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

What’s Holding You Back?

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Whether you’re working on improving yourself personally or professionally, it’s essential to have the ability to be introspective and analytical, in order to identify what you need to work on. That’s also true when you’re coaching others. In that, self-improvement has a lot in common with troubleshooting systems and equipment at work: diagnose, analyze, repair, […]

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The Joys of Cable

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Some topics, when you review them every couple of years, you come to realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I remember all the prognostication ten years ago about cable cutters and the death of TV. Being me, I always took a more pragmatic, some might even say cynical, view. […]

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Vent Covers and Ports

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Spring has sprung where I live, and that signaled the start of Spring Cleaning, both indoors and out. It was after cleaning out the garage and attempting to wash away all the grit from winter that I discovered that the hose bib had frost damage, and leaked into the basement when the tap was turned […]

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Cassettes Making a Comeback?

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One of my stock catchphrases when I re-share something on social media that I find odd or surprising is “Well, it turns out that haven’t actually seen everything yet.” That’s how I felt, and in fact keep feeling, when I see frequent mention in my newsfeed of this artist or that either releasing new material […]

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Why You Need To Avoid Underselling

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Spend any amount of time coaching salespeople and you’ll quickly see commonalities amongst them. These include not only their strengths, but also, and maybe especially, their weaknesses. The most common trait salespeople share is fear of rejection. That’s not unusual. Everybody likes being accepted, few people seek rejection. And it’s a common, easy mistake to […]

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The Joy of Change Orders

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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, […]

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Go Big Or Go Home

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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 […]

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Wellness Checks

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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 […]

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HDMI Surprise

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  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 […]

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Three Simple Things

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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 […]

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Holdbacks

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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, […]

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Filtering Out Bad Clients

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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 […]

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Going to Get Myself Connected

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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 […]

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Partnering With A Buying Group

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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 […]

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Subcontracting, Part 2.5

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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 […]

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Subcontracting, Part 2

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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 […]

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Random Encounters

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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 […]

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