Feed Your Head
Dealer education and strategic goal-setting take on a cosmic bent at SpeakerCraft
By Janet Pinkerton
The dormouse in Alice in Wonderland never said it—no matter what Grace Slick sang—but "feed your head" might as well be a SpeakerCraft maxim.
No, SpeakerCraft isn't endorsing hallucinogens. Rather, the loudspeaker manufacturer is attending to its dealers' mental focus and drive as individuals, and their goals and strategies as companies. "Our whole spin on the world is that everybody has to be imparting knowledge to somebody, or else the world stays the same," says SpeakerCraft President Jeremy Burkhardt.
SpeakerCraft's annual dealer meeting, the Global Intellectual Gathering (GIG), is designed with that mission in mind. The 2005 edition, attended by approximately 300 dealers this May in Palm Springs, featured:
• A rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness rant on motivation by Henry Rollins, legendary former singer of anarchist punk rock band Black Flag.
• A lesson on being in the moment and focusing on the here-and-now—even and especially in the business world—by David Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
• Legal and contract negotiations advice by attorney Peter Kravitz.
• Lessons on the impact of growing your business to sell your business by Ed Bagdasarian, who, as partner and managing director in the Los Angeles office of Barrington Associates, advised SpeakerCraft during its sale to the Linear division of Nortek in 2003. Says Burkhardt: "If you are running your business to sell your business, you run your business a lot better."
SpeakerCraft product-speak was kept to a minimum during GIG 2005. Even the sales training pitch by Vice President of Marketing Dave Donald was couched as "coaching." The focus away from SpeakerCraft and back onto the dealers was intentional. "Most people don't get nutrition every day," says Burkhardt. "The dealer base that's out there doesn't really have any real guidance on education. We're really educators." He later adds that loyalty goes both ways: "In turn, they buy more product from us."