Is Your Business Ready for the Death of Windows and Office?

Bad news: Microsoft is killing off support for Windows XP (which, to be fair, is an almost thirteen year-old operating system) less than a week from today. That means your Windows XP desktops will no longer receive crucial security updates from Microsoft.xp2003EOL

Although less publicized, all security updates are also ending for Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on that same date. So if your business uses any of these products (and recent statistics show over 25% of all small to mid-sized companies still do), it means your company will have little protection against cyberattacks targeting your corporate email or documents.

The good news is that with cloud computing and low-cost tablets, it’s never been easier and more affordable for companies to upgrade to new technology. AMAXRA has helped many companies increase their productivity by migrating to the cloud-based Office 365 suite. As a certified reseller and Microsoft Gold Partner, we can manage your cloud migration project to get you off Office 2003/Exchange 2003 and onto Office 365. Even if you decided to move off Windows XP completely and now operate your business on Macs or iPads, we have cost-effective native Office for Mac and Office for iPad options that enable you to work smarter than ever before.

Don’t let the death of Windows XP and Office 2003 scare you. Reach out to us and we’ll get you safely into the cloud in no time!

Call 425-749-7471 or email

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Three Snapchat-like Apps for Business

If you have teenagers, then you know about Snapchat. Even if you don’t have kids, you’ve probably heard of Snapchat either because their 23 year-old founder turned down a $3 billion buyout from Facebook or from the scandal that had 4.6 million of the app’s usernames and phone numbers posted online.

The appeal of Snapchat for teens is the app’s ability to text quirky photos of yourself that are automatically deleted a few seconds after they are seen on your friends’ phones. That’s great for kids, but not useful for businesses—especially since the hacking of user data has made Snapchat a toxic brand for companies even considering it as part of their social media strategy.

However, there are several app developers looking to fill that market void with a “Snapchat for business” pitch. We believe these apps can be useful for innovative B2B (customer referrals that can’t be put in writing due to office politics) or B2C activities (high-end retailers promoting flash sales) and have found three private messaging apps built with privacy and business in mind:

  1. Wickr – This app enables users to send photos, PDFs and text without saving any user info in the process. Although the app requires you to create an ID that is stored on their servers, Wickr claims to encrypt and “anonymize” your data before it is stored on their servers.
  2. TigerText – Designed for compliance with HIPPA and other private data regulations, this app specifically targets large companies that want an enterprise-grade ephemeral texting option for their user’s smartphones.
  3. Confide – While not as strident about security as Wickr or TigerText, this app’s hook is its colorful “decoder ring” styling. Messages appear as orange blocks on your phone and you swipe your finger over the blocks to reveal the words hidden underneath.

Currently, all of these apps are free for consumers and are available for iPhone and Android smartphones.


Six Great New Features of PowerPoint® 2013

Author: Jill Heron

Presentation design is one of AMAXRA’s core competencies. We have several PowerPoint® designers on staff that can magically transform a presentation or document in just a few hours. Below are some of our designers recent examples along with our favorite new features of PowerPoint 2013.Our favorite new features:Do you have a tight budget? The great thing about design work is even just 2 – 3 hours of cleanup time can make a big difference. Or you can pay for a bucket of hours and engage us only when you need us; having a purchase order already in place means we can respond quickly when you need some help before an important meeting or presentation.

From whiteboard to storyboard, AMAXRA has content professionals that can help you create your story and apply it to PowerPoint.

PowerPoint Training
If you need to refresh your presentation skills, we offer private or group training and we are already fully familiar with the great new features in the Office 2013 suite as well as previous versions such as Office 2007 and Office 2010.

Simply email to engage or call us at 425 749 7471.

Showing Up for Work

Author: AMAXRA Consultant Karen Desko

It used to mean getting out of bed in time to drag a comb across your head, grab a donut with your coffee, and slide into your cubicle before the boss realizes you are late and wearing the same clothes you had on yesterday. But those days of dancing until dawn and working for the man are long gone. You are all grown up now and work means so much more than funding your fun. You still have to pay the bills but you can do so much more – including having fun.

The world of work has evolved and changed. Your ability to adapt to those changes can mean the difference between enduring a necessary evil and experiencing a never ending adventure. This isn’t about choosing whether you are working to live or living to work. You need to shift your perspective about what work means to you and sincerely believe in your willingness and ability to design a way to work that truly works for you.

Assigning meaning to work is a personal matter; so much of it depends on individual needs, drives, values, motivators, talents and beliefs. It begins with thinking about why you work. Some of this has to do with your views on money – do you have a high need for financial security and a low tolerance for risk? Or are you okay as long as you have a toothbrush and a futon at the end of the day? This doesn’t mean you have a scarcity versus abundance view, it just means you need to know what your needs are so you can get them met, whatever they are.

And speaking of planning – do you like to chart your course in advance, or do you view life as a river to ride that has unseen and never anticipated turns and twists? And what do you think about time? Is it in limitless supply to you now or do you see those grains of sand dropping through the hourglass at a somewhat surprising rate? Knowing your need for details, deadlines and control will help you make career plans that fit you.

Now your values and beliefs enter into the equation. If you know what is important to you and are certain about which things you value over others, then it is easier to recognize the jobs that suit you and let go of the ones that don’t. This enables you to be happy with the choices make. It prevents you from constantly looking at what others have and wanting something different – because you know you have what you want right now.

The biggest mistake most people make about work is choosing money over values. If you want to be outside and work in nature, then being a Park Ranger is the best place for you no matter how much a Wall Street stock broker makes – because you don’t want to be a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. But if making the most money is vital because financial security is a core value for you, then you want to find things to love in high stakes and high paying jobs. The key is to experiment early, try things on, and have a plan so you can do work that feeds not only your bank account, but also your soul.

Most people who love what they do have found ways to work at things they are naturally good at and simply enjoy doing. Their vocation isn’t different from their avocation, and they have figured out that what you do for pleasure doesn’t have to be the opposite of what you do for business. Some people call this swimming in your lane- know what you are good at and find ways to do that. No matter what your mother tells you about wishing she had a dentist in the family.

If dancing until dawn and not having to get up early to ‘go to work’ is your dream, then maybe your dream job is to be a dance instructor or own a dance studio or work on a cruise ship. The key is to not limit yourself, especially early in career. If you aren’t sure what you want to be when you grow up then early career is the time to try on a lot of different things to help you get clear. Think you might like teaching? Don’t pursue a Master’s in Education, go teach for a year with the Peace Corps – the experience will enrich your life and you will know with certainty if teaching is for you.

And if you change your mind mid-career, the key is to make the shift in ways that keep you secure. If 20 years into a career in Accounting, you have been watching Top Chef and think you are really a restaurateur at heart who should run the best gourmet coffee shop in Seattle, then by all means check out if this is your true passion. But don’t do it by chucking your accounting position and paying $15,000 for a degree in Culinary Arts. Instead, find a coffee shop you like and work part time. You will find out for sure if you are destined to be the next Caffeine King or Queen and can build your dream from there.

So showing up for work is so much more than having eaten a nutritious breakfast and wearing the right clothes. You need to be in the right space; mentally, figuratively and literally. Pablo Picasso said, ‘The meaning of life is finding your gift and the purpose of life is giving it away.” So go figure out what your gift is. Discover what you love to do and then find ways to do it. Don’t worry about the money- it will come when you find your thing. Once you do this, then showing up for work is easy, because you are doing what you love and it doesn’t feel like work.

Like the idea but think it sounds scary or hard?

Learn more from six role models who are loving work and life here.
& Watch this video by Alan Watts- What if money didn’t matter

About the author: Karen is a certified instructor, executive coach, and experienced facilitator whose clients have included Microsoft, Boeing, the International Labor Organization (UN) and other organizations in the public and private sectors. She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), a Member of the Coaching Training Institute’s Faculty of Organizational Coaching, and a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, and has completed all coursework for her Master’s in Counseling from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


Karen Desko





Karen Desko on LinkedIn


‘Be Yourself’ Authenticity Builds Stronger Business Networks

Author: Jeff Hayes (AMAXRA Consultant)

The Menagerie
Walking thru a networking event is a little like a day at the zoo. You’ve got Bears and Bulls roaring about the implications of today’s stock price fluctuations. Off in the corner the Lambs are quietly sipping wine, dreaming of sunny meadows. Across the room you hear the cackle of Hyenas. A Polished Pro or two remains Owl-like, watching and wise. Throw in a few Sharks on the hunt and a Honey badger burrowing into the nearest Bee’s nest, and its a jungle in there!

Off-putting? Sure, it can be. The funny thing is, if you were to meet most of those folks in a social setting, they’d be perfectly sweet and charming. So whats going on?

Ever seen a dog pretend to be a horse? I haven’t. Does a fish ever think to itself, “Tonight, I’m going to do my best to act like a bird.”? Of course not.

They don’t, but wedo. Why do we resist our own nature? Why do we try to squeeze our round-peg selves into square holes, taking on a style and energy that don’t reflect who we really are? Are we saying that because we’re wearing our professional clothes and are in the room to do some business development, that we can’t be ourselves?

What a great way to miss an opportunity!

Birds of a feather flock together, right? Then remember that by not being yourself, the flock of people you’re attracting are also busily pretending to be someone that they’re not.

Like any other certified Entrepre-nerd, I used to operate this way too. Polished Pros would ask me what I did for fun outside of work and when I told them I surfed, they’d say “You’re a surfer? Wow! That’s so cool! Where do you go?” I’d get embarrassed and change the subject, or quickly ask them about their interests. I felt like being a surfer was a ticket to not being taken seriously. Now I realize that they could have been looking for a surfer/consultant for their next big project. Or maybe just looking for someone to go surfing with. Oops.

The fact is, rejecting who you are and not embracing your true self in order to be the “right person for the job” is a much quicker ticket to irrelevancy than being a surfer – or being a quilter or a video gamer – will ever be. I’m not suggesting that you dwell on the minutiae of your hobbies in professional settings (another pit-fall of the Entrepre-nerd) – but being excited about your life outside of work is just as important as being good at what you do. You just beat Super Duper Mario Sisters on the Triple Expert setting? That’s awesome!

Remember, the best people want to work and collaborate with people who have well-rounded lives. People who’s only interest is work tend to be people that are hard to be around, and I know “fer sher, dude” that I won’t refer my friends or clients someone who seems hard to be around.

So when the moment presents itself, tell your story, and tell it with pride. A great way to build trust in the early moments of a business relationship is by letting someone you don’t know well that you’re proud of who you are and excited about what makes you tick.

Concept into Action
The next time you find yourself in a conversation with someone interesting, look for the right moment and ask, “What do you like to do outside of work?”.  Done at a networking event this can feel a bit like hostage-taking, so be careful, but it’s a great question for getting-to-know-you meetings over coffee or a meal.
And when you’re asked the same thing, stand up tall, ignore feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, or concern about sounding like a weirdo, and share your story. Celebrate your interests. Be Yourself!

Join Jeff and other AMAXRA consultants as he shares his “How to Build a Vibrant Professional Network” presentation at our upcoming Consultant Connection After-Hours on March 4th. Pre-Register for this free event here:

See you there!

Jeff Hayes, is President of Send The Right Signals, a company who trains Professionals, Entrepreneurs, and Consultants on How to Build a Vibrant Professional Network.
A version of this article previously appeared on

Key Terminology in preparation for your next networking event.


Ten Steps to creating a Facebook Business Page Offer

Author: Andrew Spitzer

Previously Facebook offers were rewarded as a feature to business pages after they reached the 400+ “Likes” community size. However, Facebook has begun to release these to active business pages in an attempt to further promote more “paid-for” advertising opportunities. This form of Facebook advertising further cataloges the new Facebook Graph Search feature, which makes local brick-and-mortar businesses available in their search results. If you are a community manager we suggest reading Max Gladwell’s article on Graph Search Optimization- the new frontier of Facebook search and what it means for brands.

The ten Steps:
The offer feature appears present in the status update bar for those with administrator settings to your Facebook business page.
Begin by clicking the offer option.
Select how and where the offer can be redeemed.
Fill in the appropriate redemption opportunities.

The offer is limited to 90 characters so be concise and include a call-to-action. Upload a catchy image, something that represents your product, service, or brand and will capture the users attention when they see it on screen. Set a claim limit, expiration date and customize your terms and conditions.
A preview of your offer is forwarded to the email associated with the login of the page administrator who is setting up the ad.

These are “paid-for” Facebook offer ads and depending on the size of your reach the price will fluctuate. Take advantage of the targeting feature, it will realitically highlight the number of associated Facebook user accounts you are targeting for a given criteria.


Hopefully these ten steps helped walk you through what is required in running an offer on Facebook through your business page. Please leave a comment for us if you found this information helpful as you navigate your online and social media marketing avenues in the 2013 year.




Nine New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

Author: Jill Heron

It’s that time of year again when we resolve to create a new agenda and take action to put our lives on track for the New Year. If you haven’t written your New Year’s resolutions yet, take a look at the ones we put together; you might find a few useful suggestions for getting ready for 2013.

We wish you the best of luck with both your personal and professional goals in 2013. As always, your feedback and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

AMAXRA’s Twelve Blogs of Christmas – Day 6 – Megan

Today we interview Megan Toti and gained some insight as to why she is the best bowler in the AMAXRA office.

Who are you and what do you do for AMAXRA?
My name is Megan Toti and I’m the second face you meet when you walk into the AMAXRA office – the first is usually Sadie Mae, our office mascot/service dog.  I’m titled with Office & Readiness Coordinator, but the real reason AMAXRA keeps me around is to drive Sadie in and to love our homicidal fish – and their snail tankmates.

Megan Toti, Office & Readiness Coordinator at AMAXRA

Where are you celebrating the holidays this year?
I’m celebrating the holidays with my husband Jeff, daughter Kristin, dog Sadie Mae, and both cats Meowser and Hobo.

How has your work experience at AMAXRA prepared you for the holidays this year?
Let’s just say that I’ve opted to give cash this year.

What is your most unusual holiday tradition?
My parents live in Hawaii, so I enjoy sending them things like beanies and gloves, ice scrapers, and warm fuzzy socks.

What is the most meaningful holiday gift that you have received?
A long time ago, my husband gave me a bowling ball and bag one year – I thought it was more wishful than practical… but, lo and behold, we’ve been bowling in a league for years and I can’t imagine NOT having it now!

The AMAXRA Fish Tank


AMAXRA’s Twelve Blogs of Christmas – Day 5 – Ali

We celebrate 12/12/12 today by interviewing a veteran of the AMAXRA team, Ali Kristiansen.

Who are you and what do you do for AMAXRA?

My name is Ali, as AMAXRA’s Recruiting Specialist I tend to be the first touch point consultants have with AMAXRA. I meet with potential, new, and old consultants; assist with AMAXRA’s on-boarding process, ensure up-to-date and correct information is on file, keep consultants posted about opportunities and guide them through the submittal and placement process. I work with clients gathering role details and arranging interviews. Furthermore, I field recruiting questions and requests, assist with RFQ’s and host the After-Hours Consultant Connections event. I also assist in the day-to-day operations that allow AMAXRA to run smoothly and efficiently.

Ali Kristiansen, Recruiting & Operations Specialist at AMAXRA

Where are you celebrating the holidays this year?

Let’s see. . . I will be celebrating Christmas with my boyfriend’s family the 23rd and my mother the 24th. We’ll wake up Christmas morning at our house, enjoy brunch at my aunts, head to my fathers for another round of stocking and gifts and end the day with Christmas dinner at my cousins.

How has your work experience at AMAXRA prepared you for the holidays this year?

AMAXRA has taught me to maintain calmness and multitask in a crazy business environment. Christmas = crazy busy.

What is your most unusual holiday experience?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I wear my Pajamas ALL DAY Christmas – everywhere I go.

What is the most meaningful holiday gift that you have received?

My daughter made me a calendar with her artwork last year, it was precious.

Ali's daughter, Brynn Olivia

AMAXRA’s Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Day 4– Mark

Today, we interviewed AMAXRA’s Business Development Manager, Mark Ricker. In this blog, Mark reflects on his childhood holiday traditions and describes his “happy place.” 

Who are you and what do you do for AMAXRA?

My name is Mark Ricker, I am the Business Development Manager for AMAXRA and Nautilus Learning. My job is to create excitement and activity at Nautilus Learning, and to create more opportunities for the AMAXRA staff to do their magic for our clients.

Mark Ricker, Business Development Manager

Where are you celebrating the holidays this year?

My family is small and scattered. My sister lives in New Zealand. My mother lives in Santa Fe, and my father and his wife live in Eugene, OR.  Visiting my father requires the least amount of travel, so… “Hi Dad. Merry Christmas!”

How has your work experience at AMAXRA prepared you for the holidays this year?

Purple.  Some people laugh about the overabundance of purple at AMAXRA, but I like it.  It makes me happy. Normally, the holiday crowds, the traffic, and the grey, damp weather get me down. Not this year, though – I work in purple!

 What is your most unusual holiday tradition?

When I was a kid, my dad used to let me and my sister open up one Christmas gift, of his choosing, on the night before Christmas.  Every Christmas eve, my sister and I would huddle under the tree waiting for our early present, and every Christmas Eve my dad would pick one gift for each of us, and every year, that gift would invariably be… batteries. And then every Christmas Eve, I would lie awake all night anxiously trying to figure out what magical toy still under the tree those batteries were designated to fit into. Looking back, that was a pretty messed up way for my dad to torture my sister and I.
I may book a flight to Santa Fe this year.

What is the most meaningful holiday gift that you have received?

Seriously… a Rowenta iron. Ironing is like meditation for me… it’s my happy place. When I get stressed, I iron my t-shirts, my socks and underwear, my bed sheets, and even my kitchen towel. Of all the Christmas gifts I have ever received, that Rowenta iron has brought them most joy into my world.

Mark's Most Meaningful Gift. The Key to his "Happy Place."