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Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008

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Tim Wilson
Re: Avid says No to NAB 2008
on Nov 15, 2007 at 4:34:37 pm

[Proper Modulation] "Avid is taking YET ANOTHER step to remove themselves from the future and dig themselves deeper into the ESTABLISHED market that thinks Avid can do know wrong and would never fathom FCP as an alternate."

That's where I politely disagree.

Look at the Apple booth. Fully of delighted fans, everything's coming up roses, literally stampeding through the gates every morning.

People with negative energy to spread are rare in Apple's booth.

Every bit as true in Avid's booth, and all the others I worked. Most people come to trade show booths to be excited by new gear and new stories, and to reaffirm their wisdom in betting their careers on this company. I still think trade shows are soul-sucking misery, but the experience actually in the booth is pretty pleasant.

I worked more tradeshows than I can count, for 6 or 8 companies (please don't make me remember them too clearly) and I don't think I heard a dozen strongly negative comments in the 9 years I worked 'em. If you want to hear happy talk, live in the booth.

Compare this to my experience on Avid road shows...keeping in mind that I was hired because I knew NOTHING about Avid, but was an expert Final Cut Pro user. (Which I now know nothing about any more.) Seriously, I'd never launched an Avid app, never edited a frame with one before they hired me.

On a typical Avid road show, the demo monkeys like me were the ones on the stage.

In the crowd, highly visible ("David, raise your hand so people can see you"), you'd find the CEO, the video business GM, the COO, vice presidents for post and broadcast, every major product manager, support people, and sales managers there for the sole purpose of finding out from you if they needed to kick your dealer's ass for you.

You can pick the biggest fish at NAB -- NONE of them got to see all of these people in one room. The corporate wigs were spread across too many meetings for that to ever happen.

But ALL of them at every road show was engaged in one on one conversations, for hours. They visited facilities on the days surrounding the road shows. They lived and breathed constant customer contact.

And friends, they got an earful. This was anything but digging themselves in.

Not that there weren't plenty of people who had nice things to say, or who followed up their "thanks" with a big "but." (As Pee Wee Herman said, "Everyone I know has a big 'but.'"

To circle back to your point about ignoring FCP, I'll remind you that Avid hired me because I was an FCP whiz. Every product manager I knew was fully bilingual. Every development team had FCP installed on their machines. Every marketing team parses every Apple campaign. Every member of the UG teams gauge their success against FCP UGs.

That doesn't even count salespeople, who I assure you made certain that everybody on the product teams stayed on top of everything about everything about Final Cut Pro.

You might say that Avid is learning their lessons poorly, or not at all. I think you'd find plenty of people at Avid who agree with you.

So you might not like Avid. Even after my tales you might still think they made the wrong call about NAB. But to your original points:

--Plenty of their established customers think Avid is falling short. Avid stands face to face with them, one on one, and hears the details, and gets follow-up phone calls to see if they're following through.

--Which is why road shows are the opposite of digging in. They're putting yourself in the cross hairs, getting your crowd liquored up on your dime, and handing them a gun.

Maybe they shoot, maybe they don't. But the gun's loaded.

Even when facing the angriest customers, the road shows were the proudest moments of my corporate career. They were truly profound experiences that were unlike anything even remotely possible at a trade show.

A final note that I did road shows for other companies besides Avid. I have the same thing to say about those experiences too.

But since we're talking about Avid, I thought it might be helpful to have a perspective from inside the belly of the beast.


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