He called me and text messaged me more than a dozen times during CompTIA Breakaway. He runs a fast-growing managed service provider. And he isn't using traditional technologies to do so. Who is this guy, and why does he want to talk to MSPmentor?

Here are some answers.

Michael Proper is founder, president and CEO of DirectPointe, which sits atop our MSPmentor 100 list (2007-2008 edition). We played phone tag multiple times at Breakaway, and finally connected for a few minutes on Wednesday.

I'm glad Mike tracked me down. And when I describe him as "aggressive," I mean that as a positive rather than a negative. Whether it's his pursuit of a face-to-face meeting or a sale, the guy doesn't quit.

During our brief chat, Mike reminded me that his MSP business is built entirely on open source solutions. I'm not suggesting that all open source is better than closed source. But I like Mike's approach because open source allows him to truly control DirectPointe's destiny.

Because of that conversation, I quickly realized that there's a key disconnect between open source vendors and the IT channel. Specifically, open source companies largely skipped CompTIA Breakaway.

Sure, some open source companies like Untangle are promoting their strategies to MSPs and VARs. But many other open source providers still don't understand the IT channel.

I suspect Mike will be one of the key voices who corrects that disconnect. He meets regularly with major open source companies (more on that later) to help chart his own business strategy. Hopefully, future meetings of that nature occur at major channel events.