Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Year of Great Instructors

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing talent. Our team of instructors are the best in their fields. They are talented, smart, experienced and fun.

A big thank you to the best team of instructors. May we continue to spread the knowledge and the good times. I look forward to a Great 2010.

Dick Garvey-
Bio -

Vince Streano -
Bio -

Julie Burgmeier -
Bio -

Jennifer Bowman -

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Social Media for the audio/video Industry

In a previous life, my husband and I owned a small audio/video system integration company in the Seattle area. We established an excellent network of friends and business connections. We owned the business for over 14 years and it took us over 7 years to build up our network of clients, vendors, manufacture reps, subcontractors and other contacts that helped the business grow. Just imagine how much easier (and quicker) it might have been if we had some of today’s technology and social networking tools.

Today there is so much at our disposal to help us get ‘connected’. Linkedin is an amazing business tool – an online resume, so to speak. Then there is Facebook and Twitter for customer service issues and to stay connected with clients and manufactures. Photos of projects or some of the latest equipment could be posted on Facebook and Flickr.

And then there is Blogging. This opens up a whole new world for sharing information. New product previews, troubleshooting tips and tricks, discovering who’s who in the industry, what projects are in the works, design ideas and more could be posted on a blog. The ideas are endless.

The a/v industry is ever-evolving. Changes come and go so quickly that sometimes you feel like you can’t keep up. Today’s tools would have been a great way for us to share these changes with our ‘network’ of friends and business connections. These are tools that the industry today should be embracing and utilizing to its full potential.

Our a/v systems integration business is closed now, but we still keep ‘connected’ and current with the industry. Our specialty today is producing educational workshops. That is why we are combining our past – the a/v industry - with our present – educational workshops. Which include teaching businesses how to use today’s social networking tools to add value to their business.

I am ending this piece with a brief conversation I had with a good friend in the a/v industry. Bob Grawet, way back when, was our Da-Lite rep. Then he moved onto Smart Technologies. Bob, has become an icon in the Digital Signage world, and now Works for Eiki and Advanced Method. He’s always forward thinking and uses Linkedin to get connected.

Here are some of his views on Social Media Tools:

1. What tools in Social Media do you use to network with?

I have a limited presence on Facebook and Twitter, but my focus is 99% inside of It's my opinion (and many others) that Linkedin is the best business social media platform.

2. What results, if any have you seen?

I've had active business discussions with potential customers around the world as a result of connecting with them. I have made a couple of actual sales from them. I have really bolstered my presence and the aura around myself to the many people I already know. Just today I received emails from around 20 people who I know, who re-established our contact…. so they do not forget about me.

3. Would you recommend it?

I recommend it as 'one' of the things you do to help sell and market. I think it is imperative, and that many people now check you out on if they are planning to meet you.

4. You started a Motorcycle group on Linkedin and now have quite the following - How did you build that one up?

I've started 10 groups on Some worked, some did not. Some for fun, some to establish me as more of a well-rounded human, and some for pure business marketing.

My Worldwide Motorcycle Association has petered out a bit at around 450 members. It has become a fun place to talk about riding, and I have made many new friends there. I built it up by making regular announcements 'via' the update section of the main page of I update by saying something like: Join the Worldwide Motorcycle Association group on if you are a rider and want to talk bikes. Just generic stuff like that.

Everyone on that you are connected with will see those updates….and others will as well. It's a slow go this way, as it took a year to build up to the current 450 members.

On the other hand, my brand new group (started yesterday afternoon) called: Macworld 2010 Attendees, has 124 people signed up in less than 24 hours.
I have a paid membership, and you need that to be able to grow.
My Worldwide Digital Signage Network group is up to almost 1300 members now. I work on this constantly.

My Buddha site is never going to grow very far, but it is mostly to establish relations with people who think like me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do we Tweet?

I followed a tweet from  ce_pro to a digital media content article where a spokesman revealed that their  " client survey revealed that less than 10 percent had heard of digital content such as Rhapsody, Pandora, and Hulu. " And while it does beg the question 'who are their clients?'  that still seemed incredibly low. Only 10 percent were aware of the full range of video and audio possibilities on the interwebs? Could that be right?

So I got to thinking about new technologies, and how while we are rolling them out to our clients, we perhaps are not as adaptive to change as we expect them to be. How good are we at keeping up with technology outside our own narrow field? I decided to check out the new frontier of social media space and see how we as electronics professionals were doing in the adoption of the social media frenzy that has swept - well, social media. I started with Twitter.

I looked at a few of my favorite tradeshows and compared how many people they claim attended their latest trade show and how many people follow the parent group on Twitter. Here are the results:

Group                                  Twitter name       attendees       followers      Twitcentage*
Consumer Electronic Show         IntlCES            120,000           9,843              8.2%
InFocomm                                 InfoComm          30,000              843               2.8%
CEDIA                                       CEDIA               20,000              818              4.1%
NAMM                                       NAMM              13,000            1,808           13.91%

*I just made this up. I define it as the number of an entity's followers on Twitter divided by the entity's biggest exposure, in this case tradeshows.

Let's contrast our world with the larger one. Here are our Twitter stats stacked up against popular culture:

Pop Culture Icon/Current # of followers
Ashton Kutcher      4,463,303
Ellen Degeneres     4,193,971
Twitter                   2,936,264
Lady Gaga             2,580,692
Jimmy Fallon          2,467,780
Google                   2,123,872
The White House    1,697,058
Wolf Blitzer               345,402
MicroSoft                    54,883
Best Buy                     18,919
Sony Electronics           9,930
CES                             9,843
Control 4                       2,850
Crestron                        1,866
NAMM                          1,808
InfoComm                        843
CEDIA                             818

Word on the street is that Mr. Kutcher is the top Twitterdog, so he is our benchmark. Imagine your company with four million customers waiting to hear you tweet! Sweet!