Tell us a bit about yourself?
Ugh, I hate this question. My life is an open book – ask me anything, I will tell you.
What was it about Starin that drew you to us?
I have known Jim Starin since I was a marketing manager at Full Compass nearly 2 decades ago. I have always respected and admired Jim and the company he and his team have built and wanted to work here for some time. When the opportunity became available, I ‘put my hat in the ring’ ….and here I am
How long have you been in the AV industry?
About 25 years. I came off the road as a touring piano player/singer/sideman/arranger and started on the manufacturing side in audio, then broadcast/event AV and then moved to an integrator for 12 years, and now I am excited to take on the distribution network challenge.
What hardware are you recommending for video conferencing these days?
Most recently I came from a Polycom/Cisco/Zoom integrator (New Era/Advanced AV) that is certified deeply in all three platforms. They also vetted (and eliminated) several other platforms that just did not stand up to those three.
Zoom is a market disruptor – unlike the legacy H.323 companies (aka Cisco/Polycom or poly.com), Zoom is much more agile in that it does not have the hardware ‘baggage’ of the legacy providers. They (wisely) shuttled that off to others with a strict specification for development compliance and kept its focus to what it does well – a well-developed soft codecs and a solid infrastructure management platform. It is putting the other legacy providers on their collective heels on how to compete with Zoom!
What is your take on AV as a Service?
AVAAS and managed services is a HUGE – H.U.G.E. vertical for Starin. When you own the services, you own the client.
AVAAS - as a subscription model if implemented and promoted properly will definitely appeal to ‘forward-thinking mindsets’, SMB’s and more agile clients. Their CAPEX funds tend to be very small whereas their OPEX funds are more readily available as a function of cash flow.
What is important is to get away from the traditional ‘financing’ headspace when we present the concept and look at AV/UC/IT as a subscription with renewals, replenishments, and benefits that they cannot get from a legacy CAPEX model investments (it’s all in how you dress the frog ). Scalability, flexibility, repeatable and high level (99.5%+) of performance and continuity make these programs successful. Clients are looking for lower (financial and technological) barriers to entry, reduction of travel costs and lost productivity due to out of office time or equipment failures…meeting fails. To be successful, a provider needs to cover not only the hardware/software platforms AAS, but also wrap the design, preparation, scalable plan, deployment, management, maintenance, resiliency and replacement programs. All of those facets can be ‘modules’ that can be included or excluded in customizable offerings to each client in tiered program offerings, each showing the features/benefits/requirements to the client so they can evaluate and target their own needs and employ the correct set of services that apply. Starin can be the SME to enable those conversations and guide the client to the best solution. We can be direct to end-use or white label the service to our committed and certified resellers at (for example) a 10% discount.
In addition, the scalability needs to be a core competency of the AVAAS provider. Quarterly touchbacks, annual usage reporting, refresh analysis, relocation programs, etc. all fall under a comprehensive AVAAS program offering.
Managed services are the golden chalice for AVAAS. At my last job, my colleague and I developed a full-blown managed services program that began with 2 people and became a program that is the largest service vertical for NET, responsible for tens of millions of dollars in annual reoccurring revenue in just 8 years – it has a 24/7 VNOC ops center, concierge services, infrastructure management, and on-site staffing in 10 countries – employing about 40 people total to date . The potential for services has no ceiling. The broader the adoption of a platform, the greater the need is for a reliable, centralized service provider. Clients have no interest or the necessary skillsets for dealing with the management of installed systems – any more than you or I do in car repair or home building. As technology becomes more simple to the user, the management becomes more complex and the need for solid, comprehensive and qualified providers as an essential part of the equation – and clients are perfectly willing to pay for it!
What do you do for fun when you aren’t working? – hobbies, entertainment, etc?
Not working?? Is that a thing? (sic)…..I have been composing and publishing music for 30+ years – in a past life, I toured as a sideman for major artists. I have a small publishing contract with a label and was one of the (many) reasons for relocating to Austin TX. In addition, I ride motorcycles and bicycles, play tennis, run my greyhound and try to disconnect as often as possible.
Where are you located? – the region not address, we don’t want any crazy stalker action
Austin Texas. Live music capital of the planet.
What is your main goal with working with Starin?
Contributing to the Starin community and being of service to the company. My stated role is business development, targeting clients on the west coast, but I hope to have the opportunity to contribute more than just that to the Starin community.
What is a typical day like?
I am an early riser – I get up around 5 am, run my dog Rasta, make her breakfast then spend some time on LinkedIn – getting industry news and posting for visibility, and a bit of time catching up with friends globally on Facebook. Then I hit the office around 6:30 and work until midday, take a break and get back to it. My afternoons tend to be more free form, I like to put the bulk of my work effort into the morning. I practice and write music usually in the late afternoons and eves. I also work on the house in the evening.
Who’s your favorite band?
There are too many genres to drill it down to one. I go from Maren Morris and Carrie Underwood to Queen and Kansas to Audioslave to Yes to – you name it. As long as it is written well, performed well, you have my attention!
Where do you see the AV industry in 5 years?
Streamlining its processes for quicker delivery, increasing service offerings, taking on network-related roles, learning how to make money with smaller systems. Those who make these changes will survive, those who do not, will shrink or disappear. The rule is “embrace the change or be changed by it.”
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An oceanographer or botanist
Do you have a favorite color?
I like earth tones.
A favorite sports team?
Packers – and I am a tennis and pro cycling fan – two sports I participate in.
A favorite artist?
Marcus Uzilevsky, Dali, and I love local artisans and craftspeople. I really love working with wood and artistry in the woods.
A favorite vacation spot?
Thailand, Mexico, and Morrocco – they are special places. I also dearly love this country-hopping on my motorcycle and discovering small towns in America, meeting people and experiencing everything.
What is the biggest benefit people will get from you, and Starin when working with you?
That’s something others should respond to. I would be both flattered and humbled if I am able to provide some kernel of knowledge to others.
What do you think the biggest impact on the AV industry will be over the next 10 years?
Privacy. It is coming to the forefront like a freight train. Second would be flexibility.
Do you have any pets, and if you do who are they?
Right now, I have Rasta, a super sweet 12 YO greyhound. I adopted her from the race tracks in Tampa about 10 years ago. My other greyhound (Lily from Alabama) died last year at 12. That was incredibly painful. Rasta is ‘my baby’ and spoiled rotten….the queen of the house!
Who is your hero?
My parents and grandparents (both sides). My mother was born in Norway and her father and mother brought her and her siblings to America to escape the potato famine and establish a life here. They could only find work in the prison system in Minnesota – my grandfather was the warden and my grandmother was the cook – my mother grew up with prisoners on the working farm along with her siblings. All went into the military as my grandfather required. My grandfather on my father’s side was a holocaust survivor; he and his siblings started a very successful construction company in Milwaukee early in the 1900’s – but decided to go back and try to bring more family members in the 1930s, all were killed except my grandfather who was emancipated. My father was the first to go to college and the only one of his family to go. He drove a beer truck and played the violin to help pay for medical school and became a successful doctor and professor of medicine. He helped found Physicians global exchange teaching doctors in other countries and was a consummate professional.
Those people struggled, endured and prospered. I look to them always for inspiration when I need inspiration – with pride, love, and admiration.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
I am a self-proclaimed goofball and knucklehead – there are soooooo many times I have to extract my boot from my butt! Ask me sometime….I can go alphabetically or chronologically.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
Probably what I am expressing here. I did not see these questions come up during my interview or include this information on my resume. I am pretty transparent – anything you need to know just ask.
A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
Hola! Como Esta Amigos? Tengo hambre…Tienes tacos Y cerveza aqui?