By Greg Bronson, CTS-D
One of my Jr./Sr. High School math class teachers was also one of our school football coaches. At that time, his teams were very successful and, I suspect, learned a lot about football. I wish I could say the same about math class. I do have to say, though; prior to taking that class I would have never guessed that there were so many 16mm movies made on the topic of secondary education mathematics.
My buddy and I managed some of our dread of this class by helping run the movie projector (you know: AV Club types). We learned quickly to go elsewhere for help with math. In the end, this class didn’t prevent us from moving on to more advanced math; both ending up in Engineering-related fields. But, it certainly didn’t help me reach full potential, in the way it could (or should) have.
Anyway, one day Coach came to the back of the room to “adjust” the projector; giving it a final attention-getting shove as he walked away (with clear disdain for us geeks). Almost instantly we both saw that the take up reel was now pushed into the rear corkboard wall… and not turning. Unfortunately, the (continued) treatment of us as second class citizens left us completely unmotivated to share our observation. I’m not proud to say, as a result, 25 minutes of classic solving for X footage, was sacrificed into a pile on the classroom floor. To put it mildly, he was not pleased, when the lights went on; “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?”
As a Technology Manager, I’ve experienced situations where I’ve felt like a second class AV industry citizen. Most often this has been in situations of trying to (repeatedly) communicate a specific issue with a product (or system), back to a manufacturer or integrator who is unreceptive to the input. I’m guessing I’m not the only “end user” who has been rebuffed in such a way. After a while, we tend to get a bit cynical and just move on to a different solution instead of trying to seek a synergetic outcome.
By no means do I mean to convey that this is always the case. Many manufacturers and integrators have excellent track records of being responsive to input on products and services. For my part, I try to be sensitive of not just being a whiner; by just bringing back picky little issues and never accolades for the good big picture accomplished. By the same token, I’ve noticed some manufacturers making concentrated efforts to reach out to Technology Managers to gain their input. Several have created formal training programs (which are more than just sales presentations), geared specifically to education segment Tech Managers. The training provided is real, and the request for input on product seems genuine. This makes me feel confident in the product, as well as my potential to help advance the application of same.
A few years ago, at InfoComm, I was passing through a manufacturer’s booth whose products (and support) I had long since lost confidence in. Darned if the rep didn’t catch me: “Hi!… how’s it going… we haven’t seen much in way of your projects, recently?…” Well, it wasn’t my original intent, but I was then compelled to (again) relay my stories of not getting follow-up on several past issue(s).
His response: “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?”