Monday
Sep122011

« 3 Reasons Why I'm glad I went back to CEDIA after 8 years... »

I had considered it earlier, but after chewing on it - I'm not going to do a gadget round up, there's literally a *gajillion* far more talented people who are professional writers who are way better at presenting that information to you than me, so for that stuff, please head over to their webpages and blogs...

(No really, go ahead, it's cool...I can wait, I'll leave the door unlocked for when you come back....)

Ok, so now that you've gotten your fill of shiny gadgetry, and excellent interviews and youtube videos and new acronyms that even I have a hard time keeping up with, I'm going to throw down the thoughts and impressions I took away from attending CEDIA Expo 2011. Keep in mind these are my personal opinions and there's varying (and more to the point just as valid) experiences others might have that are either in concert with mine or totally 180 degrees out of phase..

When I first started my game plan for how to approach my return to CEDIA (which you can find here) , I was primarily fixated on road maps, on where we were in the hardware vs. "it's all in the cloud" approach and I let myself get a little sidetracked about the gadgetry trap to a degree.

I show up to CEDIA prepared to scope out which companies I think are about to unknowingly clomp into their own La Brea Tar Pit of Obsolescence and I walked away (again) shaking my head that sure enough, once again it's not them that "doesn't get it", it's me....

I was focused on the parts, the cogs and whozits and whatzits of what I do, In the past few years I got spec happy again and my absence pointed out one thing that I had veered away from that I was completely oblivious to:

I'm still in the people business...

Now as totally cliche and lame as it sounds, I know it's so passé to fess up to it, especially in the days of analytics and quantifying relationship metrics as compared to sales and blah blah blah, as a small business owner, this is what not only works for me but get this, it's at the root of what makes me happy...

I'm at peace with the fact now that I'm not going to launch some gargantuan firm or revolutionize the industry, and you know what? I'm ok with that.... like REALLY ok, because in some small measure, apart from the most important parts of my life (my wife and kids) I got back in touch with my bliss from a career perspective: and that's just the simple act of being professionally aligned with people I like.

I'm naming names...

Now the cardinal rule of anytime you put something down in writing is be careful naming names... well this time I'm going to chuck that rule out the window because these are some people who I am very glad to now know and more to the point I think they're people that represent some of the best of what the industry offers.

No one prompted me to do this, and for the most part there's no upside for me taking this approach and if being authentic in my appreciation means being seen by ones who don't know me as disingenuous, then I'm willing to risk it.

Keep in mind, that these people have no active vested interest in me, in fact I just met most of them - I'm not an "industry guy" nor can I get them put to the front of the line in publications or promote to my significant following of at least dozens of people (ok, if you take out my wife, my family, my mom & dad in law - maybe my dozen of followers), heck as far as I know, knowing me could get you sent to the Phantom Zone for your very own General Zod type of banishment.

Again, keep in mind this is *MY LIST* and there's a lot more people I've left off this list than on it, and if I forgot to broadcast how cool you are and the impact you made on me.... my bad, and I'll get you on the flip side...

1) The people - Manufacturers

  • Crestron Electronics - Jeffrey Mack, Joyce Essig & Vincent Bruno - if you've not met them or spoken with them you need to F-A-S-T
  • Access Networks - Hagai Feiner, Aaron Gutin - I said it before and I'll say it again, these guys "get it" and in a manner that is balanced, realistic and driven from a place of service.
  • Krell Electronics - Bill McKiegan - High End AV has a heart and a kind soul
  • Clare Controls - Matthew Bute - Just met, and again someone who "gets" it - taking experiences from past ways of doing things and putting themselves out on the bleeding edge, I truly wish nothing but good things for their company and maverick approach, it's hard being the first to try something.
  • Certified Cyber Solutions - Doug Weinstein - If you know anything about the Elf Foundation, then you'll know how much he cares. And if you don't know about the Elf Foundation, then you need to find out.
  • Autonomic Controls - Michael De Nigris & John Trimbach - I could listen to Michael talk all day about the industry, besides being insightful he's just an all around good guy. John represents the best of the "sales guys" - he's honest, practical and is genuinely committed to making a better product and servicing clients and his dealer base.

2) The people - Custom Installers aka ESC's

  • Matt Scott aka Omega Audio Video - The hair is epic, but pales in comparison to what is great to see in this new generation of Custom Installer (woops ESC) - he's much quicker to share information and "pay it forward" than to treat you like a competitor
  • Johnny Mota - Vsys Automation - He's been willing to put himself out there in the Social Media arena, even to the point sometimes of over exposing himself, but he's been willing to share the ups and downs of his experiences honestly - again, a great example of the new generation of ESC

3) The people - Affiliated trades - Press, PR, Marketing, Consultants

  • Julie Jacobson - nuff' said - she's *THE* Julie Jacobson - there's a reason why she gets the industry accolades that she does, she's genuine and committed to the industry and the people in it. She had never even met me until the other day, and without any other reason other than to be kind, she took time out of her *insanely packed day* to assist me. Very few people do I hold in such high regard in this industry as I do her. Plus she rocks the killer 'specs that are pretty much just as cool as yours truly
  • Kimberly Fabiano - Partner - social4media and totally dropped mad knowledge bombs on me about Social Media and how it can work (and also totally napalm on you). As a woman providing services to a highly male concentrated industry, she's a fresh voice and worth listening to and following.
  • Dave Kirn - K2 Dealer Services - Also a social media guru, but more importantly one of the unsung heroes of CEDIA, when I learned exactly how much time, effort and dedication he's put into CEDIA education and community support, I can offer nothing but HUGE respect & appreciation for his selfless efforts given to the industry.
  • Jack Cotter - Online Editor for Custom Retailer, Dealerscope and several other pubs - Another one of the new up and comers (I think) in the industry - and was a sincere pleasure to meet and learn about his side of the business.
  • Rita Troyer - Integrated Marketing Assistant at CEDIA - if you were following the twitter feeds, or at any of the CEDIA sponsored events, you would see first hand how tirelessly she worked with no fanfare or calling attention to herself whatsoever, so if she's not going to ask for props, then I'm going to ask for them for her.

So there you go….

 

Next up: ESCR099 - The CEDIA Expo Social Media Forum aka "What I learned about Social Media, and the things I’ve been doing wrong…"

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Thanks so much! It is all about the people and it is great that guys like you and Johnny are so willing to let a noob like me hang around and listen to you drop knowledge bombs. Props to you for live Tweeting the Social Networking Forum for our remote #AVtweeps as well. Keep up the blog, you've got a lot to say. -Jack

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack Cotter

First of all, I am very flattered to be included with all of these wonderful people. Not sure I'm at their level but pretty good list to be included none the less.

Reading this article, you really put into words the way I feel about CEDIA. I like all of us who attend, are totally capable of geeking out over all the spec's and numbers but what I really have enjoyed the people. The biggest thing I've learned in my couple of years of attending CEDIA, is that there are alot of really cool people who are more then happy to help you any way they can. Sure there are a few people (and companies) who aren't really thinking that way but they are few and far between!

As a younger dealer, it's so encouraging to meet people, like you Rich, who are happy to answer any questions I have and impart some of the wisdom that you've obtained over your years in the industry.

Bottom line, great post! #AVTweeps are the best, we have the best people in our industry and I love meeting more of you!

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Scott

Nice post! I wish I could have made it to the Social Media forum ... I'm looking forward to reading your post on the subject.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Coffey

Great post!

As a marketer in an industry that values technology over everything else, I can say that I completely agree with you that - yes, we are in a people business.

Now all I have to figure out is how to earn a spot on your list!!

Ted
The Stratecon Group, Inc./Strategic Concepts in Marketing

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTed Green

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