Arizona Sunset


I was in Phoenix this weekend for the 2013 National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) Business & Leadership Conference…more to follow.

REDBAND: Helping DIY’ers Recognize the Benefits of Professional Home Automation By Todd Anthony Puma

Helping DIY’ers Recognize the Benefits of Professional Home Automation

By Todd Anthony Puma

My wife and I went to meet a new neighbor who didn’t know that I am a custom integrator. He couldn’t stop raving about his new wireless audio system and universal remote, both of which he bought at a big box store. I struggled with it, but I kept my mouth shut.

We’ve all been there. A customer calls us to do an estimate and when we get there, they start talking about consumer-grade, DIY systems that they’ve heard about or used in their summer vacation home. You know that the custom solution is better, but they already have a picture in their head. So how do you convince them that what you sell is right for them, often when what you’ll be recommending is more expensive?

I always make sure to start with the current situation, their lifestyle, and how they will use the system. If it is a retrofit project, some of the consumer-grade audio solutions can work well; if it’s wireless and doesn’t require running new wires or patching and painting. However if it is a renovation or new construction, I then start with the reliability discussion.

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Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: 3 AV questions in my ransacked mind by The Video Vandal

3 AV questions in my ransacked mind by The Video Vandal


  1. How is that other industries have measuring sticks that take into account Experience, Certifications and Degrees when it equates to Salary? Yet the AV industry appears to be the Wild West with regards to Careers and Salaries? For example a technician with 10 yrs. Install experience “cannot just jump into engineering” within the same company?  Is he/she too valuable as the “Super Tech” to let go into another department? Or how about a recent College Grad who will not be interviewed for a Jr. Engineer position?  “You’ll need to work your way up”.  You could argue the details but how many people reading this already know of someone in those 2 examples above. The industry associations wonder where the talent is going to come from in the future? If your members keep perpetuating this mindset and they will find themselves with a lot fewer choices in the talent pool.
  2. AV Integrators and Service providers that promote training opportunities and the value of Certification only during an interview process.  How quickly does their tune change once you sign on the dotted line? I have a problem with this on so many levels. First Point: I can’t stand the bait and switch style of doing business. Don’t go back on your promise of training especially since it was so strongly emphasized during the interview.  Second point: You’re doing more harm to your company and to the industry than good. You can either support career development within your company or continue complaining about high employee turnover rate.  By the way are you that naive to think that your customers do not notice the “revolving door” of staff thrown into projects? Work with your talent don’t leave them hanging out to dry.
  3. I have worked for and alongside many on site AV support people.  If you think your AV Job is a tough one try walking in the “running” shoes of an onsite AV support tech.  Not only do they have to deal with integrators and their lack of respect for what they do  but within the company and organizations they are supporting they are still viewed as Cart or Button pushers. Really?  They maintain and support conference rooms, auditoriums, videoconference systems, Video bridges, TV distribution systems, digital signage, conduct live events and deliver equipment. They provide solutions and coordination for every little thing in a corporate or university meeting space. Their experience onsite should translate very well into an AV job outside the corporate walls. I know former site techs branded as not having enough field experience to get hired as techs. There is no excuse for this. Why shouldn’t they be working right now as project managers or customer service reps in our industry?  Is this another example of  “the way things are”?  Get Past it! Fortunately there  is a simple fix:   Listen without preconceived notions.

Yeahhhhh…. I went there.

Video Vandal


RedBand: Your Doing It Wrong! by John Sciacca

Your Doing It Wrong! by John Sciacca

Because I like you, I’m going to share a hard truth with you. Because friends can be honest with each other, right, and say the tough things that need to be said.

Here goes: You’re not perfect.

And whether you’ve been in business for one year or 20 years, fresh out of CEDIA Boot Camp or a grizzled “I remember when you had to spend 12 hours calibrating a CRT!” vet, you are probably making a number of mistakes. Mistakes that are costing you business and ultimately costing you money.

And these mistakes are frequently two sides of the same coin, either doing too much or too little. Fortunately, these are mistakes that you can rectify. Examine this list of six common business errors and then take an introspective look at your company and see where you can tighten up…

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John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog


AV 101: Good, Better, Best




This one is new to me… I have never seen, or just never noticed, the good, better, best designation on HDTV’s.


Check out this month’s edition of InAVate Magazine

January/February 2013 InAVate Magazine

This month I am in InAVate Magazine. I was interviewed by Anna Mitchell for the article “Beauty with Brains”. The feature is on Page 32 of the magazine. You can read the article by following the either of the links below. One will take you to InAVate’s website while the other will take you to the Active Magazine Subscriber site. Check it out and let me know what you think?

Thanks again for checking out the site.



InAVate Magazine Jan2012

REDBAND: Social Media: Friend and Foe for Your Business? By Todd Anthony Puma

Todd questions the use of Social media and Customer Relations…

Social Media: Friend and Foe for Your Business? by Todd Anthony Puma

While killing time waiting for an oil change, you decide to flip through today’s Twitter feed. You check your best friend’s last tweet and although they don’t mention you by name, you just know that they’re referring to a conversation you had with them the night before. It just burns you up inside that they had the nerve to post it so that all of their followers could read it. You call your friend and the two of you fight it out until he agrees to remove the tweet from his page.

But what if it’s not that easy? What if it’s you in the “tweeting” seat and you have posted about someone that you don’t know well enough to work it out? What if you vented about a job you were working on earlier in the day and [gasp] that client saw it and knew you were talking about them?…

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Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: Clare Controls Online Training was Purely Hands-On by Todd Anthony Puma

Todd goes to school on Clare Controls…

Clare Controls Online Training was Purely Hands-On By Todd Anthony Puma

Remember those huge lecture halls in college with more than 100 students jammed into an auditorium, or even classes of 30 kids or more in high school? How easy was it to zone out, not pay attention, or just get lost in the crowd?

Ever have that experience doing product training with a manufacturer of consumer electronics products? Large class sizes can really influence how effective a training will be and just how much you get out of it.

A few weeks ago, I posted a story about the importance of a great rep firm with an on-site training facility. Well, it doesn’t apply just to rep firms. Being able to do a hands-on training with a manufacturer is crucial, and doubly so when it’s for an AV control system…

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Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .