Each week, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. Today we are profiling Mark Coxon . Here is a brief introduction.
Mark is a 15 year AV and IT veteran. He has worked on projects for Digital Signage, Video Wall, Interactive systems and various other AV and IT systems that he designed and sold to Akamai Technologies, ComScore, CB Richard Ellis, Lockheed Martin, the US Navy Operations Center, and the University of Oregon, just to name a few. He has always excelled at communicating complex ideas in simple ways and in connecting with people. He is active in writing industry articles and white papers, as well as being a panelist and moderator in many industry webinars and educational events. He has also worked in residential audio video, designing more than 2000 home AV systems for builders like DR Horton, Toll Brothers, Shea Homes, David Weekley Homes, etc.
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
I got my start in AV from a friend of mine I met when I worked at IBM Direct. He left to work at a residential integrator and he pulled me over to work with him a year later. I literally couldn’t program my VCR when I started. That was in 2002. I did residential AV until 2007. After the housing crash, I helped turn our company toward light commercial work to supplement the falling residential business. In 2009 I moved to California to join a museum integrator, where I did business development until 2013. Then I got into the manufacturing side of the business, where I am today!
2.What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
The biggest challenge for new people wanting to join the industry is that AV is a very incestuous business. The same people just rotate around between the available positions. I guess I can’t complain too much, because i have benefited from this as well. The joke in AV though is that there are 10,000 people and 10,001 jobs. One job is always open to start the musical chairs in motion. Seriously though, there are a few people in this industry who should really exit and let in some new blood. We need more people from computer programming, behavioral psychology, architectural, and design backgrounds for the future growth of our industry.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry?
The positives for me are that AV can be an amazing creative outlet. I totally geek out on this stuff. I love being involved in one of a kind projects or being tagged as a resource in a difficult design. I’ve also had opportunities to blog and podcast about AV, which really keeps me on my toes!
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4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
There are a couple things I’d change if it were up to me, but it’s definitely not! As I mentioned above, I think there is some dead weight in the industry that could be shed to make room for our future.
I also think that many times we get enamored with our own capabilities, which means we are overconfident at times. That may hurt us in the face of growing competition from both peripheral markets entering AV as well as from consumerization of our hardware and devices. I don’t think we as an industry have always delivered on our full value proposition, and if we don’t own that, we won’t have the credibility to charge more for what the client sees as a similar solution. Too often when the customer is not satisfied, I hear that it is the customer’s fault for not understanding what they bought, as opposed to our fault for not doing a better job of explaining what they were buying, or even worse, understanding what they actually needed in the first place.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
My ideal clients are really integrators, as my company doesn’t sell directly to end users. However, integrators that have clients that understand value vs. price, cost vs. total cost of ownership, and who need accurate, crisp images as well as cutting edge devices and syatems for sharing content and managing their systems are a perfect fit for our value proposition.
One thing that I wished clients knew before they hired me is how personally I take my comittments. I can’t control every part of the process, and of course I make mistakes too, but when things go off track I will try everything and anything to make things right.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?
I’m not quite sure that I’d do much differently. I know that every part of my journey has added value for the next stage. Most of the decisions I thought I regretted in the short term, ended up being very good decisons in the long term after all. I second guess myself a little too much sometimes, maybe I’d change that!
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
A typical day? Wake up to several emails. Sort through what is an emergency and what can wait til midday. Resolve any outstanding issues with POs, deliveries, demos that need to come in/go out. Perhaps jump on an AM conference call. Help integrators specify products for projects. Manage my rep fiirm partners. Update my leads and opportunities in CRM. Follow up on open projects. Do product demos for integrators and end users. Answer product questions for end users and connect them to dealers for purchasing them. Return phone calls. After the close of business, write a blog, do a podcast, or engage in social media on behalf of myself and marketing. Oh yeah, and sometimes I do all this while traveling to/through/from one of the cities in my 4 state territory.
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
I utilize Twitter, LinkedIn for networking and social media. Slack and Workplace are often used for increasing productivity and efficiency with coworkers. I have an iPhone and a laptop of course for posting up at coffee shops on the road to get work done in between meetings. I also have quite a few spreadsheet based calculators I utilize for lens calculations, brightness assesments, pixel density recommendations, etc. inSSIDer helps with WiFi bandwidth issue assesment when things may not be performing at optimum levels.
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
Training (I have my CTS-D and CTS-I from AVIXA), blogging, reading, networking and most importantly, keeping up on other industries that directly affect ours!
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