In my biweekly blog series, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who work for the Audio Video Industry. In this post, we are profiling Mark Skazenski. Here is a brief introduction.
Mark Skazenski is Vice President Sales Business Development at Loxone US.
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
My first job as a teenager was ripping tickets and cleaning the floors at the local movie theater where I grew up. While there I was promoted to Projectionist and that changed everything. Seeing how the film actually got onto the “silver screen” was fascinating. Fast forward a few years. I found myself on a commission sales floor at a big box electronics retailer. There I learned the ins and outs of high paced sales, how to deal with customers and most importantly. I was exposed to Home Theater and Stereo gear.
After that I “graduated” to a custom install firm where things really took off. After more than a decade of selling hi-end stereo and home automation systems. I not only found my passion of music but realized I can have a real career in this industry and that opened my eyes. It was time to make a choice: Stay where I was comfortable doing what I love or challenge myself and leave and try my hand on the manufacture’s side of the business. Now I’m part of one of the most innovative companies in the space leading a team of passionate people and facing challenges I never thought I’d face and enjoying every minute of it.
2.What advice do you have for someone new who wants to join the industry?
Keep an open mind. The Custom Installation channel as great as it is. Is a relatively small industry (read tight knit) and it’s easy to get tunnel vision. Keep an eye on the big picture, not what you see everyday and be sure to follow your instincts.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry?
The chance to not only meet a lot of different people, but to also work closely with them and to collaborate and to learn from them. This industry is built by people with very different backgrounds but they all have one thing in common. They are all entrepreneurs and it’s great to hear their stories and learn from their experiences.
[RELATED] : If you have missed any of my previous interviews, please click here.
4.What in your opinion would you change in the Smart Home industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent?
Traditionalism. Look, I get the motto: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But just because something has always been done that way. Doesn’t mean its the only way or even the right way. Currently everything in the industry is about control: remote controls, touch screen controls, app controls, voice control…. Its all control with no real intelligence. Just have the client push a button or say a command and stuff happens. Those are not Real Smart Homes, they are connected homes. It’s time to put less focus on simply controlling stuff and begin focusing on Real Automation. Have the home actually adapt itself to the homeowner and have it work to improve the lives of its occupants all automatically. It’s not crazy, we do it at Loxone everyday.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
The ideal client be it the Integrator, Builder, Developer, or an Architect or Designer is one who sees the the entire Smart Home system in a holistic point of view. They want to leverage the technology not for simple entertainment purposes but to actually better their home design and provide a real value add to the homes they design or build.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?
Like everyone I have faced a lot of challenges in my life and have made many mistakes. But it’s the decisions I’ve made after those challenges and mistakes that have got me on the track am on. So, in short, I would not change anything.
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
I get up, have coffee with my wife, then help the kids get ready for school and drop them off with my wife. After which I drive to the office (or to see a client) while listening to an audio book usually about sales or entrepreneurship.
At the office I note my tasks to accomplish for the day. Then throughout the day find time to speak to individual team members to see what’s going on in their world and if there is anything I may do to aid them in their efforts.
I’m always asking a lot of questions and taking lots of notes. Good ideas come and go all the time. I try to get them all on paper or in my phone to leverage them at a later date.
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
I never leave home without my iPhone, a (non-smart) watch, notebook & pen and a good pocket knife!
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
By always looking forward, asking hard questions and pushing the team to be their best. Having an open mind and never doing something just because “it’s always been done that way”. If you’re not learning or trying new things everyday to push your company to the next level, then you might as well close the doors.
To know much more, please connect on Linkedin.
Also please drop your questions in the comments below.