Business Management

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DIY (or “Do It Yourself) is getting a load of industry ink right now. Scare scenarios - semi-real or imagined - are threatening tactics that get reader engagement. And evidently that is the end all for some publications - we get that.

Our read is that there is such a deepening pool of DIFM (that would be “Do It For Me”) potential, we suggest you read all such DIY = the sky is falling articles with a level of skepticism. See if you follow and agree with our position.

The following case studies are but two examples:

Was sitting at the Woodland Hills, CA Marriott bar with Amazon’s Dan Quigly, father of the Echo Alexa and Dot. Our first meeting, we were enjoying a top-shelf whiskey or two.

From what I can tell, he is the oldest fart at Amazon, our kind of guy.

Upon learning that I was kind of an RF guy, we were starting to geek out deeply into some pretty thin-long-wave experiences and how well we’ve kept up our keying abilities.

Actually, his keying abilities because mine are non-existent.

He was our Keynote for the Tech & Business Summits, an old ham radio enthusiast, and life-long automation junkie.

About mid-evening (and at least four single barrel Buffalo Trace bourbons) into the evening - a tall lean mid-50's guy walks up, takes the seat next to us. The bartender greets him by name and has an unrequested drink up in seconds... this cat is obviously a regular.

We greet him, and he joins in the conversation, which quickly reverts back to home automation stuff.

We learn that he is a C-level exec at a software org that caters to those in the entertainment industry. He lives in Palo Alto, and commutes down for a few days each week, staying at that hotel.

The thing was that he had recently gotten back from his companies annual meeting, the major item in the attendee’s gift bag was the Amazon Alexa, he was captivated by what the Echo and Alexa promises, but was hesitant to explore them himself.

So here we have a guy in the software industry, really fascinated with the benefits of what the Echo could offer, but it was sitting unopened at the house. Upon talking with those of us at the bar, he was intrigued by the concept of having a technology contractor implement it for him.

Case study number two:

Every Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware unit inventories lawnmowers. Every home improvement outlet carries paint, brushes, rollers and all the accessories to paint homes. NAPA Auto Parts, O'Reilly, and Auto Zone carry the tools and parts needed to maintain automobiles. Craft, design and hobby stores stock all the needed doodads to decorate one’s interior…

Does not mean that everyone everywhere will leverage the opportunity.

Cutting the lawn, maintaining cars, or decorating one's interior are learned skills. These are energy consuming efforts that yield mixed results. Many joyfully do these on their own. This is the DIY crowd. Some might even be good at it.

Not exactly our target type client.

Just like the gentleman in the above scenario many do not have the energy, attention span or tolerance to pursue technology integration. Some have tried, at a surface level, to integrate apps, or even some simple control of a modest suite of AV gear, a significant percentage experience frustrating consequences.

If one is not elbow-deep in dealing with gear on a daily bases, even the simplest task can cause a surprising amount of annoyance. Check out this case study:

At the local civic center:

Was in the city’s my city’s civic theater to program a lighting board for a kids annual music and talent show. Walked past a conference room and saw a pair of city officials trying to get a Mac to work with the room’s installed projector - evidently, there was to be some important meeting about to happen.

“Having trouble?” was asked, only to get a frustrated response that the “stuff” doesn’t work. They were under some time pressure; a few of the meeting attendees were now milling around providing additional tension.

Stepping into the room, the offing to help was eagerly accepted. The fix took 20 seconds (wrong setting on the Mac).

The two officials looked at me like I was some kind of technological deity performing a parting of the Red Sea, or like I was David Copperfield. They had been at it for 20 min - relief and gratitude were abundant. We have confidence that just about each one of you out there have done the same thing.

The fact is that these two city officials are smart enough at whatever they do (one would hope). Each navigates their lives, phones, tablets, computers, and entertainment stuff to some level of satisfactory implementation.

Does not mean that they are getting the performance, stability or ease of use they desire.

The DIY arena will continue to gain industry ink, and for us, it is not surprising.

Many CE brands are attempting to offer “Smart Home” solutions. Many of these are potential advertisers and thus make themselves very “interesting” to editorial and magazine types. A number of start-ups, traditional CE brands, cable companies and nationwide security orgs have offerings and want to jump start their market, but have little clue or experience on the requirements of robust technology infrastructure.

You do.

Our take: The DIY environment will continue, many end users will partake, and harvest some level of the benefits offered.

But... BUT... There is a rapidly growing population of frustrated affluent buyers that desire more.

Our take: The sun is not setting on our industry due to a streaking river of perfectly performing, will integrate with everything ever made “smart” product flood. We see this as a really great time to be offering expertise.

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