Donate Bradford Benn’s Money

Bradford made a business decision to change the marketing plan for Advisist. Most of the marketing budget was planned to be spent on promotional items, “swag”. He decided to “cancel all swag for the year” and donate the money to the AVIXA Women’s Council fundraising project benefiting Rosie Riveters and promoting STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and specifically Audio Video for girls. Advisist fully funded their project.

Yes, this is still a marketing and brand awareness opportunity. Advisist is the Title Sponsor for the project which means it is included in their material. But as said before, it is not about the monetary ROI (Return on Investment). It is about bringing more girls into STEM. The sponsorship can result in no new opportunities to Advisist and it would be a success. Our goal is truly to increase women in STEM fields.

We have been talking with Jennifer Goodyer, CTS and Erica Carroll, CSM as the project leaders quite a bit. They are continuing to fundraise to expand the project’s impact. During an interview with AVNation ( Tim Albright spoke about raising the goal. That is where this idea came from. And yes, Bradford is humbled by the impact and the kind words of many people.

When the AVIXA Women’s Council crosses US$30,000 before July 1, 2022, Bradford will personally donate an additional 50% of the Advisist donation. There is an additional condition, at least 20% of the total amount raised in June must come from individuals. (He is trusting that people are not just donating a company’s money.)

Basically, this challenge is a twist on the game show “Win Ben Stein’s Money.” The big change is that the girls are the winners.

You can donate here:

Help us spend our boss’s money, please.

The Ideation Process is Powerful

The word ideation is a buzzword. At times though it is still the correct word to use. Advisist has just launched and as can be expected there are some startup pains. They are not growing pains, as we haven’t grown yet. These are small problems I did not expect to encounter. An example is trying to keep calendars synchronized so that one does not book two activities for the same time.

Previously I managed this challenge by having two mobile devices, one personal and one business. Each device’s calendar was synchronized to the appropriate scheduling tool. That didn’t work for my new situation. I was still having the challenge of which calendar was active in the calendar application. Was it the iCloud based one or the Office 365 one? If it was the Office 365 one, was it Advisist or AVNation? I knew that there had to be a better way. Off to I went.

After some searching, the results were not looking promising. I could find many people who were having the same issue:

It was not looking promising. I paused and thought. Then I thought about the Ideation services we offer. I had defined, “experience to be created” by saying I wanted to synchronize calendars so that AVNation, Personal, and Advisist events show up in all three calendars. As I thought about it I added, do not confuse the meeting organizer by forwarding the invite. Now that it was clearly defined, I just had to figure out how.

The next portion was defining the process to make this happen. Some call this “process ideation.” I was not trying to figure out the “how” of what was going to be done. I was determining the steps or the flow of what needed to be done. I started with a basic list of:

  1. Create new event on Calendar X
  2. Inform calendars Y and Z that there is a new event

Well that is easy, but that isn’t synchronizing. It got a lot more complex as I thought about it.

  1. Create new event on calendar X
  2. Inform calendars Y and Z to create new event
  3. Create new event on calendar Y
  4. Inform calendars X and Z – well that is a loop

An indicator was need to prevent the calendar from creating a mirrored event. That would be a really fun feedback loop. Should probably make it unique per event.

A basic flow diagram to show the steps of event mirroring
Click to Embiggen

This was the part of the process ideation. I had documented processes for creating an event on multiple calendars. I had not defined the code or tools to be used. I then thought about the important word of synchronization. Calendar X must not only tell calendars Y and Z that there is a new event, it also needs to inform the other calendars if it is changed or deleted. I won’t go through all the steps I went through. The flow chart ended up a little more complex than expected. However based on the process I thought it would solve the issue and synchronize calendars.

The next step was to take the idea and create it in reality. Determining the way to accomplish and support the defined processes was easier than opening up a search engine and looking for the solution as could be seen by the previous results. I studied various off the shelf solutions that had the ability to perform the processes I outlined. I might not have known how they performed the task, I just knew that they could perform the tasks need to complete the processes needed. I was able to determine that Microsoft PowerAutomate Flows, part of Office 365, could perform the tasks I needed. There was one limiting factor, I needed to change the calendering service for one of my accounts to make items synchronize effectively. However after that I was able to configure the system to work with all my e-mails and calendar accounts.

A little more complex:
Click to Embiggen

Now comes the question everyone has: Why should I care? The point of this post is to show you that through Advisist’s experience and approach we are able to provide solutions that others have not been able to create.

Advisist Holiday Happenings 2020Thank you for reading. Now if you will excuse me, I have some calendars to synch

PS Have you signed up for our 2020 Holiday List?

Hello World!

“Friends seen and unseen I greet you with the holy word Peace” – Prophet Omega

As a tip of the hat to the Apollo 13 team, I have decided to launch my newest Endeavour. today, Friday, November 13, 2020 at 13:13 Eastern Standard Time. I was told on July 27 that the project I was working on at Universal Creative would be ending. Given the current state of the world, I was saddened and scared. I turned to the great philosopher Dr. Seuss, who soothes the world by writing, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Now it is time to look to the future while still smiling.

I have been fortunate to receive great support from people within the Theme Park and Audio Video industries. Due to COVID, I am far from the only one who has been looking for employment. There is no such thing as a good time to be unemployed but during a pandemic is an even more extraordinary time to be looking for work.

One cannot have comedy without tragedy, King Kong without Ann Darrow (played by Fay Wray), or sadness without happiness. We are changing from the sad part of an indefinite pause to the happy part of the unwritten future. Each of us decides what we will do next. Yes, the Pandemic changes many things, but how it changes us hasn’t been written. We influence our own future, keeping in mind that in doing so we also influence the future of others.

Three years ago, when I was laid off from Harman, I considered starting my own consulting firm, however the selection of opportunities available at the time lead me to put that idea on hold. Again, given the current state of the world, I have no reason (read that as excuse) to not take the leap. Is it a great time to make this decision? I am not sure; I don’t think anyone can know what is coming.

Yes, I am concerned, nervous, and scared right now, but I am taking the leap and I am doing something about it. Today I launch “ADVISIST”.

In the past three-plus decades of working in professional audio, video, and lighting I have had many roles. I have been a student, a teacher, an operator, a technical manager, a specifier, a designer, a fabricator, and an installer. I have performed these roles in various guises. I have worked for integration firms, I have worked for manufacturers, and now I have worked as a technical manager. This history is what I am drawing on as our company moves forward. As they say, no man is an island and behind every great man stands a woman pushing him forward. Yes, my wife Jennifer has been doing that for this project.

Advisist will not be a typical firm. The way we work has evolved as have world conditions. The “gig” economy and temporary staffing have proven that sometimes all that is needed is help for the short term, which is perfectly reasonable. The goal is long-term relationships that are beneficial to both parties while not saddling either with unneeded expenses.

There are five main beliefs that are guiding the new company. These are not the mission statement; those things are hard to write. The five main guiding principles are:

  • People Over Profit
  • Do What Is Right
  • Open Communication
  • Support People and Companies We Know
  • We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone

I have gotten this far in life and my career by preparing as best I can, then showing up and seeing what happens. Yes, there is the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy infamous quote of, “Don’t Panic.” It is good advice, but I do feel that embracing the fear and doing something anyway is the better way to live. No one’s future is certain. All anyone can do is prepare as best they can, show up, and see what happens.

Elbert Hubbard wrote, “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
It was made famous by Bugs Bunny in 1960’s cartoon Rabbit’s Feat. Pretty good advice.

Peace and good health to all, always.

Bradford Benn
November 13, 2020 13:13 EST