AV Insider Spotlight : Mike Backler, Senior Programmer at Lucid Partnership LLP


Each 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 Mike Backler .

Here is a brief intro about him.

Mike Backler has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 20 years. He is currently working as Senior Programmer at Lucid Partnership LLP.

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?

As with many people I fell into the AV industry by accident. I was working on an Aeronautical engineering degree when my friend who had done acoustics suggested I come join him at a Residential dealer. I spent a few months delivering TVs and VCRs as part of the rental business before moving into Custom installation. I did most of the jobs involved in creating customer systems from Programming Lutron, Crestron, Prontos. To dressing racks and testing wiring in the freezing cold.

2.What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.

Where to start! So many new technologies competing in the same space. Where do I start with my training? What is the best return on investment of time and money to get myself established in the industry. While I’m only as good as my last job there’s a need to build and maintain a level of competency with a lot of different manufacturers equipment and technologies. That more than anything else is the main challenge I think we’re facing.

3.What are the positives of working in this industry.

We get to play with new and exciting technologies on a daily basis. A lot of what we do in the AV side of things is actually providing something that gives great pleasure to the end customer. We also have the ability now to make real impacts on people’s lives using sensors and tracking to allow the technology to work in harmony with the customer rather than forcing them to learn a set of buttons.

4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?

Standards are something that I go back and forth on. To be an AV installer requires little to no formal education, just a bag of tools and a customer. Ideally training and standards should be something the industry provides to help end customers really understand who they are employing and that they have the technical expertise in the AV industry and work to standards and qualities that we see in similar industries to our own such as IT and Electricity. If not more standards just raising the awareness of the qualifications that we have within AV already with CTS, Crestron’s DMC-E-4K etc that show a level of competency in the field of AV.

5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.

For me the ideal client is one that thinks of AV as another service in their installation, doesn’t think of it in terms of little hi-fi but actually understands to a degree both what is and isn’t possible with current technologies and hires me to provide a solid solution and takes my advice when it is given on what products to pair with each other.

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6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?

I’d concentrate on gaining skills in C# programming earlier. I’m on the back foot a little having only done other languages and now within Crestron with C# becoming a serious part of our programming I’m rushing to try and catch up with the skills I need.

7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?

Luckily my role as developer gives me a chance to work from home. I still visit the office in London regularly to catch up with the team and to run some internal trainings to help us all raise our game. Typical day at home involves a lot of desk time but I do try and get out for a walk which often helps clear the writers block or helps solve a piece of code. Office days are a commute into London where I get to catch up on my reading. Followed by catch up with the team and more recently training.

8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?

Apps that I use constantly are:
Dropbox, for sharing files quickly and easily, sharing between my desktop and laptop and providing a quick backup to both.
Wunderlist, again sharing information, to do lists. Helps keep me on track with what I’m doing at any particular time.
GitHub, for project development it’s crucial we have tracking on projects and GitHub allows me to go back in time or branch out code for testing and trying different things.
Google Hangouts, this is how we keep in touch as a company, with many of our team out of the office we have integrated with the google suite of services and hangouts helps me contact our team in a hurry.

For more information about Mike, check out his LinkedIn profile.


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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