Back in my 20’s, I was a Budweiser drinker. It was affordable, light, and I liked it. As I’ve gotten older and begun to appreciate having a beer for the taste, I’ve matured and been ordering more IPAs, craft beers, and imports. My tastes have changed and my product selection has changed along with it. Plenty of my friends have stayed with Bud or other American lagers. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t begrudge them anything. And on certain occasions it still tastes great to me—nothing beats an ice-cold Bud on a hot summer day.
The same thing happens in business. Across more than nine years in business, the product mix at The Source has changed dramatically. I’ve gone from entry-level audio distribution systems and separate video to Autonomic’s Mirage media centers and full automation systems from Crestron and URC. I have been talking about Crestron quite a bit lately, as many of you may have noticed. That is because it works for my clientele and me. I find it integrates cleanly and performs perfectly with very few, if any, service calls. It has taken me a while to get to this point—less than a year ago, I wouldn’t have recommended Crestron for any client, and I was installing many different brands and systems. I pride myself on always growing and evolving.
However, while Crestron is right for my business, it may not be right for everyone. I have taken my colleague from Home Theater Advisors to both the Crestron HQ showroom and their design center in NYC. He’s done the web-based product trainings, spoken with the sales team, and gotten hands-on with the equipment in my home. But it isn’t the right fit for his business. He services the middle market—the meat of his jobs fall between $3,000-$15,000. His best bets are URC Complete Control, Sonos, 5.1 home theater systems, and wireless subwoofers. It works for his business model, but not as much for mine. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t evolve and progress as well. He’s gone from single room solutions to multi-room audio, lighting, and more advanced remotes.
He and I both keep up with the latest new products and try them out. We share with each other what we think works either for our own business or what we think will work for the other. He introduced me to a few great solutions for the right situation—wireless multi-room audio, WI3 Ethernet over coax, and wireless rear speaker adapters. He has gotten exposure from me on Total Control, on wired whole-home audio systems, and some new networking toys that I’ve found.
While we all have to keep moving forward and expanding our product mix or shifting to new technologies, it has taken me working closely with Mark to realize that you don’t have to always be moving to more expensive or complex product lines. They are not necessarily “better,” but they are better for me. And therein lies the key lesson that my mother always preached—beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
+Todd Anthony Pumais president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.