What Happens When Gary Kayye Interviews Industry Pros During LAVNCH? GARY: Unscripted

Gary Kayye and Victoria Cerami

If you joined us for LAVNCH WEEK 3.0, you likely noticed that we had a new segment dubbed “GARY: Unscripted.” The concept is pretty much explained by the name: Gary Kayye hosted a series of rapid-fire, 10-minute sessions, where he would interview industry professionals with no script — a completely off-the-cuff conversation.

Kayye interviewed a total of 12 people over two days of LAVNCH WEEK 3.0. Here are a few of my favorite moments and blurbs from each interview:

ProAV Day

  • Amanda Boyer (AV Chicago) — Boyer and Kayye chatted about something on the forefront of all our minds: What is going to happen with live events in 2021? She says it’s going to be important to design experiences for virtual and in-person attendees at the same time. At the end of the day, it’s critical to keep the entire audience engaged — not just one part of that audience.
  • Randy Klein (Crestron) — Kayye and Klein talked about what they had both been up to during COVID-19 because — let’s face it — it’s difficult keeping a company up and running right now. Randy said, “my daily life is like yours. We sit here and look at each other.” (He is referring to the videoconferencing boom.) The two also discussed the “Zoom Boom of 2020” (I truly don’t know if someone else coined that or if I did). But the point is — Zoom jumped from having 10 million to 300 million users at the beginning of 2020 — and thus our working lives were changed for good.
  • Dave Labuskes (AVIXA) — Kayye and Labuskes discussed the InfoComm postponement to October 2021 (collectively I believe we all support this move). Kayye forecasted a 100% chance of the show happening and being one to push us forward to more in-person events. They also discussed Labuskes’ piece of advice for the industry as we push through 2021: Think of the “how” before thinking of the “why.”
  • Merry McCleary (AVI Systems) — McCleary talked about her career path (she happened to meet Gary right at the beginning of her AV journey) and about how she got to where she is today. Hint: It’s a very cool and unique career path, as many of us have in AV!
  • Jaime Raffone (Sony) — Raffone and Kayye discussed the fact that Sony is one of the few brands with every type of display product. The company is constantly expanding its BRAVIA line — and it’s something Raffone says is important to the company. (We use two 75-inch BRAVIA displays in the LAVNCH studio — I think I am allowed to say that the quality is 10/10 would recommend.)
  • Rashid Skaf (Biamp) — During this portion, Skaf talked about Biamp’s company history and whether it would be taking a piece of the video-first pie. In other news, Skaf bought a ranch this year, so that has added an extra layer of trying to work in his job and work there at the same time. It was refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one struggling to keep up with all of my different roles and commitments during COVID.

My favorite tweet of the hour:

End User Day

  • Victoria Cerami (Cerami & Associates) — Cerami talked to Kayye about the projects Cerami & Associates has been working on — including a Disney headquarters project (I can only imagine the kind of creativity around that goes into that!) and another project for Discovery Channel. Cerami couldn’t say too much (NDA) but she did mention that any time a project has issues — it opens up opportunity to be creative in their solutions.
  • Jennifer Cheh (Sharp/NEC) — Kayye asked Cheh where the opportunities are right now in the industry. Cheh says Sharp/NEC is lucky to have a big portfolio of different types of products. So, this company has seen sequential month-over-month growth since COVID hit the AV industry — particularly in healthcare and education. However, entertainment and live events did take a hit and are still working on climbing back up.
  • Kevin Collins (Diversified) — Diversified is the second-largest integrator in the world, so Kayye wanted Collins’ perspective on what is going on in the industry. Collins noted that he thinks COVID accelerated trends that were already in place — something he calls a “hyperdigital revolution.”
  • Nick Swayne (James Madison University X-Labs) — Swayne talked about the problems he works on solving in his job — things like homelessness and human trafficking. X-Labs at James Madison University brings in many different types of faculty and students to come at addressing these issues from multiple perspectives.
  • Adele Thornton (Synergy SKY) — If you don’t know Synergy SKY, it’s a company that collects information from various sources and displays it in a platform. Thornton says the key point of the company is that it is not its own platform — there is no hidden agenda. They want to empower businesses to make their own decisions, which I think is a unique and refreshing approach.
  • John Zettel (AVI-SPL) — Kayye asked Zettel where he sees magic opportunities in the market. Zettel says the company is focusing on delivery to customers and exceeding expectations on a daily basis. Zettel also talked about the segments of the market he’s seeing the most action from right now — and said those are undoubtedly healthcare and higher ed.

My favorite tweet of the hour:

And that’s our show! I hope you enjoyed this brief wrap-up, but you can — of course — check out the on-demand recordings by visiting the LAVNCH WEEK 3.0 page. Alternatively, you can see all of our LAVNCH WEEK 3.0 wrap-ups on the LAVNCH WEEK microsite here. That’s all from me, folks!