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What Do You Wish You Knew When You First Started in the Pro AV Industry?

What do you wish you knew when you first started in the pro AV industry? Help out Commercial Integrator’s newbie and let us know in the comments.

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What Do You Wish You Knew When You First Started in the Pro AV Industry?

We at Commercial Integrator have a new colleague, and while I will let him introduce himself when he starts next week, his fast-approaching first day has me reflecting on my first few weeks covering the pro AV industry.

We all have something we wish we were told when we first started in a new job, industry, or hobby: that piece (or many pieces) of wisdom which could only have been gleaned from experience, but which could have helped you greatly as a newbie.

At my last job in radio, it was the idea that I didn’t in fact need to sound like a “radio guy,” because — as any seasoned radio or podcast professional will tell you — “conversational & clear” is much better than “stereotypical and campy.” But when I first started that job, I thought I needed to sound like what I thought a “radio professional” sounded like. The results weren’t pretty, at least not for the first week.

Here, at Commercial Integrator, I had a unique opportunity to talk about my blatant inexperience in the pro AV industry during week 3.

It was the week after InfoComm 2017. And I wrote this blog about what I — as a newcomer to the industry — thought about it based on what I saw at InfoComm.

My points were relatively simple, but I thought it might be interesting for those who have lots of experience to hear what a newbie noticed right off the bat. Here is what I said then, in 2017, about the audio visual industry:

  1. That more visually-stunning products and projects tend to garner more buzz than simple, effective, but less impressive-looking ones
  2. That the audio visual installation industry is in dire need of overall diversification
  3. That the phrases “pro AV” and “AV industry” seem outdated and ineffective

While I think there’s more than enough evidence to support these observations — especially the second point on diversity — I did not have the research, the first-hand experience, or the trusted guidance from industry veterans to make these points then. I’m glad I do, now.

And, of course, I’ve learned more about the full extent of those points; where they are applicable, and where they are not.

But my new colleague won’t have the pleasure of attending InfoComm during his second week working here. Which is why I wanted to ask you, the pro AV industry at large, what you wish YOU had known when you first started down this path.

What do you wish you knew when you first started in the pro AV industry? Help out Commercial Integrator’s newbie and let us know in the comments.

About the Author


Adam Forziati is senior web editor for Commercial Integrator and MyTechDecisions.

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  • Jeremy Birch says:

    Curious…if you feel “pro AV” is an outdated term to describe our industry, what would you use instead?

    • Adam Forziati says:

      I’ve heard a few alternatives – personally, I don’t mind “experience designers,” or “experience architecture,” something I heard Joe Cornwall at Legrand use.

      I don’t claim to have anything more solid than that. My point was then and is now that hardly anyone outside the industry knows what it is, what it does, or why they need them. That’s a branding problem if I’ve ever heard of one.

      Thanks for reading,

  • Doug Savoie says:

    When I first started out in audio visual, I wish I knew that Avixa (Formally InfoComm International) offered training and certification for AV Technicians. I worked for an AV company for 6 1\2 years, where I was told that InfoComm was only for sales people and I was not able to go. Learned later the company had been lying to me all along. I am now CTS certified after working for other AV firms. I have now been working in AV for about 27 years.

  • Phil Stanley says:

    Little did I know back then that this is NOT an engineering profession, but an industry based on criminality, incompetence and getting away with as much as you can, because you can. Standards: not needed; competence: not expected; ethics: not wanted; laws of physics: RU kidding me? Empty promises by empty suits who make big bucks based on lying thru their teeth: check; hand-waving design & wishing-makes-it-so pseudo-engineering: check; don’t know which end of a screwdriver to use at installation: check.
    The entire AV industry should be arrested & prosecuted under RICO statutes for operating an ongoing criminal conspiracy to defraud if not endanger the consumer.
    ….And it’s only getting worse; glad I’m getting out.

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