5 Business Lessons From ‘The Bomber Mafia’

July 6, 2023

I’m a huge fan of authors who write about behavioral economics and human behavior. My shelves are full of books by Geoff Colvin, Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman, Chip and Dan Heath, Barry Schwartz, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt, and Malcolm Gladwell. The latest book I read by Gladwell was “The Bomber Mafia,” Gladwell’s effort […]

featured Image

Adaptability in Business: Lessons From Sports

August 8, 2022

The ability to adapt may prove to be the most valuable superpower businesses can possess in today’s world.  Business as usual has been disrupted repeatedly by natural disasters, climate change, geopolitical conflict, war, a pandemic, supply change issues, and the great resignation … and that’s just in the last 24 months. If you think those […]

featured Image

Okay, What Now?

June 15, 2022

Okay, what now? I’ve said before that the motto for this decade should be, “Oh no, what now?” Maybe it’s confirmation bias, or maybe it really does seem that industry is plagued by one challenge after another. From COVID shutdowns, to supply chain issues caused by COVID, to natural disasters, and supply chain issues caused […]

featured Image

The “Ins” and “Outs” of Selling Technology

January 21, 2021

As technology salespeople, it is very tempting to have early conversations around technology itself. I’ve attended job walks or integrator interviews where the representative of a technology company quickly turns a discussion about a room into questions about how many inputs and outputs the company needs on their switcher or what brand of control system […]

featured Image

Striving For Leadership Rather Than Management

November 15, 2019

Whether working with, consulting for, or even just talking to managers and principals of small AV companies — while they can have unique features about them — broadly speaking they’re more similar than they are different. One of the most common similarities is that the principal or general manager of an AV company needs to […]

featured Image

Eyes on the Future

August 1, 2019

If you’ve been reading my blogs lately, you already know I’m a huge proponent of escalating the rate of evolution in our industry in order to best meet the needs of our customers and continue to be relevant. I’ve been promoting developing better business acumen and having earlier conversations with our customers on a deeper […]

featured Image

Building Resilience Into Your Schedule

June 26, 2019

It’s important to be resilient. In this context, that means being prepared for the worst. Everyone knows Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” And there are others like, “The first casualty of every battle is the plan,” or “Every solution has two problems,” and of course, “You don’t need to go […]

featured Image

The Joy of Change Orders

March 12, 2019

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, […]

featured Image

Signal to Noise

March 7, 2019

Once again my rAVe blogsquad colleague Anthony Coppedge took out his 40-ounce framing hammer and hit the nail right on the head in his recent post about email noise in brand marketing for the house of worship market-space. Almost simultaneously with that post another group of articles appeared in several publications focused on dealing with […]

featured Image

Are You Profiting From Your Labor?

February 22, 2019

One of the topics I address regularly in meetings with my dealers is the pace of change, and that there are very few things you can count on to deliver top line and bottom line results long term. In these discussions I point out that the product categories I made a living on in the […]

featured Image

Scope Creep

January 9, 2019

One of the most prevalent themes in any AV/IT industry discussion is the continually increasing globalization of the sourcing for product development and most specifically software. No longer is the underlying code for the majority of AV products written by the brand on the front panel. In fact, more often than not, that software is […]

featured Image

Building Product: Avoiding the Data-Driven Trap

October 11, 2018

I spent part of the weekend with some friends who are in the early stages of a new startup. While we don’t always talk shop, it’s inevitable that someone will open up about their latest challenges. The conversation we had ended up being interesting enough that I wanted to cover the topic with my readers. […]

featured Image


September 17, 2018

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, […]

featured Image

You’re Not Good at Everything — Three Keys to Collaborative Success

September 17, 2018

Collaboration is so far past being a buzzword that it’s almost become kitschy. Nearly every booth at this past summer’s InfoComm show figured out a way to entwine the word collaboration in their messaging somewhere. But collaboration is truly important. It’s at the core of how the workplace is changing to accommodate modern work styles. […]

featured Image

NSCA Reports on Findings in New ‘Financial Analysis of the Industry’

September 17, 2018

NSCA has just released an updated Financial Analysis of the Industry report for 2018, providing information that systems integrators can use to benchmark and compare expenses, profits, sales and other data against industry peers of similar size and business focus. The Financial Analysis of the Industry details the industry’s performance based on data collected from […]

featured Image

Are You Really Listening to Your Clients?

September 13, 2018

DILBERT © Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved. The wild, wonderfully sarcastic and incisive mind of Scott Adams as represented in his legendary Dilbert comic strips perfectly illustrates the core point of this column. It seems, based on the less-than-stellar outcomes of project after project thrashed out on industry […]

featured Image

No Freebies

August 30, 2018

Unless your media consumption habit is restricted to non-ad supported content, you will probably find the following experiment somewhat intriguing, if not downright disturbing. The next time you want to kill an hour doing non-work (and don’t we all sometimes), turn on any commercial broadcast channel, preferably either in the afternoon or late night and […]

featured Image

Partnering With A Buying Group

August 15, 2018

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 […]

featured Image

Subcontracting, Part 2

July 13, 2018

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 […]

featured Image

Subcontracting: Part 1

June 29, 2018

It’s not lost on veteran AV pros that even as they need to make the best use of their client’s budget, in order to do that they need to make the best use of their own. That means allocating your firm’s funds, resources and expertise in a way that maximizes everything from effectiveness to profitability. […]

featured Image

Selling Soft Serve(ices)- Hurdle Two: Sales Compensation Plans

May 23, 2018

If you haven’t already been following the conversation about selling AV software and services, I encourage you to catch up on my last couple blogs where I lay out the three main issues that I believe are stalling the transition from hardware-based businesses, as well as some specifics on business models that may play a […]

featured Image

Picking Up Pennies In Front Of A Steamroller

February 27, 2018

I have a tendency to subvert aphorisms and expressions to suit my own purposes. We all do it to some degree when we use the language of sports as either an metaphor or an analogy. At work we all know you’re not talking about hockey when you say you have to “take one for the […]

featured Image

Sunk Costs: Part 2

February 1, 2018

In the first installment, I flew over what sunk costs are and how they differ from the other kinds of costs you face in your business. To recap briefly, economists and business courses make the point that sunk costs should not be taken into account when making decisions about new expenditures. The money is spent, […]

featured Image

Sunk Costs: Part 1

January 11, 2018

Years ago, one of my old mentors said to me that “the key to success in business is knowing what to spend money on, and what not to.” Like a lot of the Zen koans he was fond of dropping, on the surface, that doesn’t seem very helpful. When you run a business it costs […]

featured Image

Resolve To Close More Deals In The New Year

January 3, 2018

Presumably you’ve had some quiet time over the holidays to reflect on the past year, and to look forward to the next. Since traditionally now is the time to think about resolutions for the coming year, perhaps you’re thinking about what you can do differently at work, whether it’s how to streamline processes to be […]

featured Image

Have You Done These Three Things?

December 21, 2017

One of my favorite aphorisms (and I have plenty) is that you have to make the most of what you’ve got. Because, and while I know that it’s a tautology, all you have is all you’ve got. That’s the essence of what it means to have best practices in your business. Best practices are just […]

featured Image

Are You Building Asgard?

November 27, 2017

If you are a fan of comic book movies and you haven’t seen Thor Ragnarok yet… I really don’t know what’s wrong with you. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok, or the Doom of the Gods, represents the end of the mythical cycle and of the world as we know it. It’s an Armageddon of sorts. Funnily […]

featured Image

Money for Nothing

July 27, 2017

Long before the 1987 movie “Wall Street” and the now-legendary quote from the fictional Gordon Gecko “Greed is good” became part of the American business worlds’ verbal infrastructure, success, wealth and growth in business were built on the startlingly simple notion that to create, run and succeed in a business, you actually had to know […]

featured Image

The Next Big Thing 

June 27, 2017

There’s that aphorism that if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. But that’s not really true in this business. In our business, if you always do what you always did, with each passing year you’ll get less than you did before. Looking at the overall landscape of my dealer […]

featured Image

As-a-What? The Trend From Ownership to Use

June 26, 2017

By Jean Pierre Overbeek CEO, BIS Group Monday morning. The alarm rings, a bit too early for my liking. I probably shouldn’t have watched the last two series on Netflix yesterday evening after the traditional Sunday evening football matches on TV… after the morning ritual of having a shower, getting dressed, having breakfast and coffee, […]

featured Image

AV Companies and the Threat of New Entrants

May 25, 2017

In recent editorials, I’ve been going over Porter’s Five Forces and putting them into context for businesses of the AV business. To review, here are the Five Forces: Threat of new entrants Threat of substitutes Bargaining power of customers Bargaining power of suppliers Industry rivalry For this installment, I want to discuss the threat of […]

featured Image

Three Things You Need To Do To Grow Your Sales

April 17, 2017

Making generalities are useful when establishing guidelines. In general, if you work with enough business owners and managers, and review the performance of their teams, you’ll see commonalities and trends. And, speaking generally, comparable businesses in the same channel have more in common than they are different. One of the most common of those commonalities is […]

featured Image