By Kirsten Nelson On October 31, 2008
Nobody wants to be compared to a tortoise. Despite the virtuous moral behind the tale of the tortoise and the hare— ”slow and steady wins the race”—it’s still kind of awkward to call someone a slow, aged beast and hope they feel good about it.
But right about now, the tortoises of the AV world are breaking through that finish line and carrying home a trophy. No one’s calling any consultants or integrators “slow”, but the business ethics of this industry should be commended right about now. Those companies that kept their heads down, focused on their niches throughout the ups and downs of the past decade—or decades—are still profitable right now. And more than likely,
It’s likely you can name a competitor who in recent years chased after a big money-maker that didn’t mesh well with their business plan, and now they’re floundering a bit. They were the hare in this scenario, trying make a shortcut, and they ended up paying the price.
All name-calling aside, it probably feels pretty good to be the “little guy” right about now. This is one of those rare times when the focus shifts from the big guys who are trying to move into our industry to the little guys who are actually making things happen within it.
Over the years, I have had countless conversations about the uniqueness of this industry. It was founded on passion, and it continues to be built by those who worked for and against each other in different capacities within this self-contained galaxy surrounded by a universe of exploding stars.
Even while the headlines in the mainstream media are enough to turn stomachs, the news in these pages continues to reflect growth and profit. It goes beyond the people, products, and projects that are still evolving as an ecosystem that supports us all. Last month InfoComm conducted a survey of its membership, and the results are reported in the association’s news on page 22 of this issue. Among the data points is the fact that more than twothirds of AV systems integrators are doing better financially than they were six months ago.
The InfoComm survey also reinforces an understanding that comforts many business owners in this market. When one business segment is down, another one inevitably picks up. Eventhose companies that service corporate clients are seeing increased demand for videoconferencing. Watch these pages for more news on the vitality of our industry now and in the future.
The fact is, expertise is always in demand. For a while, everyone was talking about diversification. But now we are seeing evidence of the merits in specialization. That is what the designers and integrators in our industry sell. And so, while we continue to plod along toward the finish line, picking up training and experience along the way, we can be proud to be the tortoise.