Lee Distad

Lee Distad

Lee Distad is a rAVe columnist and freelance writer covering topics from CE to global business and finance in both print and online. Reach him at lee@ravepubs.com

The Joy of Change Orders

change-order-0319.jpg

It’s a truism that the first casualty of every battle is the plan. One of the realities of building things is that sometimes the plan gets changed. While ideally every eventuality gets considered and decided upon during the design and planning stages, we don’t live in an ideal world we live in this one. Consequently, […]

Read more

Go Big Or Go Home

making-a-deal-0119.gif

One of the most crucial pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, “Don’t decide for the client how much is too much. It’s not your job to say ‘no’ on their behalf.” Put another way, don’t be afraid of overselling the job; be afraid of underselling the job. This is a separate issue entirely from […]

Read more

Wellness Checks

not-a-doctor.jpg

The connected era we live in is pretty amazing. A huge proportion of my job can be done by phone, text, and email. But there’s still replacement for meeting customers in-person. Even video conferencing isn’t quite the same. If you’re a sales rep there are a lot of good reasons to travel your territory and […]

Read more

HDMI Surprise

hdmi-cables-1.jpg

  So it turns out that I can still be surprised. That I’m not as jaded and world weary as I thought. That I have not yet seen everything. Long story short, we switched our home internet and TV from Shaw to Telus Optik. That necessitated an installer to come over with a new modem […]

Read more

Three Simple Things

best-practice-1018.jpg

Since I know that I have a reputation for aphorisms, let’s start off with this one: How you do one thing is how you do everything. Best practices are a drum that I beat on a regular basis. But that’s only because they’re important. When discussing anything, it’s often helpful to frame it differently, to […]

Read more

Holdbacks

holdback-0818.jpg

It’s not a particularly glamorous topic to write about, let alone read, but anyone whose work falls within the bounds of the construction industry needs to have a grasp of liens and holdbacks, since they affect all parties, including suppliers, subcontractors, general contractors and owners. The definition of a holdback is related to its context, […]

Read more

Filtering Out Bad Clients

bad-customer-0818.jpg

Previously, I’d gone into depth about the basics of managing your relationships with your clients which, when you drill down, is about how you manage your communication with them. Early on, while talking about initial interviews and needs assessment, I’d alluded to the using the initial needs assessment as a filter, not just to identify […]

Read more

Going to Get Myself Connected

network-0818.jpg

It doesn’t feel like that long ago that network connectivity in AV hardware was an idea more noted in the breach than in the observance. But times have changed. What started with lighting control and other automation hardware eventually migrated into mainstream AV products. Honestly, once you’ve got those features, there’s no going back. Luxuries […]

Read more

Partnering With A Buying Group

warehouse-0317.jpg

Owners, general managers and inventory managers of AV companies routinely need to consider the pros and cons of buying products either from the manufacturer or a distributor. In addition to those options, there are also buying groups: an organizing of dealers who negotiate terms with their suppliers collectively. The primary rationale for buying groups is […]

Read more

Subcontracting, Part 2.5

subcontractor-0718.jpg

View parts 1 and 2 of this series here and here. There’s the old saying that sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. In order to stretch the analogy to its limit, I wanted to digress from my topic of addressing the pros and cons of hiring and using subcontractors to […]

Read more

Subcontracting, Part 2

businessman-analyzing-data-0718.jpg

Previously, I began an exploration of the relationship between AV pros and subcontractors, and examined ways in which the relationship can work. Now it’s time to consider the converse: when it doesn’t. We all know that not everything pans out. Silicon Valley old-timer James Altucher famously said, “90 percent of everything doesn’t work out.” One […]

Read more

Random Encounters

house-calls.jpg

When you deal with the public you get to meet all kinds of people, for better or for worse. Most people you deal with are average, and as a result not necessarily memorable. Others are more memorable, and not always in a good way. I had a new client who wanted a retrofit project: a […]

Read more

Subcontracting: Part 1

outsourcing-0618.jpg

It’s not lost on veteran AV pros that even as they need to make the best use of their client’s budget, in order to do that they need to make the best use of their own. That means allocating your firm’s funds, resources and expertise in a way that maximizes everything from effectiveness to profitability. […]

Read more

Reaffirming Top-Down Selling

sales-graph.jpg

We all have things that we hold dear. And often, the things that we believe are so internalized that we take them for granted, assuming that everyone else knows what we do. Take baking bread, for example. When leading training I often use that as an example of a basic skill. The thing about baking […]

Read more

The Joys Of Troubleshooting

troubleshooting-0518.jpg

Everyone who knows me knows that I have an aphorism for every occasion. (I have sports metaphors too, but that’s not the topic at hand today.) One of my favorite aphorisms (although really, I have so many, it’s hard to choose a favorite) is that “Professionalism isn’t about not having problems: Everyone has problems. Professionalism […]

Read more