AV Insider Spotlight : Godwin Mathew, Applications Engineer

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Every week,  I am highlighting on some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Godwin Mathew.
Here is a brief intro about him.
Godwin Mathew has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 10 years. From 2008, he has been working with Biamp Systems as an Applications Engineer. As a part of his job, he conducts regular product trainings ,webinars for the dealers and industry training for Infocomm.
Please drop your questions in the comments below and i will make sure that he sees them.
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
I was actually working for a lighting company. Early days were spent dealing with high end Light fixtures, lamps and their color ratings, programmable LEDs, and some DMX lights. My foray into was fortuitous, as the engineer handling a very large AV project left the company and I was the only available guy they could ship off to another city.
The project was rather large, and it was scary and daunting, as well as an incredible learning opportunity for me. I really enjoyed it though, as I love technology and it was fascinating to learn the interplay of Video, Audio and Lighting equipment .. with some low voltage control thrown in.
2. What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.
Its a niche industry, and somewhere it lacks the “legitimacy” of IT or Software companies. So lot of folks see this as a stop gap before they move on to a more “serious” career. Its going to change fast I think, everything is converging onto Networks!
The biggest challenge for a newbie in the AV industry is knowledge. Our industry has pretty much no exposure as a major employer, so the opportunities in Education are lacking and if present, not promoted enough. In recent times, there has been some effort from OEMs to support education initiatives and host trainings. I wish had all this available to me when I was starting out. I pretty much had to learn on the job and via my own research. But I love what I do and that passion helped me learn things.. even though it was rather slow going.
And indeed, Network knowledge is going to become increasing critical. Even though I work for an Audio company, majority of my work gets me directly involved with Networks. And Networking is complicated and messy to say the least with all its standards.   
 
3. What are the positives of working in this industry
 
It is a small industry, so if you are passionate enough you can grow well. You get easy access to most OEMs, which makes it easy to learn on the job. And you don’t need to have super high skill levels to progress. A basic understanding of AV systems and lots of common sense can take you long way.
 [RELATED] : If you have missed any of the previous interviews, please click here.
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4. What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
 
If there is one thing I have wished since the very beginning, its that I wish the industry was more organized. That means getting paid on time, giving proper emphasis to training, following best practices rather than cutting corners.
Best practices often gets the short shrift. It is way too common to use the wrong tools for the job, basically make do with whatever you have in your toolbag at the time. Shoddy soldering, improper terminations, incorrect terminations.
I also think that the industry as a whole should move to a certification based system, where OEM certification and other courses are given a tangible value encouraging everyone to get educated and trained.
5. Since you have been in support for many years, what are the wrong ways to support a client.
 
I hate spoonfeeding anyone who calls in for help. There are times when I can be done with a call in a minute by pointing out exactly what is wrong. But I’d rather spend 15 minutes and let them figure it out and in the process understand the system a little better. It pays in the long run.
In the same vein, helping someone by remoting in and doing the job for them also makes little sense. Unless its an issue which is very complicated, always avoid extreme hand holding. And even when remoting in, always do a great job of explaining what you are doing and making sure the engineer understands the situation.
A great motto I try to follow is “under promise, over deliver”. And that’s not to say to deliberately make things look worse than they are and then beat that. But be reasonable and realistic when promising or committing something. There are times when a repair is going to take a really short time, even still, its always best to commit a reasonable 2-3 days. There is always a slight chance of something unforeseen happening.
6. If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?
 
I would get my certification and training first. I’d seek out all of the trainings available in the industry and do them to begin with, not when its convenient but with the highest priority. 
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7. Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
 
I work from home so my typical day would a little different to most people. 
1. Morning Coffee
2. Emails – need to make sure I respond to whoever is expecting a reply.
3. Set aside time for a couple of activities no matter what. I am not diligent with this, but when I am it works wonders. For eg. If I am writing an article, I can spend half hour everyday and write a little. That gives me time to think and assess how the article is shaping up. And also look for technical errors.
4. Evening Coffee
5. Workout. Sedentary job – physical activity is a must. 
8. Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
 
I am an app junkie
1. Todoist – keep track of my todo items
2. 1password – keeps tracks of my various work related logins across phone tablet and pc (and personal ofcourse)
3. Notes app on iOS. For quick notes.
4. Whatsapp – lots of customers contact me on that now. and Skype
5. Music app  with Apple Music subscription. I need some alternative tunes while working
7. Audiotools – must have iPhone app for anyone dealing with Audio gear
8. Microsoft Onenote – Keeps track of my official meeting notes and personal notes across my devices

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On the PC
1. Wireshark – must have for network related issues
2. MS office suite ofcourse
3. Dropbox
4. Visio
 
I have many more apps, but these are the ones I use regularly.
And I love my gear:
1. Logitech H800 Wireless headset – for Skype and Voip Calls and Mobile calls. Connects with RF to PC and Bluetooth to Phone. 
2. AudioTechnica M50x headphones for critical listening (read: basically listening to  music :))
3. Tannoy 501a active studio monitor – for critical listening
4. Bose QC20 noise cancelling earphones – for when you want silence.
5. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. Drives my studio monitors and headphones, and allows me to plug in XLR mics to my PC.
6. 2 Dell 24″ monitors with a laptop dock
7. Comfy super adjustable leather chair with good lumbar support
8. Work desk with slideout keyboard. Extremely important to maintain good wrist position for long hours at the desk.
9. Wireless keyboard (Apple) and Mouse (Logitech Anywhere MX)
10. Griffin Powermate USB controller – quick mute/unmute and volume controls
11. Buffalo 2 bay NAS – for files and music and whatever else I need to digitally store.
12. and of course iPhone, iPad and my Apple watch.
 
For more information about Godwin Mathew, please find a few links.
Next week we will be featuring another AV Insider so please stay tuned. 

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Ajish Raju

About Ajish Raju

Ajish Raju is co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Favante. He loves traveling, trying new cuisines and gadgets. Reach him at ajish@ajishraju.me