AV Insider Spotlight : Sam Malik, Industry Veteran (over 20 years).

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 Sam Malik.

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Here is a brief intro about him

Sam Malik has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 20 years.

1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?

I began my career working with new technology called “PC’s” back in 1980. After 13 years working with Apple, IBM, Compaq and others, I wanted to make another technology leap, but still stay in a related field to Computers. I found the dawn of the AV or Audio Video Industry. Initially going to work for a company named: nView in Virginia I was a Regional Sales Manager selling their Flat Panel Technology that connected to a computer and laid on top of an overhead projector in order to display computer images on a big screen. These only produced 150 lumens of brightness and most were SVGA or XGA but this was early projection technology. I was recruited a year later by Toshiba to join them and launch their Projector business in the USA. I was the first employee of this Division and we quickly grew to nearly 50 people and $100 million in annual sales revenue. I left Toshiba to join Vivitech a Delta Company for 1 year and then was recruited by SANYO to join their Projector team. After 4.5 years at Sanyo, they were purchased by Panasonic and I departed and joined Premier Mounts and got to work with Len Dozier for a year. Premier gave me additional International experience as they had an office in the UK that sold throughout Europe. I was recruited by an old Sanyo Co-Worker to come back into the projector business and joined ASK Proxima to build the sales office in the USA. When the parent company faltered, I raised capital and became the owner of Proxima Displays Inc.

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

Today’s AV business has changed quite a bit from the early days which had a lot of simple box sales. Today’s AV Professional needs to have a great deal of knowledge related to the total solution, There is much more that is expected from the customer than just plugging in a Projector. I believe a new person needs to work and become CTS Certified and develop a solid understanding and at least a base IT knowledge. There is a lot of equipment that goes into a project these day from the displays technology, to screens, to mounts, to the IT portion of how to connect and control all of it easily in a multitude of environments. These are the challenges new comers must face in the AV Industry.

 

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3.What are the positives of working in this industry

There are many positives, from getting to YES with the End User and having them accept your proposal and equipment to seeing the final solution installed and up and running are all very rewarding. Internally, helping our partners earn a good profit and making a profit ourselves is very rewarding as well. I look at our industry of which i have been fortunate to have a career and been a part of for 20+ years, and I feel lucky and blessed both. Yes, it is hard work that creates success and the rewards, but AV = opportunity for those that apply themselves and contribute.

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

This industry shapes itself. However, if i could change one thing, i would have kept AV out of the eCommerce marketplace. There are a lot of manufacturers that are so eager to sell their product that they are willing to sign up anyone to sell their products. This means a lot of unscrupulous internet re-sellers that just take the data feed from Distribution, mark-up a $6,000 projector 2% and list it on the internet. This $6,000 projector or related device requires installation, support, technical knowledge and training to make it sign and dance to meet the customers requirement. With the profit removed or reduced to 2% the dealer cannot afford to provide the high level of support required before and after the sale. In the end the customer and AV suffers. I realize the Internet cannot be stopped, this is the way of our life today, however this is the one thing I would go back and change if I could.

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

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The ideal client has a vision of what they want the end result to be and a proper budget to be able to afford to make that vision reality. That client understands that I am in business along with my dealer partners for a profit, and we will deliver the very best equipment, installation, and support to make their vision into reality. I have been in the AV Industry for 20+ years, so i have made a lot of good friends and business partnerships. My word and my handshake are my bond and I take that very seriously, so when i commit to do something, I am certain it can be done and within budget.

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

Other than trying to keep AV out of the e-Commerce Internet sales I would not change anything. I have worked for a great companies like Toshiba and Sanyo, and I have traveled all over the world for business related to the AV Industry. Having flown more than 3 Million miles, and visited 5 Continents, I have been afforded a great opportunity to contribute and give back to the industry that has been good to me as well. It has been fun watching to great technologies start from scratch, first the PC business and then the AV Industry. To see a new technology begin and then grow into the worldwide business that it has become is very interesting for me. I am eager to see the next chapter of this business as well.

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

I am an early riser, my day typically begins at 5:30am with a commute and some quiet time in the office before everyone else arrives and things get busy. I check thru my emails and messages, and develop the action plan and priorities for that day that must be accomplished. I try to work on the toughest projects first, and finish the day with lesser priorities. I try and take advantage of any downtime by personally calling clients or industry contacts to “check in” and make sure everything is on track or going as expected. Maintaining those direct contacts and connections is essential to having long term relationships that last years instead of a single project.

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

I am a PC guy with an iPhone. I try and keep it pretty simple. My contacts and connections are essential, and easy access to my social media tools and email as well. I am always careful to turn off my phone when in a meeting or at a job site so that I can devote 100% of my attention to listening to the client and people I work with without distraction. We did it years ago before “Smartphones” existed and it worked just fine. Not being in full contact for 30 minutes will not cost you anything, but paying 100% attention will win you a lot more business in the long run!

9. Let me know how you build one of the largest Industry related groups in LinkedIn.

I started AV Industry Professionals on Linkedin about 5+ years ago mainly because my children knew more about Social Media than I did. Having come from the early days of the PC industry, i found this hard to accept. I thought how great it would be if other people in the AV industry could connect easily, share ideas, share contacts, share needs and questions. I found the Linkedin platform and it looked exactly like what I needed. I started by inviting about 50 of my friends that I thought were good Industry friends and resources. I scrutinized posting, tried to keep the “Facebook” posts out, as well as general product promotion postings. We focused on AV Discussions, new technology, general issues and problems, etc… an it organically took hold and grew. I remember when we hit 1,000, then 5,000, and then 10,000 members in the group from all over the world. As of today we have over 35,000 members in the group which is roughly double that of ICIA or the Infocomm Group. We get about 100 new requests per week, so we expect to reach 40,000 members in the near future. I guess people see a value in what we started, I am really happy to see that and be part of AVIP.

Please drop your questions in the comments below and i will make sure that he sees them.

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For more information about  Sam Malik , please find a few links.

Next week we will be featuring another AV Insider so please stay tuned. 

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