REDBAND: Get Better or Get Left Behind by Matt D. Scott

“We’re up all night ’til the sun, 

We’re up all night to get some, 

We’re up all night for good fun, 

We’re up all night to get lucky.”

-  Daft Punk

The song of the summer this year seems to be Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. Now if you’re old enough, you’ll remember some of the great track that Daft Punk was known for and you’ll be very pleased with the album they’ve recently released. If you haven’t picked up/downloaded a copy, this is my endorsement, go get it!

Now back to the topic at hand, You’re wondering what Daft Punk has to do with my article today. Well, nothing actually! I just wanted to bring Daft Punk into a blog post. Now to be honest, the title is GET BETTER… Which is close to Get Lucky. I know, it’s a stretch, don’t worry about it!

So what do I mean by Get Better! I’m talking to all of us in this business.

I Want YOU to GET BETTER! — Yes, You!

I want you to do better in your job, to do a better job every day. I’m getting tired of seeing integrators cutting corners, cheeping out, using inferior equipment. It’s time to take some pride in what you do. Pretend that you ACTUALLY care about what you do and that you care about the end result that you provide your clients. It’s time for you to grow up and put in some effort.

Now I’m not talking to everyone out there, but there’s an awful large number out there that need to listen to what I’m saying (well typing, technically). I know there are many of you who are working hard at being the best you can be and I get that. Unfortunately there are too many integrators out there that have just put forth a very lackadaisical effort towards their work. I’m hoping this isn’t you, and hopefully it isn’t but let me get into some examples   and you can reflect.

  1. It’s time to take some pride in your work, this means your regular work. This can easily come down to just the care and pride you take to make your work neat. I own my company and I am a neat freak when it comes to things like this. Our racks are exceptional, our structured wiring installs are perfectly straight, even and level. Now this is the same in our Resi work as it is in our commercial work. We label (and not just a sharpie on the cable jacket) all of our wiring, we document our work. Now, I’m not bragging on myself or my guys, I’m strictly trying to explain a point. If you’ve done your job properly, another company should be able to walk onto one of your jobs and determine everything you did in a matter of minutes. That is the truest test I know to ensure that you’ve provided a clear and concise solution in every aspect of your project.
  2. It’s time to provide proper products, stop giving your clients crap! This is one of my biggest issues in our industry. It’s the guys that are trying (and unfortunately they are succeeding all too often) to sell their clients on inferior products as if they are name brand products. Let me give you a few examples: We recently fixed an entire residential audio system that consisted of some knock off/house brand speakers and controls that were sold at price points comparable to main brands that you would know. Unfortunately because they aren’t built to the same specs as the name-brand products, the performance isn’t there and worse they have worn out and are needing to be replaced much early then the expected lifecycle. We also recently worked on a commercial project that constituted of knock off CCTV products, which were again sold fairly similar to the price points of proper name-brand equipment. We were called in because of the constant service calls that were required to attempt to keep this sub-par system running. Now I know that there will always be clients who want a cheap solution and don’t care about the quality of the system but it’s time for us as professionals to step up and stop offering crap that we wouldn’t put into our homes or businesses into our clients!
  3. Stop trying to work outside of your expertise, you’re not helping yourself, and more importantly you’re not helping your clients! I’m getting tired of alarm companies and electricians, thinking because they watched a YouTube how-to, or attending a Cedia webinar and all the sudden they want to build your client a huge custom theatre. It doesn’t work like that. They would feel the same way if we decided that we were gonna jump into their fields. Think I’m wrong, I’m not… I’ve felt that pushback as a big Lutron RadioRA2 dealer. They push back hard. In the commercial world it’s the same thing, being a rental shop doesn’t mean that you’re instantly qualified to spec boardrooms. Every time you jump out and try to provide a solution you hope will work, you’re hurting our industry. You’re hurting my industry, and to be honest I take offence to that.
  4. Stop selling 20 year old solutions! I can’t believe I’ve got to touch on this, but seriously people. I don’t want to see any more systems deployed with AV gear that I  wouldn’t have even built-in 1999. Seriously people, step it up. There are so many amazing products that have come to market in the last 2 years that are designed to solve problems and make systems effective and yet I continue to see big huge power sucking amps that haven’t changed in 15 yrs when a tiny drive core would be more than sufficient. Let’s pretend that we actually go to the shows and we actually pay some attention to new technologies. I know, I know, it’s as shocking to me as it is to you, but there has been some innovation in our industry in the last five years. Why not actually make use of some of that innovation!

Now don’t get me wrong, If you are learning and trying to grow… I’m all good with that! Are you kidding, I’ll help you any way I can and even help train you myself if you’d like. I also know that this doesn’t apply to all of us, but If you’re honest with yourself and honest about your business. You know that you have areas you can improve in. I know I’m always going over what I’m doing and what my company is doing to find areas where we can do better! When you stop trying to increase and grow, you become stagnant and that’s not what I want for my business or our industry! I want to grow our industry, but not with low quality work, low quality products, and low quality solutions. We need to see an increase in people and quality in our industry, but we don’t just need extra bodies floating around providing bad solutions and bad products to the general populace. The only thing providing a bad solution will accomplish is to tarnish our reputation and cause our clients to become jaded towards our industry.

You see you need to get past the concept of just selling a project to pay the bills today and take a little bit of responsibility towards your business and our industry in general. Once we realize that every project we do equates to a small part of our business’ identity, I believe we’ll continually attempt to increase the quality of our work, with in turn will increase the quality of our businesses. Bottom line: It’s time for all of us to GET BETTER!

- Matt D. Scott

REDBANDMDSFinal

Matt D. Scott is the president and founder of OMEGA Audio Video, in London, Ontario. Matt had his first encounter with Pro-Audio at age 6 when a PA loudspeaker fell, cracking his head, and leaving a scar to this day. After mopping up the blood, Matt started his AV career and has been working in Pro AV, Commercial AV, and Residential AV ever since. Matt loves the industry and all things tech! Check out his website: omegaaudiovideo.com and  follow him on Twitter: @mattdscott.

Comments

  1. Yes. Yes. 10,000 Times Yes.

  2. bigjimslade says:

    It also something about what our clientele is willing to pay (or not pay) for on a typical job. Ultimately you get what you pay for, and that’s only if you deal with someone reputable.
    It’s not hard to find someone willing to do what you do for half the price in this industry. I know design companies that have their documentation generated in India for a third the price- to them it’s good business and generally the client doesn’t really care until something goes seriously wrong.
    Sadly, it can go really wrong and rarely does the end client blame themselves for creating the situation in the first place. “Competitive bidding” in today’s world means the cheapest price. Capability, quality, and schedule performance are at best afterthoughts.

  3. Amen brother! I just came from a dealer/installer/integrator show and spoke with a very significant CI dealer who told me that one of the most significant “growth segments” to his business is “fixing other integrators mistakes.”

    While he appreciated the customers confidence in his ability to fix the previous company’s errors – even he recognized how this created a MAJOR black eye for our industry. IT’S A HUGE PROBLEM!!

  4. When I started blogging, one of the best pieces of advice I read was to write my posts in entirety, then go back and delete the first one or two paragraphs. The result? The posts always were equal or better without my first two paragraphs. You could also benefit from this advice. Otherwise, good post.

  5. Great post! Especially #3 – excellent advice for all professionals.

Speak Your Mind

*