AV Insider Spotlight : Matthew Bute, Industry Veteran (over 20 year AV/IT veteran).

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 Matthew Bute .

Here is a brief intro about him.

AV Insider Spotlight - Matthew Bute - 1Matthew Bute has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 20 years.

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?

My experience in the AV industry began in 2003. I was working in IT infrastructure/integration and at the time, that market was struggling. Living on the gulf coast of Florida in the early 2000’s, the market for AV was just beginning to blossom. For me, taking a company to 15m+ was not enough. I wanted to enjoy the manufacturing side, which is something I did quite successfully over a 5 year period.

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

Audio/Visual integration and deployment requires someone with passion about the products and solutions they are selling and/or implementing. On the sales side, which is most my background, you must be technically proficient, but that is not enough. You must adopt and enjoy the very products which you sell. Likewise, on the operations and integration side, the same holds true.

3.What are the positives of working in this industry

This a very enjoyable industry. It offers some levels of creativity while providing stability. One can balance between bleeding edge technology and reliable traditions. In my experience, I have enjoyed working with great PR firms like Marketing Matters. Coleen Leith and Morgan Rousch have done a lot to help me launch products and solutions. In addition, I have worked with some amazing Distribution firms: Catalyst AV, Stampede, and BTX among a few.

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

A change I would like to see in the industry is proper vetting and education to the end user. One of the greatest challenges to established AV firms is the minimum barrier to entry – a credit card and a van. Whether the job is commercial or residential, often, price outweighs quality and commitment. Certain states have implemented low-voltage licensing laws that raise the bar to some extent. However, without the proper service and support staff, some providers can taint the industry with their lack of professionalism.

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

A client that pays their bills on time is ideal. I wish clients would understand the level of detail and assurance we deliver before deciding strictly based on the bottom line. The challenge we are always faced with is we are often the last trade selected and looked at like a Black Friday sale item. Granted, some of the products we sell are commoditized although our complete solution should not be undervalued.

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

I would start with a unified platform that would adequately incorporates design, sales, accounting, and operations. Multi-formatic processing is counterproductive and increases unnecessary overhead. Essentially, start from the ground up.

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

I’m a habitual reader of the local Business Journals. I have both the electronic and print editions. Being in the Bay Area, technology and business evolves at a very rapid pace. One must always be informed. Networking is also essential. I am a member of the local AIA chapter. I also use trade publications and news to stay on top of the latest technology offerings.

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

I work within an Apple Ecosystem. I use my MacBook Air, iPhone, and iPad religiously. In my current organization, we use Sugar CRM for sales and accounting. I use Notepad as a means for documentation and LinkedIn for social, business networking. My Calendar is one of the most undervalued apps. Having said that, if something is not on my calendar, it does not exist. I do not create task lists. If I need to prioritize a task, it goes on my calendar.
9. Describe any high value projects that you were responsible for in your career?

I’ve been involved with many. Emergency Operations Centers (EOC’s), multi-site deployments for dialysis centers, and many large scale residential systems (1m+) top the list. Most recently, I’ve worked with several Venture Capital firms from Sand Hill.

10. With your experience in the industry, how do you stay relevant in terms of new technology and value to the customer?

I constantly work to stay ahead of the game. InfoComm and CEDIA are great resources. However, there are other organizations, such as NSCA and CTA, that provide much more research, information and economic outlooks. Engaging with the manufacturers is also essential. Most are willing to come to you and help educate your staff via Lunch and Learns, etc. Take advantage of those offerings and if you do, take care of your vendors.

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