About Tony Walker Today

Graduate of Canisius High School '71 and Boston College '75. Proprietor of the Advantage Co.

The Hot Air Balloon

Leadership vs Management

Management has to be accountable for performance.  Management exists for the sake of the institution’s results.  It has to start with the intended results and has to organize the resources of the institution to attain these results– Peter F. Druker

Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, persuade, and enable others to contribute toward a goal, while it falls to management to effectively and profitably engage an enterprise’s resources to accomplish the desired result.  Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers [who rely on a more tangible tool kit]. At the Advantage Co, I believe success is built on effective management. It is management that shoulders the weight of results.  But unlike most organizations, at the Advantage co, we rely on self-management. 

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Over the past 50+ years, I have read scores of books and countless articles from history’s leading experts expounding on their particular recipe for successful leadership.  From Sun Tzu to Aristotle to Caesar to Machiavelli to Will Durant to Peter Drucker to Doonesbury to Tony Robbins – I’ve inhaled it all thoughtfully, but, other than Will Durant, they typically fail to resolve the undeniable fact that the truly informed, alert, and courageous refuse to be led.

Coercion [death, jail, the draft, etc.] and bribery [everyone has their price] work in the most primal of situations, but as the gravity of the situation subsides, these tried and true leadership tools give way to an insidious appeal to the cravings of vanity, power, fear, wealth, hunger, jealousy, hate, desire, prejudice, or social status of the most susceptible.  It never fails to humor me when I see what some fools will do to get a reservation at Momofuku Ko or into the right club/school/party/group/company/etc., but it unquestionably worries me when fear invites jealousy, hate, and prejudice to the leadership weaponry.  Unfortunately, ‘leaders’ today often resort to these sinister motivations … but history shows this is certainly nothing new.

Leadership is the ability to create an environment where people are motivated to give a 100% effort toward the desired result, while power is the ability to turn intention into reality.  In that context, I’ve found that after 40 years in various successful [yet often contentious] leadership roles that it is more enjoyable and rewarding to build with partners who have their own courageous vision and sincerely want me to help them bring it to fruition.  For me, building is the challenge and the reward.  So, my advice to those that must lead is to simply find those that will truly find joy in helping you build and be generous in your appreciation … and leave the endless array of perfidious leadership tactics to the narcissists … but if you want to be successful – learn to manage yourself effectively.

Capax Global: A Remarkable Partnership

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I am often asked how it all got started.  The usual answer has been June 6, 1978, when I rented the original 450 sq’ Stereo Advantage space in the Village of Williamsville, NY.  It is a convenient response, but it doesn’t do justice to how so many opportunities actually took root well after that moment in time.

When asked about the start of the Capax experience, the easy answer has always been 1993, when Joe Kreuz and I launched Advantage Professionals.  From there the narrative quickly moves on to Tom Thomson and the launch of Advantage Systems Professionals [now c1secure].  That is the inflection point.  That is when we entered the IT market.  From there the story builds on AP Metro – and it is a great story.  

But the genesis of Capax Global truly starts from that auspicious moment when Jerry Hawk and John Baiocco decided that the AP Metro staffing model was dated and that there was a new IT services business to be built [and that business turned out to be Capax Global].

Over the past dozen years, I can say without a doubt that nothing has been more successful in the annals of the Advantage Co than Capax Global and its progeny.  Although the Capax Global plot was worthy of a masterful mystery, it never failed to deliver success. 

For the Advantage Co, the Capax partnership, and me – nothing has been more rewarding.  And although Capax Global has been sold to [and internationally launched by] Hitachi, I am confident that there will be many more chapters to write with Jerry and Jessica down the road.

The Capax experience, however, lives on in our UGA Capital Ventures.  UGA is now made up of 5 great portfolio companies – each with their own future to build:

    1. Capax Discovery
      This is the license holder of our key resources [e.g. EAS*, IDOL, HPCA, CAMM, Nearpoint, Supervisor, etc].
    2. PremCloud
      This is the world-class deliverer of all we offer.  PremCloud provides the advanced professional services, support & maintenance, managed services, hosted services, and developmental services that our customers require.  It is the foundation on which all of UGA is built.
    3. Sceven
      This is our software development company.  Right now it is servicing only our UGA companies, but it will soon be servicing an international array of customers.  There is almost nothing our worldwide team of programmers and developers can’t build [specializing in turning software into SaaS].
    4. Zovy Cloud
      This is our cloud hosting resource for all of our UGA offerings in general and specifically for our Zovy Cloud Archive and ZHub.
    5. Data Detect
      This is our newest company which has developed Data Detect 1.0, GDPR Services, and Data Supervisor.  It is our most promising start-up … and the native software is entirely ours [developed by Sceven].
      Data Detect 1.0 is the premier solution for capturing, cleaning, managing, and providing access to all of our customer’s dark data [providing a consistent, defensible manner in which to apply critical compliance, purge, or retain decisions].
      Data Detect 1.0 enables organizations to move and analyze data from anywhere to anywhere, with Data Detect 1.0 acting as the ‘data police’ in between.  Whether our customers are simply managing their corporate data responsibly, going to the cloud, complying with GDPR data privacy regulations, or merging with another company, Data Detect 1.0 provides the capability to locate, identify, categorize, and properly manage the dark data scattered throughout their organization.

The story keeps getting better, but as I told a group of the young guns at UGA yesterday, the story begins with Jerry and John.  We owe our ongoing success to their vision and their ability to bring it to life.

  • EAS [Enterprise Archive Solutions] 9.0 and 10.0 have been developed specifically to address the most stringent demands from modern global enterprises in terms of operational functionality and compliance requirements.  Hundreds of the world’s largest organizations across a multitude of industries leverage EAS today as a critical component of their information governance program.  EAS provides a single repository for the long-term storage and management of data generated from emails, file servers, SharePoint, social media applications, instant messaging applications, legacy systems such as SAP, audio and video recordings, etc.  Furthermore, EAS allows enterprises to perform Search, eDiscovery, and Supervision across all of their archived content, no matter where it resides.
    Aside from the ability to capture a vast range of content types, EAS separates itself as the world’s premiere archiving solution in that it now has the ability to be deployed in virtually any capacity.  Originally established as the leader in on-premise archiving, EAS 10.0 can now operate in a hosted or hybrid state.  Additionally, EAS 10.0 can be hosted in a variety of locations, including an organization’s private data center, a third-party data center, our Zovy Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.  With its hybrid capabilities, multinationals can deploy EAS on-premise for their Japanese division, in a private data center for their German division, in the Zovy Cloud for their U.S. division, in a third-party data center for their South African division, in Microsoft Azure for their Canadian division, and so on.  Regardless of the chosen deployment structure, organizations leveraging EAS have the ability to access and take action on the entirety of their global archive, all through our single total access optic.
    The future of EAS is exciting, as we will continue to develop and expand upon core capabilities while innovating to meet the changing demands of tomorrow.  We are committed to building EAS in conjunction with Microsoft services to optimize organizations’ use of Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, providing greater accessibility to the archive for both end-users and administrators, offering our customers new deployment capabilities through the leveraging of additional cloud services, and developing new connectors to capture an increasing number of enterprise content types.  Schedule a demo today to learn how EAS can unify your information management practices and help you achieve your long-term organizational goals.

Future Golf Stars

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Mission Statement:  From Asia to Europe to South America to the US to anywhere the future stars of golf are learning the game and competing, Future Golf Stars will find them, rank them, and provide them with a venue to show off their skills.

With a worldwide network of coaches, tournament statisticians, and videographers, we will be able to aggregate all of the great young golfers into one site.

While much of the site will be free, we will have a subscription model for college coaches, recruiters, vendors, sponsors, agents, tournament organizers, and parents.

PremCloud Archiving

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Every company, institution, and government is relentlessly creating massive amounts of data that need to be archived, secured, managed, hosted, and utilized – and that means that with each passing moment our PremCloud is needed more than ever to provide our remarkable archiving solutions and services.

Capax Discovery’s future is being solidly built on our various data solutions and services powered by the PremCloud.  In our PremCloud, our customers can rely on our solutions and services for the archiving, security, management, access, performance, and hosting of their valuable and ever-increasing data.  

With PremCloud Services, we have identified a key differentiator with our market-leading strategy for adaptive hosting.  Additionally, we have positioned PremCloud Services to be our managed services provider.  ‘Powered by PremCloud’ has enormous potential to go well beyond data archiving.

PremCloud Services provide the resources required for our customers to effectively and securely manage their most valuable asset – their data.  When it comes to providing our world-class solutions and services, the deciding factor in their efficacy relies on the contribution of our PremCloud Services team.  The PremCloud Services team answers the call for all of our customer needs with a speed to performance that exceeds all industry standards.

PremCloud Services

    1. Solution Engineering
    2. Pre-Sales Technical Support
    3. Professional Services [Implementation]
    4. Support & Maintenance
    5. Managed Services
    6. Hosting Services
    7. Infrastructure Data Center Management  
    8. Software Development [Sceven]

Our PremCloud Services team will also perform migrations, project-based software development, and custom consulting engagements for customers around the globe; while our new hybrid PremCloud Hosting solutions will provide our customers with a fully secure, fully managed environment for all their data archive, data governance, and data analytic needs across multiple deployment options worldwide.  

All in all, PremCloud Services is able to effectively power all aspects of our customer’s archiving needs.  And throughout every variation – our customer always owns their data, it is just a question of how much they want us to manage their archiving solution.  We can provide as little or as much of our PremCloud Services as they need and desire. This is our business. This is our future.

PremCloud Hosting

Simply choosing an appropriate solution for their data archiving still leaves our multinational customers at perilous risk [and, more importantly, without full ownership and control of their data].  Our customer’s data archiving needs can no longer be satisfied by the limitation of simply choosing between a cloud-hosted or on-premise solution – there is a need for a more adaptable hosting alternative.  

Fortunately, our PremCloud has eliminated the disadvantage of having to choose between on-premise and cloud hosted data by presenting a more nimble paradigm for the location of data and the software solutions we offer.  Our advanced PremCloud Hosting perspective speaks directly to the strategic versatility of our hosting alternatives along with the appropriate managed services that we can now provide our customers [especially our multinational customers].  

Whether it is in our customer’s own data center, a data center we provide and manage for them, or a fully hosted presence in one of our PremCloud environments – we can now offer our customers the most advantageous residence and management of their data based on a number of criteria specific to the countries or compliance regions they are operating in.

The days of relying solely on legacy data centers are over.  Our new PremCloud adaptive hosting is spread across multiple, geographically distributed sites and public, private, and hybrid cloud environments.  Building, connecting, and securing this array of computing power is a complex job—and one that requires a new type of data center network, starting with an architecture optimized for the cloud era and an infrastructure that gives our customers agility, automation, and simplicity.

Capax Discovery’s groundbreaking PremCloud provides adaptable data archiving solutions with managed services for our accounts worldwide regardless of where their data resides in our PremCloud.  In our PremCloud, our customers can rely on our software and managed services for the archiving, security, management, hosting, and performance of their valuable and ever-increasing data.

The key is that our customers always truly own their data – while they can rely on us for the security, management, and administrative optic that our market-leading PremCloud based solutions provide.  And what PCAS 1.0 and our newest apps can do with data for our enterprise customers is truly magic – and that magic is powered by the PremCloud.

PremCloud Total Access

Powered by PremCloud is a service model in which data is maintained, managed, backed up remotely, and made available to users over a network through our PremCloud.  Our PremCloud Total Access administrative optic with CISO Sentinel allows our customers total consolidated administrative access to their data, as well as the governance of the entire processing of data coming in and going out of their unified archiving vault.  This dashboard allows for not only a better administrative optic, but it also allows for a more robust use of their valuable archived data for a limitless amount of utilization.

Joe Kreuz: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

The story of Joe Kreuz started in 1959, but the tale of our remarkable friendship began 25 years ago when we launched Advantage Professionals.  I could write pages about our friendship, but, simply put, when I look up best friend in the dictionary, I see a picture of Joe.

And as much as I enjoy [and count on] on our friendship, this post is about our remarkable partnership.  Over the past twenty-five years, Joe has epitomized and brought to life the Root Philosophy of the Advantage Co more than anyone I have ever built with.

The enduring legacy of our partnership is not the remarkable success of Advantage Professionals, but, more so, the unbelievable tree of success that Joe provided the foundation and enthusiasm for.  Joe was the man who stepped to the plate for everyone we have ever built with.  Mark Pautler, Charlie Chiampou, John Baiocco, Jerry Hawk, Jerry Tenenbaum, Kelly Cultrara, and Tom Thomson all know first hand what it is like to launch a business with Joe Kreuz by their side.  But that’s just a short list of the hundreds of friends Joe has helped.  WNY’s executive suites are filled with people that Joe has nurtured and placed over the years.

So, this is a big thank you from all of us.  Congratulations, Joe, on 25 years as the man who laid the foundation for all of our most successful partnerships.  You are a legend.

The End is Near

There is an interesting article in Fortune this month about the coming recession.  Usually, everyone is blind-sided by a recession, but there are enough talking heads foretelling its arrival that only the most stubborn of investors will be caught with their pants down.

Unfortunately, most businesses will be caught [and ruined].  Businesses are currently caught up in a tsunami of capital investment spurred on by cheap money and unsustainable demand – and they can’t jump off.  Grow or die has been the mantra for the past seven years, and it is hard to accept that it will soon be replaced by slow down and save, but if you are NOT cash strong, liquid, and ready to pounce when the recession does hit – you will be splintered on the rocks as you crash into shore.

Every moron has made money in real estate and the stock market for the past seven years.  This leads to a hubris that fuels every recession.  Con artists think they are brilliant [especially the real estate con artists], and they have seven years of spectacular growth as their witness to their [supposed] magic.  But when the storm hits, and the values drop, and the rents slow to a trickle – the mortgages and taxes still have to be paid.  It’s a slow death, as opposed to a stock market crash that is swift and merciless.

Be prepared.