This week, Commercial Integrator is delighted to induct our next #AVLivingLegends honoree: Sam Malik of MAXHUB. Malik is a highly respected figure in the AV industry, boasting more than 25 years of experience. He has held various management positions throughout his career, including roles at Toshiba, Sanyo and Proxima. Presently the vice president of sales and marketing at MAXHUB, Malik has expertise in emerging AV technologies and trends. This has established him as a thought leader in the industry. Moreover, he is universally recognized for his remarkable career accomplishments.
In this exclusive Q&A, Malik reflects on his journey in the commercial AV industry. In addition, he underscores the importance of building connections in a tight-knit industry such as ours.
Malik is also the founder of AVIP (AV Industry Professionals) on LinkedIn. Join him and 54,000 other commercial AV people there. We encourage you to connect, network and continue the discussion!
And if you’d like to read even more coverage relating to our #AVLivingLegends, like Sam Malik from MAXHUB, check out our hub page. It, of course, includes direct links to every living legend!
Commercial Integrator: What motivated you to join the commercial AV industry? What has kept you motivated and engaged in the decades that followed?
Sam Malik: I spent the early part of my career in the computer industry, and witnessed the beginning of Apple Computer, IBM PC, and Compaq Computers. Early on I got to work with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and even met Bill Gates a few times. I got to witness the advent of personal computers, witness the introduction of Windows driven devices, as well as the advent of the Internet. When computers became graphical, it naturally led to people wanting to display their worksheets and graphical images. At the same time, I began searching for the next great advancement in electronics.
During my search, I found the early beginnings of the projector industry, and [that’s how] I joined the AV industry. In the years that followed…those very early 100- to 300-lumen VGA to WXGA projectors…the constant advancement in picture quality, resolutions, and stacking and wrapping images kept me engaged and interested in what was to come. And I witnessed it all over the next 30 years of my commercial AV career.
Commercial Integrator: Reflect on your role as both a mentee early in your career and as a mentor later in your career. Who helped shape the trajectory of your professional life, and how have you tried to help shape others’ careers?
Malik: I was a pioneer in the PC computer industry, and, early in my career, I latched on to all that I could read or find on VHS tapes from leaders in sales, or in the industry in general. I had become a manager at a young age out of college, and I found sales motivation from Zig Ziglar. In addition, I followed the leadership example of Tom Watson Jr. at IBM, and Guy Kawasaki at Apple Computer. I was able to learn quickly and help customers solve problems in their businesses with technology. I used those skills my entire career. Treat people right, use common sense, make sure you run a profitable business, treat team members with respect and help them build their careers.
I have many current and former employees (team members) who have worked for me in the past and who have eagerly joined my team many times. I take this as a compliment about my management skills and my goal of treating all fairly.
Commercial Integrator: What’s the most memorable story/anecdote of your career in commercial AV?
Malik: The internet was growing fast, and social media was becoming very relevant to doing business. I felt my children knew more about social media than I did, so I decided to fully engage and learn how to use social media to communicate and reach more customers. I created Twitter (now X), Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, and I invited friends and industry AV people to connect.
The one avenue that took off was on LinkedIn. I created a group called AV Industry Professionals (AVIP) and connected with about 50 AV people. They invited two friends and so on. That was 13-plus years ago, and there are now more than 54,000 active members globally. This group and its success have helped me build a strong network in the AV industry that I use to advertise, recruit, and post updates and info on the brand, products and activities that I represent. I consider this one of my personal successes that has helped others in the commercial AV industry.
Commercial Integrator: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment to date? What has been your biggest professional regret to date?
Malik: I feel very fortunate to have had two careers in technology: first in computers and then in commercial AV. I have had the opportunity to build multiple businesses from inception to more than $135 million per year. With my career total sales revenue exceeding $3 billion. I cherish and appreciate each of the long-term business relationships I have made that have lasted over many different brand experiences.
Pro AV is truly a business built on relationships and trust. Having had the opportunity to automate and help people visually tell their story or present their business is very rewarding. I don’t really have regrets as I am focused on the positive things, and only look at negatives or regrets as learning experiences. As my career grows longer, I am still excited every day to work in the commercial AV business, bringing collaboration tools and DVLED displays to market through MAXHUB products.
Commercial Integrator: What’s the best advice or pearl of wisdom you either received during your career or came to realize on your own?
Malik: The Golden Rule works well in the AV industry. Being a small industry of about 65,000 people, it is important to treat people right and not to burn a bridge. Because you never know when you will need to cross that bridge again. Networking with a large base of connections you can interact and communicate with is important your entire career. Taking time to study and learn something new is always valuable to your career. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and your family. Work hard and play hard.
Would you like to nominate a peer or colleague — or perhaps yourself! — to be featured in this #AVLivingLegends series, just like Sam Malik from MAXHUB was? If so, just email Dan Ferrisi, group editor, commercial and security, Emerald, at [email protected].
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