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The Fruits of Innovation

If you ask anyone, they will say that I am a man of many passions. I love manning a 50-foot sailboat on the Pacific seas for eight days, diving into the ocean and swimming with sharks, driving fast cars, smoking an aged Cuban cigar after a long day at work, and unfortunately for those who live with me, ripping apart houses with a sledgehammer at midnight when the mood strikes me.

When applied to work, passion can transform the mundane into something appealing and the exciting into something revolutionary. This has been true throughout my career, from the early days at Infinity to today at Artison, a speaker company I started in 2002.
Today, I remain passionate about high-fidelity audio and perfecting the art of soundjust as I was back then. Like many in our industry, this passion stems from my love of music as an art formand the extension of that, making music more enjoyable, true to life and as magical as possible for the end listener.

I still get excited about the invention processthe act of making something no one has ever thought of before, delivered in a way that makes a consumers and integrators life easier and more enjoyable. Invention is the fuel that drives any great company. If all your company is doing is creating a copycat version of another companys product, then youre going to be in trouble before too long.

When passion is applied to meeting the needs of our industry, ideal products that sell easily and quickly are created. To accomplish this, one must keep a close eye on the marketplace.

With the advent of flat-screen and plasma televisions in early 2000, a screaming need for streamlined audio made itself known. Consumers started trading in their boxy, oversized televisions for ultra-thin flat TVs in droves. It became obvious to me that those consumers would not likely want oversized floor speakers hunkered down next to their new, shiny, streamlined TVs. Since these new televisions also adhered to walls, another problem arose. Where do you put the center-channel speaker? There was simply no place that worked with how customers wanted to use their televisionsvisually or acoustically.

To meet this need, I set out to create a speaker solution that matched this new style of technology. I also wanted the speakers to blend seamlessly with dcor and to eliminate the need for a cumbersome center-channel box. The result of this exercise became a line of sleek, high-fidelity LCR speakers that not only attached directly to flat-panel televisions, but also matched beautifully with the new medium and delivered three channels of sound in only two cabinets: Sketch, Portrait, and Masterpiece. The line met a need and has thus, been an overwhelming success.

But to see results, passion must be fueled by time, energy, and perseverance, despite roadblocks that appear. With Sketch, Portrait, and Masterpieceand most recently, the RCC 600, Artisons new in-wall subwooferI was forced to examine potential problems associated with product design and to invest the time necessary to produce a compelling product that not only answered a need, but functioned in every possible scenario, beautifully every time.

Our success story didnt happen overnight, thats for sure. There were many nights where all of us at Artison worked until we were exhausted and then came in early to continue where we had left off the night before.

In the beginning, I went into my garage and got to work. I outlined the product definitionswhat I actually wanted each speaker and subwoofer to dothen I examined what was and wasnt feasible, and finally, began inventing the technologies necessary for what I wanted to accomplish. I pounded out dozens of designs. Some were good, some werent, some ended up overflowing the trash can, until I had created something perfectly unique. It was something I knew would not only meet but exceed a customers satisfaction level.

Fortunately, we have been able to move out of the garage and today there are a number of us that make up the Artison Family. Each of us has a driving passion for what we do at the company every day. The good news for me and for the company is that our engineering department has also grown and our new products and services reflect the passion that remains the mainstay of our business.

At Infinity, over a 25-year period the company created countless new solutions, including the low-mass tone arm, the Black Widow, several groundbreaking amplifiers, and even a coffee table that doubled as a projector, the R.S.V.P. (Reference Standard Video Projector), but only after investing blood, sweat, and tears into each project. Because of this, the company saw the fruits of this labor flourish into new products that were embraced by consumers and adapted by the industry. It also enabled the company to grow into the historical landmark for quality and innovation that it is today.

Today, I continue to strive for passion in every aspect of my lifewhether Im on the open seas, diving off the coast of St. Martin, or designing a great new solution for our customers. Its something Im, well, passionate about!

Cary Christie is the President and CEO of Artison in Incline Village, Nevada.