused on a specialty. Their sole job is to support you in key areas of your business, including automation, operations, data protection, and security.

Today, we’ll cover some highlights from the Head Nerds from 2020. If you haven’t taken advantage of their expertise yet, we encourage you to sign up for a training here. It’s free and the knowledge you learn can help you take your business to the next level.

COVID-19 webcasts

When the pandemic first hit, the Head Nerds hosted a series of webcasts aimed at helping MSPs provide a rapid, comprehensive response to their customers’ needs as well as advice on maintaining strong business operations. These covered everything from addressing security with a remote workforce to information on gaining government assistance. Attendees from around the globe told us these webcasts were invaluable. You can find replays of their webcasts in our COVID-19 resource center.

Office hours

During office hours, the Head Nerds took open questions from MSP partners. No two office-hour sessions are the same—they could cover a wide range of topics or focus on one technical challenge.

The security office hours, in particular, played a pivotal role this past year. Attendees had their most pressing questions about remote worker security answered by our Head Security Nerd.

Boot camps

The Head Nerds also held boot camps throughout the year. These sessions are more in-depth and typically run for roughly three hours They’re aimed at helping people go from beginners in a specific topic to more advanced practitioners.

When speaking about the boot camps, one attendee said, “So much information, relevant to what I need to know, but put forth in a systematic way I could take it all in. Three hours? I usually fall asleep or browse the web after 30 mins. But not today! I took screenshots of EVERY page! Thank you!”*

And security wasn’t the only topic. Backup and data protection boot camps helped customers learn how to better prepare for potential disasters. Automation boot camps offered in-depth, hands-on training for automating tasks in both SolarWinds® N-central® and RMM. Additionally, we covered sales and business development where one participant claimed, “This is the best webinar I have ever taken in my life. I will re-watch this weekly until I have memorized it 100%.“**

It’s clear the boot camps were popular with our partners. With multiple sessions per month (and one topic being delivered by each nerd roughly each quarter), more than 1,000 MSPs received critical business insight in the final quarter of 2020 alone.

What’s Next for the Head Nerds

In 2021, the Head Nerds will continue playing a central role both for SolarWinds MSP and the MSP community at large. We couldn’t say it better than Alan Helbush of Where to Start, Inc. put it:

“In this day and age, we work with sophisticated tools to solve business problems for our clients.  In some cases, we have been doing so [for] years and become set in our ways. Both the boot camps and office hours make sure I am getting every bit of value out of the tools we have built our business around… 

[The trainings offered by the Head Nerds] provide an easy way to evaluate (or re-evaluate) products before adding them to our stack. Think about it—outside of an in-person conference, where else can you ask questions directly to the product manager or the resident product expert? That is precisely what the office hours and boot camps accomplish.”

In 2021, we’ll introduce new content to help MSPs not only improve the use of the tools they have in their stack, but enable them to improve their operational efficiency to boot (and ultimately, achieve more with the same resources).

We’ll also introduce new Head Nerds who’ll launch new office hours and boot camps focusing on sales and marketing and program development. We kick everything off in January with a full roster of boot camps and office hours. We hope to see you in 2021.


Want to learn more about our Head Nerds? Read blogs from our Gill Langston, our Head Security Nerd, Eric Harless, our Head Data Protection Nerd, and Marc-Andre Tanguay, our Head Automation Nerd here

Quote sources

*Shane Gibbey, Click Once

** Jason Bret Fahlman, Barry McKay Consulting