I Have a Real Job

April 30, 2024

I have a real job. It has been a long time between real jobs. Just about 30 years. But now I have a real job. And for the record, I am very proud to have this job. As far as jobs go, this one checks a lot of boxes.   

Cool toys to mess with.

Awesome people to work with.

Get to hang out with my friends and get paid for it.

Flexible hours.

Can explain job to my mom.

It checks a lot of boxes. It pretty much checks all the boxes. The only downside is that there are some folks in my beloved industry that don’t see the value in what we do. I now work for a distributor. The AV industry is a little confused about what we do and why we should get paid to do it. I will try to clear it up.

So, let’s imagine that instead of going grocery shopping at a grocery store, you had to go source everything separately. First, you would have to go to the Cap’n Crunch factory. Next, obviously, it is off to Solo-Cup. Last stop is Crest. Did you know that they make “pro” toothpaste? They do. You have to take a class to be able to buy Crest Pro. So, you take the class, put on your Heely’s and scoot over to Crest to score a tube.

That is a silly analogy. Let’s try to do a little better. Your buddy calls you to go golfing, but it turns out you don’t have golf stuff. So first off, we head out to the club factory. But their 7-wood is lame, so we go to another golf factory just to get a sweet fairway metal. Then we go to the hat factory. They have Farm hats with the chicken on them, so we good. Then we head over to the golf ball warehouse. And so on. We pick up Meister-brau at the beer factory, we fly to China to get a crappy Bluetooth speaker to listen to REO Speedwagon in the golf cart. Five months later, we are ready to golf.

For the most part, that is how we buy audio and video equipment in the integration business. We buy the mics for the mic company. The speakers from the speaker guy. Amps from the amp place. They all get put in their own boxes on their own pallets and ship to some jobsite or warehouse for the customers. Ultimately some of it gets lost or backordered or whatever. And the freight costs are nutty. And we are all excited because we have “A Direct Account!” Oh my, You Da MAN!

Instead of realizing the actual economies of scale we have in a mission critical 50-billion-dollar industry, we do it like we did it when we were building speakers in our garages with hand-saws and Elmer’s wood glue.     

I work for a company that knows how to pick, pack and ship. We know how to get disparate stuff to disparate locations at specific critical moments. We have places to let stuff sit around until the bell rings and the site is ready. We have the cash to finance that stuff sitting around. We also keep TONS of stuff laying around just in case you need it. That is what distributors do. At least the boring ones.

Then there is other stuff. As a distributor, we buy millions of dollars of gear from many places. When we call, they are happy. When we know about a national deployment happening that involves quite a few brands, we might make sure everyone is on the same page. We pick up the phone or get everyone on a Teams call and say, “What are we going to do as a group to make certain this deployment is amazing.” Yes. This actually happens. It is behind the scenes. It is what VALUE ADD distributors do.  

So, I only work for ONE distributor. It is Starin, owned by Midwich. I am certain we are a value-added distributor. With FarmAssist, a massive technical sales team, tons of amazing people that are eager to jump in and work hard for our channel partners and vendors… I GET IT.  

If an integrator partners with the right distributor, their life gets better fast. You may pay a tiny premium price. But what you get for that price is not just some abstract “time” thing or tired old line of “great service”. You get MASSIVE WORK. PEOPLE WORK. They work boxing it up. They work checking your designs. They work coordinating availability to make sure your team gets as much done each day as possible. THEY WORK. You get a purchasing and logistics team that ONLY DOES AV. And for the most part,  it is free. EXPERT AV-FOCUSED LOGISTICS.

And you get me. I get to keep writing this nonsense. I get to keep taking you out to Pho’. I will keep saying outlandish things at wrong times in meetings.   

So, I work at a distributor. And we are going to help this industry assume it’s rightful place at the very top of the technology stack!

Stick that in your tech stack!