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Captain Lou & the best book I’ve ever read on hiring

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Some of you know that I started the first four years of my career in the recruiting industry working w/ @douglaskling & @egrasing. Our sweet spot was hiring unique technical talent that typically could NOT be found on job boards around the $75-125k salary range in Atlanta.

This was basically executive headhunting for critical tech hires and through this role, I learned A LOT about sourcing talent, making opportunities attractive for them, interviewing candidates, closing, & on-boarding.

There were two resources that really helped me to be most effective in my effots. One was an industry magazine, The Fordyce Letter, & the other was the greatest book I ever read on hiring: Lou Adlers “Hire With Your Head“.

Hire With Your Head is fantastic because its not just a tactical guide for hiring, but a definitive summary for the hiring landscape & a step by step tool that can be used to bring on the best talent available for your role.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is building their own team, or providing services helping others.

I’ve put together a book review of Hire With Your Head which can be found here and on Amazon but here is my brief summary.

The best talent is not on job boards or waiting to hear from you. They are heads down, doing their job- good at what they do and others in the organization are benefiting by them

so… in order to reach them, you need to do something different. You need to reach them where they are and bring them a message that shows them why they should act.

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112″ Display Lands on Dude’s Head. He & the Screen Survive to Laugh it off

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I am totally blown away at the tale that occurred with a NanoLumens display last week. To make this clear, I WAS OUT OF TOWN…and had absolutely NOTHING to do with it… I promise! :), but here is what happened:

One of our partners rented out a display to a customer during a recent live event. Bypassing the words of caution in the owner’s manual, they decided to hang the display without utilizing the factory stabilizer bar. The show went off without a hitch; that is, until the breakdown session.

Two guys climbed up on a 15 foot ladder to take down the display. While holding the unit (without the stabilizing bar) they cut the zip ties supporting it. Immediately the display folded in the middle (its flexible dummy!) throwing one of the guys off-balance. He then fell to the ground…and like the old nursery rhyme,  the display came tumbling after!

The NanoLumens 112″ display actually landed on the guy on the floor’s head and then hit his foot. He got up, brushed himself off, probably checked his britches, and then put the stabilizer bar back in the display so they could roll it off site and send it to us for repair.

I just saw the unit with my own two eyes and here it is:

The absolute best quote of the evening was when the victim proclaimed, “I’m just glad it wasn’t a LCD!”

And the moral of the story: READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL, please!

Categories: Uncategorized

Too Many Static Signs at the DIGITAL SIGNAGE Expo!

March 2, 2011 2 comments

One of the things that caught my attention at DSE last week was the overabundance of static banners above all the display manufacturers’ booths. This to me was crazy…it’s the DIGITAL SIGNAGE Expo and this is what we get from the creators of Digital Signs?

There was one beautiful booth however that had two 112″ displays around a circular banner, hanging high in the air for everyone to see…in fact you could see these displays from virtually anywhere on the floor. I’m obviously tooting the NanoLumens horn here but big ups to the home team for making this happen…and take that you large display manufacturers! 🙂

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What I’d Like to See at DSE

February 21, 2011 1 comment

I’m on the plane en route to DSE and am very excited about the week ahead! A big agenda for me at the show is to share the benefits of the NanoLumens offering and what makes our product so unique. Additionally while there, I’m looking for a few key trends and ideas that I believe will further enable success for the industry. Here the few things I’d like to see at DSE:

  1. Closer progress toward platform standardization (maybe even consolidation)– There are too many systems running out there that are very different in terms or what file types they play and how CMS commands are initiated. It is stifling to innovation of new concepts like content apps and peripheral features. The web guys only have to deal with 3-4 browsers, the phone guys only a few operating systems, but us digital signage folks have over 200 different platforms to deal with. There needs to be some consistency so we can advance our offering. I’ve heard news of advancement on the open source DS front here, and this is one exciting area that I will be following up on.
  2. Aesthetically pleasing content that fits the HCI model – there are a lot of users who still haven’t learned that content needs to be relevant and contextual. OK, you can lead a horse to water……I believe however that the next step in content innovation (in correlation with interactivity) is for that content to become beautiful and more user friendly. Interactive or not, let’s consider our display technology and what looks the best on these devices, then lets consider further how the human brain interpretates digital information for the best impact/response. There is tons of research out there on this topic and most agencies can share some great learnings. Hopefully, with more and more content companies at the show, we will be able to learn who is paying attention to these things and incorporating them in their offerings.
  3. An independent “consumer reports” style resource with user generated content that compares digital signage offerings – This one may be a stretch but there are over 200 Digital Signage SW offerings! Which one does what? Which doesnt do X? Which are buggy/unpredictable, user friendly, robust, or just plain awesome? Most importantly, given my objectives, which is best for me and my organization? We have a directory and I’m sure that there will be printed one at the show, but where are the independent reviews and user suggestions? Build me the Amazon reviews equivalent of DS software and I believe that you may have something.
  4. Strong filtering, moderation, & curation in user generated content on displays – I love LocaModa, and anyone else who is pushing the envelop of DOOH interactivity, but when I brainstorm new ideas in this department, I get a little caught up thinking about how the content will be moderated. LocaModa has a great whitepaper on this topic here and I’d like to catch up with them to see how dealing with this has advanced since then.
  5. Progress of DOOH Aggregators? – These guys were the talk of the show in 2009. I’d like to meet Rob Gorrie at Adcentricity and catch up with Rocky Gunderson from SeeSaw. I believe that there is a lot of opportunity in these offerings that add up disparate network inventory but I haven’t seen much buzz or news on them over the past year. Hopefully, my head has been in the sand. Really, what I’ve seen instead is consolidation through acquisition like the RMG buzz.
  6. Presence of OOH Guys and Agencies –  The reasons here are pretty obvious. These guys have $ and brand control. Yeah sure, they need us and we can make their world better…but we need them even more. Basically they are the cats meow.
  7. GREAT PROJECTS! – In my opinion, the project hotline has been on fire lately. Let’s keep it up! Its so much easier to get down to business and uncover details of projects when the right people are physically present alongside the technology. This is where we make a living!

Well, thats whats on my mind for now. That, and of course how long will I last at the craps table? 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

Some People I’d like to Meet (Finally) at #DSE2011

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

This past year marked a time when I’ve built many of my new relationships through digital mediums. Especially in the digital signage world where everyone is so geographically spread out, its hard for me to get in the same room as all the people with whom I share emails, tweets, and Skype calls. This week at DSE, I want to make sure that I make the most of my time and get to know these new & future friends on a more personal level. Here is a handful of people who I’ve been impressed with over the last year that I’d really like to meet at this year’s DSE:

Categories: Uncategorized

My Thoughts on European Digital Signage & #ISE2010

February 14, 2011 1 comment

I returned to Atlanta this weekend after a two-week trip to Europe. While initially just slated to start and end in Amsterdam for ISE, due to customer orders and a new international distributor, we extended it to include the UK and Germany.

For starters, the ISE show was huge! It’s been noted to have had record attendance, which you can see here, and it was no different for us @NanoLumens. I’ve made a few notes from the show below and you can see my interview from the fine folks at rAVe Europe right here:

  • Lots of “leads”…& “LED’s”- Between us and our partner PSCo, we collected over 700 leads at the NanoLumens booth. Interestingly also, the LED players were out in full force. I counted over 20 booths selling some form of LED product (none like ours though!)
  • Smart People – The ISE attendees seemed to have a better understanding of their AV landscape and the underlying technology of display products. I can’t tell you how many times someone taught me a lesson…not hard to do, but always a good sign.
  • Differentiation – I personally learned a lot more about competitive products, particularly what differentiates industry offerings from one another.
  • NanoLove – Everyone is interested in our stuff! Including the big dogs and the competitive spirit was friendly, not intrusive. We had people show up at our booth from Barco, Daktronics, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Christie, & Prysm…all wanting to see how we do what we do!

Here is a quick video I splashed together of lots of cool tech using my iphone & the imovie app…enjoy:

Lastly, word to the wise: bring your gloves, hat, and thick socks to Amsterdam in February!…especially if you are setting up a tradeshow booth (they don’t touch the heater & they leave the doors open on setup days).

Were you at ISE? What did you see, learn, & do? and did you bring your cold weather gear 🙂

Next gig: ramp up for DSE…I hope to see you there!

Categories: Uncategorized

Technology Sitings at #NRF11

January 10, 2011 1 comment

My colleague Will & I are in NYC this week for some NanoLumens demos & decided to walk this year’s NRF show. Below are some of the neat technologies we saw there that left an impression on us.

For starters, gesture interactivity is IN! after playing a bit of Microsoft Kinect, we went out looking for retail applications for this type of motion sensing technology.

Where is the retail play?

We ended up finding our first example at the Stratacache booth. There they had a two, portrait screen example of a retail sign of which the copy could be changed by hand motions. I’d like to see a call-to-action or incentive, but this type of idea is certainly going places in retail. The neat thing about this technology is that it doesn’t need an entire extra hardware enclosure…just the camera peripheral plugged in to the media player through USB. We had a bit of fun with it, check it out here:

The next stop was the Intel booth where we ran into David Weinfeld. David is the king of retail digital interactivity and together we explored a Kraft foods kiosk that connected with your membership card and grocery list. This app provided suggested add-on items and relevant recipes to the user. It seemed to me that an app like this would have some legs if it could streamline purchase decisions. I wasn’t able to get the deal on video but I did capture it turning David into a bobble head doll. So at David’s expense…

The rest of the Intel booth was impressive and really proved that they are investing in digital signage and new ways to optimize signs through interactivity.

The next technology I really liked is the iAPS hardware by Daily Systems. This is an iPhone/iPod accessory aimed at retailers used for mobile point of sales applications among many other applications. You’ve probably seen this type of service if you’ve bought anything at the Apple store, but iAPS is more extensible. The product can scan smart cards, charge credit cards, print bar codes (including QR), scan bar codes, and print receipts or reports. Its built for POS applications but can also be used for functions such as inventory control, route/fleet control, etc. The hardware is also built to allow you to create your own fitting software app. Here is a quick intro of the product:

Lastly was something that I found to be really cool. The company is ZBD, and they create electronic labels for products on retail shelfs. Using epaper technology (similar to the display in the popular eReaders), this product removes the need for paper labels and allows the retailer the ability to change any product-related information on any screen, anytime from the web. In addition to their functionality and chance at upsell/ROI, these displays looked gorgeous and can be acquired cheaper than other digital display technologies. Here are some examples…

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