With support demands increasing during the recent protexis licensing transition, Keystroke has decided to add a familiar face to our support team - namely Mike Lazarus.
Mike is known as "the ACT Evangelist" in the Act! Community, and is one of the most famous Act! Consultants in the world - and one of the busiest too, with 14,000 posts on the Act! Community. This is Mike's second tour of duty with Keystroke, and he will be covering the 3PM-7PM EST shift to start, Monday-Friday (save for Wednesday). As a former HHC distributor, he can also offer technical support for Handheld Contact.
We also worked together during Mike's stint with Swiftpage, where he's spent the last two years working as a beta testing for both Act! and Act! Premium Plus, a process he demonstrated great thoroughness.
Personal and Professional History
Mike was born and raised down-under in Sydney, Australia. He lives and breathes Act! and has done so for nearly 30 years. After going to NSW University to study Computer Science, he went into hardware engineering. First at IBM on 80xx series mainframes. Then at Digital Equipment Corporation, where he won an Engineer of the Year award. This was also when he moved over into the software side.
With personal computing taking off he joined Sourceware as a Product Manager, looking after the Australians and New Zealand marketing and support for a range of software products including Tracker – one of the first Contact Managers.
In 1987, PC Extras, which had just picked up distribution of a new Contact Manager called ACT!, asked him to take over the Product Management role for it and other products. In the first year, sales went from four seats of Act! in the first month to a thousand in the twelfth. Thus began three decades of his association with the product. It was also at this time that Mike Muhney (one of the co-founders of Act!) called him, what soon became his internationally recognised title, “Act! Evangelist”
In 1991, he got the urge to put into practise many of the ideas he’d been teaching Act! users to do. He started his own small business, GL Computing. Specialising in small business IT, he maintained his love of Act!
Areas of expertise
- Act! sales & support
- Training users, ACCs vendor support staff
- Beta testing
- QA for Act! and addons
- Handheld Contact support
- Mobility (smartphones and tablets)
- One of the first ACCs to have a web site – 1995
- The first ACC outside North America to have multiple ACCs on staff as well as a programmer
- Developed two of the earliest addons for Act!
- Trained Symantec technical staff when they purchased Contact Software International
- Served two terms on the Act! Advisory Board (the first member not from North America)
- Awarded the Community Contribution Award in 2002 – voted by all global ACCs
- Wrote the history of Act! and most of the content on Wikipedia’s Act! page
- Is the most prolific poster on on-line forums, since Symantec started them on CompuServe. This includes fourteen thousand posts on the Act! Community site, alone
- Founded and administers the Act! Fanatics group on LinkedIn, which has more members than the vendors own group
Personally, Mike is passionate about Rugby Union (Life Member of the NSW Waratahs) and Blues. He has expressed some confusion about hockey, but will likely come around the longer he works for a Canadian company.