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An Inspiring Demo Theater Project

There I sat, deep into the early morning hours, during set up of CEDIA EXPO exhibits last month, amidst mountainous piles of electronics, building materials, and tools. We were assembling the demonstration theater (affectionately nicknamed “Noah’s CinemaPlus Pyramid,” because it was a cross between Noah’s Ark and the Great Pyramid) that Triad Speakers co-sponsored with my company, PMI. Our task was just staggering, yet I was absolutely overcome with amazement at the number of people who were going way beyond the call of duty to help us out.

Among our number was the contractor, who had committed for up to two days of labor, but wound up working two more out of pocket. There was also the convention center staff, who normally pride themselves on clocking out by 5:00:01 but were gladly hanging out until all hours to loan us tools, bring us coffee, and even make emergency runs to Home Depot.

The PMI/Triad demo theater was nicknamed “Noah’s CinemaPlus Pyramid,” because it was a cross between Noah’s Ark and the Great Pyramid. For more photos, click here.

There also were dealers and sales reps who just happened by, saw what was going on, and pitched in (some for hours at a time.) Then there was the Triad sales and marketing staff, who were brought to the show to greet visitors with smiles but wound up dedicating all of their available hours to the task at hand, cutting plywood and sheetrock, and driving hundreds of screws into this colossal sound-isolated structure.

Without all of these people, who worked patiently and determinedly even during the frustrating times when we had major problem solving to do, the demonstration would simply not have happened. The question I pondered, while sitting there on the floor, was, “Why?” Why were all these people helping us?

The answer, I believe, is deceptively simple. We were all working together, as part of a community, to create something that would be exciting, unique, and impressive. It was something that would be much greater than the sum of its parts, because it would bring enjoyment and entertainment to literally hundreds of visitors over the course of the four days of EXPO. What started out as a small core of dedicated people who were totally committed and enthusiastic about the cause quickly snowballed into a massive cooperative effort. The enthusiasm was infectious; everyone who came by caught the vision and wanted to be a part of it.

Looking back on that experience, I’ve come to the realization that we have a major motivational opportunity. This business of building custom dedicated home theaters is exciting. It is unique. It is special. It provides all the necessary elements to build the kind of cooperative team spirit that I witnessed at CEDIA. I know this, too, because I’ve witnessed it in the field.

What do builders and interior designers get excited about on the construction site? The kitchen? The living room? I don’t see them walking into the kitchen under construction and jokingly asking, “When’s dinner ready?” I don’t hear them in the living room wondering when they’ll be invited over for drinks. But they all come to the theater wanting to know when the first movie will show. As those responsible for the success of these large custom projects, it’s our job to instill this excitement in our core group, then sit back and watch as it spreads through everyone involved in the project.

You may be sitting on the fence right now, wondering whether or not to enter the world of dedicated home theaters. Let me encourage you to overcome your hesitation and jump in with both feet. It’s a natural human reaction to want to be a part of something fun and special, and these home theater projects are just that. They create motivation and excitement among the team that builds them.

I developed a special bond with the people who helped us at CEDIA. I am deeply grateful to them— and you know who you are if you’re reading this— and I will always remember them. Working hard side by side with people to accomplish a common goal forges a strong bond that is not easily broken and never forgotten. If this is what you want for your company, then why wait? Get started now.

Chase Walton contributed to this column.

Anthony Grimani ([email protected]) is president of Performance Media Industries, a California-based acoustical engineering firm specializing in home theater design and calibration.