My Pre-CEDIA Newbie Checklist

8/23/2012 4:39:00 PM
Imagine walking into a room where every single person you talk to will not only know what you are talking about when you say “Remote manufacturers are coming out with all new discrete codes by talking to cable and TV companies” but will be JUST as excited as you are by the news? This is just one of the many perks about attending one of the biggest trade shows of our industry, CEDIA. The education and networking that CEDIA provides us is invaluable...but what makes it invaluable?
Success in business is all about WHO you know and WHAT you know and CEDIA offers us both on a silver platter. This will be a convention filled with every key person and product in our entire industry. Vendors, distributors, marketing and PR and best of all, our peers. All of these people are gathered here for the soul purpose of making our jobs that much easier.
I have actually never been to CEDIA for The Source Home Theater (I have attended in the past through a big box store) but after talking to Jeremy Glowacki and John Sciacca and hearing all the great things about it, I became a member and had to get there this year. I have been racking my brain on what “must have’s” that I am going to bring and I’ve narrowed it down to 5 main things:
1. Business cards—this is a rare opportunity to expose myself within the industry. Everyone is going to be on a tight schedule so conversations are going to be short and sweet. At least being able to leave a business card opens the door to revisit conversations at a later date.
2. My iPad with pictures of jobs, press I’ve gotten and ideas I’m working on so I can easily share my “portfolio” with peers and distributors. This is so effective because everything is neat, organized and right at my fingertips.
3. Names of the people I want to meet. I talk to so many people all day long (as I’m sure the rest of you do too) on the phone and via email and I would love to put names [and voices] to faces and build even tighter relationships.
4. A schedule of trainings I want to attend. CEDIA has so many amazing (and free might I add) trainings set up and I want to hit as many of them as possible. I am a strong believer in product knowledge and these trainings are hard to come by in every day life so I plan to take full advantage and absorb as much information as possible.
5. My Nikon 3000. Not only does CEDIA provide us with training seminars on already existing products, it also gives us a sneak peak of what’s to come. I want to have visuals to go along with my notes to take with me so I forget nothing. Picture the excitement you feel when you see how awesome the future of the AV business is and how much business you will generate when you bring this information home to your teams and clients.
I have always tried to make networking a priority-setting up lunches and meetings with vendors, distributors and marketing/PR in the NYC area so we can meet face to face to discuss different aspects of the industry. It wasn’t until recently that I attended the URC Total Control training and got to interact with other installers from the tri-state area and realized how much you can learn from each other.
I think one of the best opportunities CEDIA presents for us as installers, is the opportunity to spend time with our peers. Men and women from all over the country who are doing exactly what you are doing everyday...working with the same products, experiencing the same challenges and working towards the same goals. It allows us to pick each others brains, to share best celebrate each others successes.
CEDIA gives us one week away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and unites us as an industry. This is a priceless opportunity that I can’t wait to finally experience for myself and I can’t wait to see all of you there!
Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City. 


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