REDBAND: Are you Social with Media? by Nate Schneider

Here is the first post from our newest member “Big Nate” Schneider. Check out his bio below…

Are you Social with Media?

There is no shortage of social media in today’s rapidly growing high-tech culture.  In my opinion, social media has two sides.  It can be an entertaining waste of time and it has the potential to boost your career.  Finding the balance between wasting time and adding real professional value can be tricky, especially for those who are just starting out.  Take a minute to analyze your social media situation by asking yourself the following questions.

1. What Is My Social Media Goal? Defining success is key.  Are you trying to represent a brand?  Share useful information?  Get a celebrity to retweet your tweet?  Gain as many followers as possible?  Expand your professional network?  Keep up with friends & family?  Earn revenue?  You see where I’m going here?  Coming to a firm understanding of your end game gives you something to aim for.  I have found writing down my goals and keeping a running log from year to year helps me stay focused and it’s starting to pay off.

2. What Social Media Accounts Can I Purge? It’s ok to let your Tumblr or Pinerest go dormant.  You can always come back to them someday in the future.  It’s good to focus your attention on a few value adding sites rather than spread yourself too thin.  You may want to open an account just to reserve your preferred user name and possibly come back to it in a few years.  Once you know your social media goals you can cut back or cut out completely time spent on sites that don’t seem to help.

3. Am I Working Hard Or Smart? Utilize free web tools!  This is exciting because you can put technology to work for you.  There are many clever web tools and free apps available to maximize your social media efficiency.  TweetDeck is a more user friendly Twitter dashboard.  Paper.li and Google Alerts can be used to stay on top of industry trends by aggregating certain feeds and keywords that matter most to you.  If you’re a heavy Facebook user, CheckOutTheLatest can be used to subscribe to YouTube channels through Facebook notifications.  Try using Buffer App to schedule future Tweets and Facebook posts so you can maintain a social media presence throughout the day while focusing on other things, like your day job.

Buffer App Tip:  Make sure the Facebook posts and Tweets you add to your queue remain authentic.  No one likes to follow a robot. If you have never had the time, energy or motivation to grab the social media bull by the horns, I would highly recommend giving it a shot.

I started taking social media seriously in 2011 with the launch of my How-To YouTube Channel.  Since then I have greatly expanded my professional network, I’ve landed job interviews, monetized my content, received free stuff, hit a million video views (almost), appeared on various podcasts and some of my video footage even made it into an ABC World News broadcast.  Not too shabby for a guy working out of his basement.  Don’t be afraid to jump in wherever you are and embrace the idea of incremental improvement. You’ll learn by doing and improve as time goes on.

Be Social.

Nate Schneider

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Nate Schneider has worked in the AV Industry since 2005 in both Live Sound and Commercial Integration. Currently he is an AV Designer by day and a YouTube Partner by night. Visit BigNate84.com to learn more about Nate and check him out on twitter at @BigNate84Howto

A must see for fans of Live events. Check out this youtube video of The Flaming Lips in Concert

A fellow REDBAND blogger, The Video Vandal,  recently went to see the Flaming Lips in concert in Montclair, NJ. He couldn’t stop raving about how great the show was. Not only did the band sound great but he was super impressed with the LED Displays, lighting, 3d  content, etc.  In particular the he showed me a clip of the Flaming Lips covering the David Bowie song “Heros” (min. 53:30 of the attached video) that looked awesome.

Thanks Video Vandal for the heads up!

Chris

REDBAND: You Don’t Have to be Big to be Professional by Mark Coxon

Mickey Rat

You Don’t Have to be Big to be Professional by Mark Coxon

I’ve taken some heat in the past from smaller integration firms, (imagine that).  I’ve learned that the term “Trunk Slammer” is an emotional hot button for almost any integrator, commercial or residential, that works out of a home office and a warehouse located in the garage.

I’ve also gotten in trouble for questioning the quality of commercial work done by residential firms who have flooded the market over the past couple years.  The assumption is that I am against small business, or against companies evolving to expand into new and different markets.  One person even commented the “Everyone has to start somewhere @$$#ole!”

I guess I’m just misunderstood.  I’m not against any of those things.  The problem is that some integrators use being small as an excuse for not doing things right, and that is the problem.  So let me be clear in my intentions:

Integrators, you don’t have to be BIG, to be PROFESSIONAL.

As such, I wanted to layout a few common pitfalls I see smaller integrators fall into, and some bootstrap budget solutions that can take their businesses up a notch.

1) Scheduling.  I see way too many integrators still utilizing  Excel files to try an manage their technicians.  A job then pops up last-minute, the Excel file wasn’t updated, etc and now installs are missed.  I understand that not every business can afford Exchange and Outlook for every employee, and coordinating multiple Google Calendars, etc can be tedious at best.  For integrators looking for a great inexpensive scheduling tool, look toward something like Zoho Calendar.  You can set up each install crew as a “Group” and then assign them to a job on the calendar, which will trigger an email alert as well.  Since this is a web-based tool, installers can access it from their phones at any time.

2) Finishing jobs in a timely fashion.  This is a common issue any integration firm faces.  A job is scheduled to take 3 days, an issue with HDMI pops up, and guess what?  You need at least a “Day 4”.  This becomes especially hard on smaller firms with fewer installers, as they may be booked the next day on a new job.  Again, if there is not a great scheduling tool in place, typically the integrator can’t even begin to speculate on their return to site.  The Zoho Calendar tool again comes in nicely to at least get a look at the team’s upcoming schedule to give an educated guess.

Here is another piece of wisdom however every integrator should know.

Finishing on time is exponentially more important that starting on time.

People remember their experience based on how it was at the “peak”, (good or bad), and the “end”.  Leaving a job unfinished for a week will kill your referral business and your client’s attitude, and may even have them withholding your final check.

Starting a day or two late will be an annoyance to say the least.  However, if you start late, and kick in some extra hours onsite to catch up and finish on time, I guarantee that client will be more impressed with your work ethic and professionalism than they would have if you started and ended on time.

3) Answering the phone.  Larger firms usually have at least someone around for the client to talk to when things go wrong onsite.  Even if it’s not the person who can do anything to solve the issue, it sure feels nice to talk to someone as opposed to leaving a message at the beep.

I think most people try to avoid confrontation whenever possible, but there is something to be said for picking up the phone, especially when we know that the caller most likely has a problem.  The little advantage you gain by hearing the issue first on voicemail and having time to formulate a response is lost as the customer boils over awaiting your call.

Pick up the phone right away.  Listen first, repeat the issue, and clarify that you heard correctly.  Then if you need time, gracefully ask for it.

“Mr. Client.  I share your concern, and I’d like to provide a true remedy as opposed to a band-aid.  I am going to explore a couple of options and then get back to you in the next hour or two to offer a solution.  What number can I reach you at later today?”

4) Returning Calls.  Believe it or not, this is a huge problem as well, especially with smaller firms.  The success of your business relies on returning calls.  Whether it is to follow-up on a sales inquiry or get back to people on solutions to their problems, no response is bad for business.  Scheduled follow-up is also a must in planning future sales calls, or remembering to call back in the first quarter when your clients new budgets come out.  Again, a great free tool from Zoho is Zoho CRM.  It allows you to manage contacts, store quotes, schedule follow-up, etc.  It is also web-based, accessible from anywhere, and it syncs with the Zoho Calendar that you are now using to track your job schedule.  It’s also free up to 3 users.  If you have more people that need access, but can’t afford to pay, you can set up a “Sales”, “Operations”, and “Management” login and give different levels of access to certain job functions.

It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to do things right. 

It takes a little determination to develop a process and tackle a slight learning curve on some new tools.  It also takes some discipline to follow the process you have set up.  However, once processes are in place and followed, they make your company look like the real deal, and more on par with your larger competitors.  It also provides a platform for you to grow, as it takes the pressure off of you as the business owner to run every aspect of the business day-to-day, and allow you to focus on making your business bigger and better.

Mark C.

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Mark has been in the IT & AV field for over 12 years. He currently works as an Account manager with  Horizon Display and is a contributor with various AV industry publications. You can follow Mark on Twitter @AVPhenom.  The expressed opinions are his own…You have been warned!

Episode 1: REDBAND RADIO

Here is the First Episode of REDBAND RADIO!

Check it out and Let us know what you think.

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http://avnation.tv/shows/redband-radio/red-001/

REDBAND: We’re in your ear!

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REDBAND is the word of day! Today I’m sitting on my back deck writing this update and feeling like a boss! I have tons of updates:

- REDBAND has officially signed with AVnation.tv. Starting this week we will debut our REDBAND podcast. The first show was secretly taped in Orlando while at Infocomm 2013. Basically Mike Brandes, Mark Coxon, myself and George Tucker sneaked into the recording room and talked about what we witnessed first hand at the show. Not all of the REDBAND bloggers were there but they will be moving forward. We are still working out the schedule for future episodes, since we are all out in the field on a daily basis.

-With the podcast news comes podcast ideas. REDBAND will be looking for feedback from the show. We will have weekly features and will depend on feedback from the listeners to make it more interactive. One feature we will be doing is a TOP 5 every show. We have some off the wall  ideas to start us off  but we will be looking for listener feedback to fuel it.

-PODCAST guests? Yes would love to bring on Guests. If you want in please let me know and we will schedule it. You have something to say, want to debate topic or us,  all are welcomed.

-You may ask whats the direction of the podcast? Well it’s not your Dad’s podcast. We do not have sponsors. We do not have advertising. We run with scissors and operate live without a net. Its unfiltered,unedited, raw shop talk about what we love and do in our industry.

-This week we introduce 2 new members to REDBAND. Matt Scott from Omega Audiovisual and a Player to be named later. Matt brings his style, hair and an international views to REDBAND.  The player to be named later is an industry pro who fits right in with REDBAND’s opinionate views but will have to use an alias in order to protect the innocent. We are always looking for more. If your interested send me an email…chrisneto@avshout.com

Look for the podcast this week!

Thanks again for following AVShout.com and REDBAND. I truley appreciate the all the feedback I recieved both online and while at infocomm. Keep it coming.

Thanks again and look for more news soon!

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

Check out my #infocomm13 Day 2 report Update

The second half of my Infocomm 2013 report has been added to the corporate TD website. 20 products that caught my eye.

Check out the link here:

Infocomm2013_day2

http://corporatetechdecisions.com/article/one_ctss_perspective_infocomm_2013

REDBAND: Infocomm 2013 Winners by Mike Brandes

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InfoComm this year was a blur. Last year I did UBTech and InfoComm and felt like I had way too much free time. This year, to correct this, I decided to load up on meetings and stay as busy as possible to make the most of the InfoComm experience. I wrote a little, last week  about my time in the CTS prep class and subsequent test; and the inherent value of continuing education. I feel the best approach to the InfoComm experience is to balance a little better between the Show Floor Only mentality, and the Load Up on Meetings stance. This year’s InfoComm was the largest show on the east coast, and it was massive to say the least. Here are my top winners from this years’ show, in no particular order.

  1. 4K
    We all remember the incredible consumer demand centered around the introduction of 3d displays and projectors a few years back; this year’s big staple for all manufacturers was 4k. Unlike 3d, I think 4K/8K will enjoy far more stable demand in both the consumer and professional AV markets, especially once content beyond digital signage and computer generated signals become more prevalent. The caveat is, if this content doesn’t become readily available, 4k/8k will wind up serving a very niche market. In my opinion, the two winners for 4K at this years’ show was LG’s 84″ 4K monitor, and Christie’s 4k 60hz projector. I would love to own both these pieces, but have to wait until the cost comes down.
  2. MS Lync Integration
    Shortly before last year’s show in Las Vegas we began implementing Microsoft Lync; and I went to InfoComm looking for all the AV I could possibly integrate with Lync to enable it to be a full UCS for our campus. I was incredibly disappointed, and almost frustrated to find out there were no real AV appliances ready to integrate with Lync. Around that time, Vaddio released the Easy USB line of professional USB peripherals for computer based web conferencing: Webex, Skype, Google +, MS Lync etc. This product line represented a solution to a few of our problems at an affordable price point. This year, however, I was blown out of the water by Vaddio’s Huddle Station and Group Station integrated approach to computer based Web Meetings. I look forward to implementing this product line to address a number of needs we have in conference room video conferencing capabilities.Additionally, Crestron was a big winner in this space. They debuted the Crestron RL system designed to integrate Lync for professional Video conferencing. With solutions for single and multiple displays, and system control and automation, Crestron as made incredible strides to reaching the those using Lync. I’m really interested in seeing this product in action in a live demo.
  3. Cloud Conferencing 
    Two years ago I was hopping on an elevator in my hotel to head to my room after a long day at the show; I noticed the group standing next to me all had red badge holders (exhibitors) and saw them eyeing my green badge holder (education customer) and my heart sank. I really didn’t know if I could handle another sales pitch, especially on an elevator with no escape or distraction. As it turned out these fine people were from a startup called Blue Jeans Networks, allowing users of different VTC systems to meet seamlessly in the cloud. Cloud Interoperability Providers represent a tremendous benefit for organizations with different methods of VTC to be able to connect with each other. This year there were several other key companies in this market. I look forward to seeing how cloud interoperability grows and becomes more affordable.

There were lots of other great things that I would love to buy and use, but aren’t great fits for my particular application requirements: Projection/Display mapping technologieswaterproof speakersspeakers that looked more like art than actual speakers and a host of fantastic other products. Sometimes I wish I could win some sort of AV lottery and just have all this great technology.

What were the three best things you saw at InfoComm?

Mike

 

Check out this post on Mike’s Blog by clicking the link Below:

http://mikebrandesav.com/2013/06/17/my-take-infocomms-big-winners/

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Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’s website http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.

Check out the Infocomm Today: Day 2 podcast from #Infocomm13

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While at Infocomm 2013 AV Helpdesk Inc. , the company I work for,  was asked to appear on the  The Infocomm Today Podcast , the official podcast of Infocomm 2013.  Steve Grace, Principal at AV Helpdesk Inc.,  and I where both interviewed on the show.

Thank you for having us on.

Chris

Check out the show by Clicking the image above or the link below…

http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/37129.htm

REDBAND: My Magical Twitter Wish By Mark Coxon

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My Magical Twitter Wish By Mark Coxon

It was awesome to be able to go to the AVNation TweetUp, and finally put some faces to the Twitter handles I see every day on my feed.  I met quite a few of the people that I follow, and was amazed that not one disappointed in person.  In fact, the personalities were amazing, and I found myself thinking that I wish Twitter could magically relate some of their qualities in more than text.  Based on that thought, I thought I’d list some AVTweeps I met, and what unique qualities they showed that I wished could come through in a written 140 words.

1)      @chris_neto- Chris Neto- Demeanor.  Reading Chris’s blogs and tweets you know he was a subversive streak, and a no nonsense style.  You also know he has an affinity for some aggressive an dark music, and used to work the night club scene.  All this combined to create an image of Chris that was much like a lovable but rowdy insomniac.  Not even close.  Chris is the epitome of Bruce Lee’s method of staying relaxed all the way until the point of impact.  He is low key and collected.  He blogs first, drinks later and goes to bed at a reasonable hour.  Beware however, because he could clinch his literary fist at any time with a pinpoint devastating RedBand blow to the solar plexus that leaves you breathless.

2)      @tuckertues- George Tucker- Contrast.  Reading George’s Tweets, you KNOW he has been around the AV Block.  His commentary can be very technical, or he can boil his analysis down using analogies that are easy to understand but not oversimplified.  This comes through in all of his online conduits, from Twitter, to AVNation podcasts, to his Tucker Tuesday and Tech Decisions blogs.  What I found out about meeting George in person though, is that he is an artist.  We have all seen those black and white pictures where the black forms an obvious image, but if you shift your eyes slightly, you notice that the white space makes a completely different image as well.  George does this with words.  If you speak to him in person, listen closely, as he will tell you just as much in his pauses and white spaces as he does in his spoken commentary.  It is genius, as it allows him to say whatever he wants, without ever speaking it, and without ever being guilty of it if accused.  He is a prime student of Polonius’ advice in Hamlet- “By indirections we find directions out.”

3)      @WomeninAV- Jennifer Willard- Accent.  You may have seen Jennifer’s stand on booth babes at electronics shows or her back and forth taunting of me about kicking my butt in #TheGame4 at InfoComm on Twitter.  To survive and prosper as a woman in the Y chromosome saturated world of AV takes guts and tenacity, so that has always come through in her online persona.  However, when I first heard Jennifer speak at the WAVE reception Wednesday night, I heard he Boston accent, and it all came rushing in.  Being cheeky and voracious is one thing, but hearing it come from a northeasterner breaks you down in a whole new way.  I read a few of her taunts again on Twitter, and suddenly realized I could not hold my own with this lady.  I was running fairly even in our exchange in my head, but the accent closed the deal.  Anyone who already knew Jennifer knew I had NO chance.  I love it!

4)      @TheAVPro- Phil Cordell- Southern Charm.  HiPhi didn’t actually come to the TweetUp that I saw, but I did see him on the floor, and met him last year as well.  If you’ve heard his album or seen his infamous “AV Professional” YouTube video you might get the impression that Phil could become funny to a fault, and may even be a little too much for some in person.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  Phil’s Tennessee charm, (I’m very familiar as my mom is from there) is the first thing you will notice when you meet him.  He is very warm and gracious.  He is extremely polite and humble, and dresses in a way that makes you want to put on some matching jeans, loafers, and a button down shirt and grab a sweet tea and some chicken and dumplings for Supper after church.  Phil is too classy to rock a mullet haircut, but I think he embodies that attitude of “Business in the front, and party in the back.”  Great balance!

5)      @mikebrandesAV- Mike Brandes- Wisdom.  OK, so that may first be thought of as a slam on Mike but it is not.  His tweets are always funny and smart, and you can tell that he is a real “connector”.   His subjects range from AV to jokes to politics and he a very active supporter of many on this list already.  In meeting Mike though, I found him to have a professorial quality that gives him a dignified presence.  Maybe it’s his dress or the manly beard, (a good beard like his can always evoke some of these impressions), but when he talks, you want to listen, because you feel like you are going to learn something new.  It is fitting that he is in the higher education space professionally.  His personality is a great bridge between the quirky and sometimes ragtag world of AV professionals and the collegiate Deans of the world.  I really enjoyed meeting you Mike!

I wish I had time enough to have had conversations with every single one of the over 100 #AVTweeps that made the #TweetUp.  I know that I would have been equally impressed with unique qualities of each of them.  Oh well, there is always next year!  See you then AVTweeps!

Mark C

REDBAND_Coxon

Mark has been in the IT & AV field for over 12 years. He currently works as an Account manager with  Horizon Display and is a contributor with various AV industry publications. You can follow Mark on Twitter @AVPhenom.  The expressed opinions are his own…You have been warned!

Check out My #infocomm13 Day 1 Show Report

Infocomm 2013 Day 1

I’m at Infocomm this week running around looking at all the great products our industry has to offer. Here is my Show report that I provided for CorporateTD. Click the image above or the Link below:

http://www.corporatetechdecisions.com/article/one_ctss_perspective_infocomm_2013_day_one

Thoughts? Feedback?

 

Chris