Project Bradford Episode 005
Matt Scott

Bradford Benn sat down with Matt D. Scott in February for a wide ranging discussion. This discussion was not focused solely on AV. They covered topics from being a business owner to the impact of social media to how one defines themselves without talking about their job. The conversation went much deeper than expected. They spoke for over 150 minutes, that is 2.5 hours. The conversation was edited for length, and it still takes two episodes to gather all of the good content. The first half of the discussion can be found at Project Bradford Episode 004.

Matt is a fellow AVNation board member. He’s also the host of ResiWeek on AVNation, as well as being the owner of Omega Audio Video in London, Ontario, Canada. He also has been a CEDIA board member. You can contact him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

Under the media is a transcript of the conversation if you would prefer to read the content.



Transcript

continued from Part 1

Bradford Benn

I don’t know anyone who’s ever had their mind changed by Twitter.

Matt Scott

Now, now, I thought about it, I couldn’t find anybody.

Bradford Benn

There are things like, Okay, this is the news article that was posted by reputable news source. And now here’s another news article posted by another reputable news source. And it’s not that it happened on Twitter. It’s just where they post the link to their articles, and those to provide deeper background. It’s one of the reasons I like reading the newspaper, even though it’s now electronic, but reading that instead of the TV, because you get those longer backgrounds, bigger in depth, yeah. All that stuff. And while they might post the headline on Twitter, and that pulls me in who yet still,

Matt Scott

can you read the headline?

Bradford Benn

Yes. And part of it is I subscribed to three newspapers electronically.

Matt Scott

Yeah. I I’m in that camp too, because I hate I’m one of the one of the few people who seems to hate the whole hanging ago, watch this little how to clip or whatever it is this news clip on, on YouTube. I don’t like doing that. I’m much bigger fan of reading. I want to read something I want to read an opinion or a hopefully, semi unbiased report on something. I want to read some facts, not what you think. And, you know, the last couple years have been disappointing for me, because I’m a huge news junkie. But I can’t watch broadcast news anymore. Because there’s no actual or there’s very limited reporting. Yes, there is like, it always cracks me up. Because when we started AV nation, one of our biggest things was that we were providing commentary. Which is one of the things that I absolutely hate about broadcast news. Right? is I don’t want commentary in news. I want a reporting on the news and want to make up my own mind.

Bradford Benn

I disagree that we’re providing commentary. I think we’re providing context.

Matt Scott

Yes. Yeah. But we were we when we started, we were very much about getting content, context, and commentary.

Bradford Benn

Right. Right. Because my opinions always right. So of course, we had to publish that. Well, yeah.

Matt Scott

Yeah. That’s why we started the whole thing. Tim just hasn’t figured it out.

Bradford Benn

That’s why I keep signing his paychecks and don’t argue about what his pay rates going to be.

Matt Scott

No, no, no, no, just let them let them live in oblivion. It’s fine.

Bradford Benn

And I agree with you on the on the YouTube stuff. And I’m, I believe that news has gotten very soundbite based and has been happening for years. And oh, yeah, part of it is I, you know, when I used to watch the evening news, it was CBS with Walter Cronkite, and then came on the Muppet Show at 7:30. And, you know, I’m being dead serious. But that was, you know, like, half my childhood was dinner, Walter Cronkite, Muppet Show, bed. And that doesn’t happen. But now it’s like, there are certain videos. I want to see that you can’t find on the news you have to go to YouTube.

Matt Scott

I probably phrase that slightly aggressively. That’s why I’m just it’s, it’s very much one of those things that when you know, when I’m trying to figure something out, right, or if I’m trying to troubleshoot an issue with my stove, you know, I want to see, I want to see an article on how to fix it. I don’t want to watch the little, you know, 30 minutes. Hey, this is George your appliance man. Let me show you how to fix your GE Frigidaire. Whatever it is my stove. I have to fast forward for all that stuff, right? But yeah, it’s I think reading is a bit of a lost art even, like I tend to. I made a conscious decision about two years ago, because I realized that the only reading, I was doing was either news or tech related something. Whether it was a review on something, whether it was General news on tech, whether it was a product manual. Everything was very work related.

Bradford Benn

It wasn’t for enjoyment.

Matt Scott

No, no, there was no reading for enjoyment. Yeah, I have cut down on the hair product. Because I don’t go anywhere.

Bradford Benn

I put a shirt on today. You know, because I was recording so it’s already a good day.

Matt Scott

That is a good day. I have to put on a shirt because it’s cold here.

Bradford Benn

I make myself put on real clothes to go to work in my home office.

Matt Scott

It does help. Yeah, I am not a I cannot come down here. I’m, I’m in my home office right now. I can’t come down here in like, you know, T shirt and sweatpants. and be productive during the day. I can do it at night. Like I if I if I’m behind on something or if I’m trying to get ahead on something. I can pop into the office at nine o’clock at night after the kids go down and get stuff done like that. You know and slippers and the whole the whole middle aged man thing.

Bradford Benn

You have like a dressing room? Not a not a bathroom dressing robe or a dressing gown.

Matt Scott

No, I’ve never had a dressing robe or a dressing gown. I haven’t had a bathrobe in yours. I don’t think I’ve had one since I’ve been married. Yeah, no, no, although my son got,

Bradford Benn

yeah, but what day is it? We have an analog calendar on the refrigerator that we crossed the days off. So that we know

Matt Scott

what I was talking to someone yesterday, and I had mentioned that I was out doing something like you’re out? Yeah. When did you When did your you know stay at home order? And I mean, it was like it was Tuesday. Like, well, that was a week ago. Like, oh, yeah, I guess it was just, I don’t know, I have no idea. And it’s not because I’m you know, just sitting at home every day, but it’s the routine is gone.

Bradford Benn

I’ve been thinking about that. It’s not just the routines gone. But I think it’s also streaming of video content has made days of the week. Not important because people used to be asked to be home for Monday Night Football have to be home for Dallas on Friday nights have to be home for cheers on Thursday. And now it’s like, yeah, it’s like, yes. You know, Mandalorian and Wanda vision. Those are kind of Yeah, have to see those the night but that stuff has come back.

Matt Scott

And I think that is that aspect is pushing. Some of this like must see TV back to reality. And I would argue it probably started with Game of Thrones.

Bradford Benn

Right. And I think it, but it was this is Sunday night then you knew it was Sunday? Yes. But now, you know, if I want to watch Battlebots I don’t have to watch it on Thursday night. We can watch it on Saturday. Yeah. And so, it doesn’t. You don’t need to keep track of those days as mine.

Matt Scott

Even if you watch it the same day, you probably don’t watch it the same time. Like we don’t ever sit down to watch anything that starts at 8am or sorry, 8pm on any given night, because we’re putting kids to bed. Right? So, we might want something that is on a on a Tuesday. Today, Tuesday, today’s Tuesday.

Bradford Benn

Today’s Tuesday, my computer says so

Matt Scott

that’s what I just looked at we might sit down on Tuesday to watch something that is on Tuesday. But because we’re not watching it at eight o’clock on Tuesday, we’re watching it at 1030 and just watching that PVR recording, right? It still doesn’t matter. It still doesn’t give you that that time clock of Oh, this is what day it is. And I also argue that so many traditional events that make up my life, your life. You know there’s conferences I’ve gone to for 25 years that I haven’t been to in a year that like we’ve got one coming up that we know really go to the first week of March that we can’t go to. And it’ll be streamed, and we’ll watch it a little bit and all that other stuff. But if I’m physically not there, or I don’t travel to go there, I want you to think that I’m going to dedicate the same amount of time to it, but I won’t write can’t because I’m not there.

Bradford Benn

Let me ask you, probably a more serious and much more difficult question. Okay. Would you go to ISC or InfoComm?

Matt Scott

So, it’s not a yes or no answer. And I’ll tell you why. It is a yes answer. With restrictions, okay, or with a caveat. And the caveat is, if I could go to IRC the way I always go to ISC, which is, drive to Detroit, drive to Toronto, jump on a plane, flyover mask or not, I don’t care. That’s inconsequential, at this point. land in Barcelona, jump in a taxi or an Uber and go to the hotel and then go to the trade show? Yes, I probably would. Now, the caveat to that being. Currently, I can’t do that. I have not checked what Barcelona’s entry requirements are. Currently. I know for the UK, it had come out, I think last week that no one can get in from the UK until they reach something like a 70% vaccination level. Alright if we use that as a parameter, barometer, I should say, for Canada, that I can fly into Barcelona. If Canada reaches a 70%. I won’t be going to Barcelona for the next two and a half, three years, because we are so behind right vaccinations.

Bradford Benn

But then at the same time, if you were coming back from Barcelona, and you had to quarantine occur,

Matt Scott

yes. It’s so starting as of Thursday, last week, not only do you have to quarantine in Canada with your you know, take a test 72 hours before you get on the plane, all that jazz. You now have to isolate, and I’ve been through this, I’ve done the isolation at home, where I can’t leave my house, I’m not supposed to be in my front yard, I can be in my backyard, but I can’t be in the front yard all those rules. And I’d be very diplomatic on that. I’ve done that. That was okay. It’s why we took the whole family when we went to Florida for the funeral was so that when we came back, the whole family could isolate together, it was the lesser of two evils for me to go to Barcelona, and quarantine, upon return for two weeks in a government mandated hotel, at a cost of north of $2,000 out of my pocket, not to mention lost wages last time last time with my family, all that other jazz. I’m not going to do that unless someone makes the case for why me going to Barcelona is an incredibly substantial reason, which I don’t believe, like Mike Blackmon could call me directly and ask me to do it. And I don’t. I’m not sure I’d see the upside of that. Just due to those isolation rules. The same applies for InfoComm in Orlando, and before InfoComm CEDIA in Indiana. I’m being told that CD is going to go off in September. And I got asked last week if I was going to come. I said, Well, Biden currently has a seven-day quarantine upon entry. So that means I come in for let’s say a day of the show because it is drivable for me. Know, you want me to drive in or fly in or whatever. For one day, that seven days on the front end. And I’ve got to get a hotel, right? Yep. Got to do that. I’ve got to pay for food to be delivered and all that other jazz I’ve got to isolate for seven days there’ll be a cost to that we can kind of safely assume minimum $1,000 Yeah, US Go to the show for a day or a couple of days at this point, it doesn’t matter. But go to the show for a day. And then drive fly home, whatever, get home, again, have to isolate in a hotel for two weeks. And not a nice hotel. Like not they’re not bad hotels, but they’re not nice hotels. I’ve stayed at one of them. That that’s at Pearson. I wouldn’t stay there on purpose, and I’ve seen the food they’re delivering and making accessible. Yeah, it’s not like that’s not what I do. It’s not how I eat. Right? I don’t think that you can make me the case. That there’s a huge upside to doing that. That’s three weeks that I can’t really work. I’m sure I could do some stuff. But it’s three weeks, then I’m away from my family. It’s three weeks. I’m away from work. It’s three weeks. Or I’m stuck in a hotel room. Like I watched I don’t know if you saw it, but I watched a bunch of the coverage of the tennis players at the Australian Open. Because I had to quarantine for two weeks before they could play. It looked terrible. Yeah. And they were being taken care of. Yeah. But it looked terrible. Even Federer in his like ridiculous suite did not look good. did not look enticing at all.

Bradford Benn

Part of its you’re in one room, for two weeks, you’re going to go stir crazy good.

Matt Scott

And then I was in my house for two weeks and went stir crazy. Yeah. Like, there just comes a point where? Like, I don’t. And again, I’m not by no means equating the two they are not equal at all. But it gave me even a minor glimpse as to how terrible prison must be. Yeah. Like, and again, I’m not equating it. I did not go through.

Bradford Benn

Well, it’s, but it’s, uh, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a restriction no matter what, it’s a restriction.

Matt Scott

I really want to go to ISC. I missed ISC. This year, I want to be able to go to InfoComm, I want to be able to go to Expo CD Expo. I don’t, I don’t see it happening. And it’s not because I don’t support the channel. It’s not because I don’t support the show. It’s, it’s because I can’t justify a quarantine for like, we’re trying to feel my wife hasn’t seen her mother since the funeral. And if you can imagine how hard that is to essentially be an only child of her mom now be alone. And not being able to get her because she was supposed to be up here in like a month. And not necessarily knowing if we can even get her up here, let alone us going down there. If I’m going to put up with isolation or quarantine or whatever, with all due respect to the people that run those shows, I’m going to do it so my wife can see her mom. I’m not going to do it I can go walk a trade show floor. And I’m seeing I’m seeing a lot of conversation about what that shows going to look like or any of those shows are going to look like and if you have to be vaccinated if you have to have you know, tests done every day or whatever, I don’t think those are real big sticking points for people. I don’t think they will be but if you have to quarantine coming in or coming out. Those are sticking points. And there will be people who travel internationally for them. But it’s not going to be Hey, we’re going to grab the team and we’re going to fly over from the UK to come to Orlando. As nice as Orlando will probably be in October.

Bradford Benn

weather will be nice weather will be light delightful.

Matt Scott

I don’t for my business it’s not worth it. For omega there’s not the value is not there. And I don’t think they’re, I really don’t think there’s anything they can do to make it valuable unless they’re going to pay for that time. Right Mr. Lebowski, if you’re listening, that’s Yeah,

Bradford Benn

I don’t I don’t disagree with any of your points. But so like, I’ve been thinking about will I go to InfoComm? Because it’s less than 10 miles from my house. Yep. And where it starts to get interesting is the actual physical logistics like, if someone gets a 10 by 10. Booth, and you’re supposed to still stay six feet away?

Matt Scott

You’re standing in the aisle.

Bradford Benn

Yeah. And then how do people stand six feet away from you?

Matt Scott

So, I would I the logistics are in credibly challenging. Yeah. But I would offer and I, I sort of know how it is in Florida. I spent a little bit of time there a couple of months ago. Here. And we again, we just came out of stay-at-home orders we’ve been open for a week today. Yeah. I was in today I was in a Lowe’s. And I was in a grocery store. I was at a gas station. And then some clients. There are people doing their best to maintain some level of distance. And there are a vast variety of people who really give No, no notion to that at all. And no matter where you fall on that debate, and I don’t really want to debate that. But it is shocking to me how hard especially appear, because we have, like Canada as a whole. And Ontario as a whole have hammered this issue. significantly stronger than I’m making the general assumption they have in Florida.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, I can definitely attest to that. I’m

Matt Scott

sure. Yes. They’re not doing it here. There is no, like there’s one, one retailer, I go to for some miscellaneous things, and I kid you not every checkout terminal has a 24-inch-wide piece of Plexi. In the middle of the terminal. I go straight up, you know, four feet, three and a half feet. And the cashier will if this is the glass. Hey, Sir, how are you? What can I get you? Every time. And again, not here to debate that. But we saw it. Or at least I saw it at InfoComm. The official arm sorry, at ISC. Last year, the official rule was elbow balm, the knees shake or the foot thing? Yeah, whatever it was. And there was a bunch of people who didn’t shake hands. There’s a bunch of people who wouldn’t elbow bump, or fist bump or foot shake, or whatever that guy was. And there was a bunch of people who hugged and like, and it ran the gamut. And I view it kind of the same as, you know, I view masks A lot of times, whether I want to wear it or whether I believe it works or whatever. Doesn’t really matter if you do and you would prefer, I wear one and you being the general populace, then what’s the harm in me doing it? If staying six feet away? Whether I personally believe that’s true or not? If that is the socially acceptable norm, then why not do it? So, when you start looking at a show in Amsterdam, in Barcelona, in Orlando in Indianapolis, where and how are you going to design that booth? to like, I haven’t been to a trade show in a typical, like Matt from omega. It’s at a trade show in six or seven years. Right? The majority of my trade show work anymore is press. Right? And, you know, so my experience in a booth is a little different than most people’s anymore, because I’m not walking in trying to find a rep and you know, doing a little close conversation I’m doing a tour, we’re doing a, you know, whatever it is an interview in some way, shape or form? And like, how are we going to how would we shoot an interview? effectively in Heck, forget a 10 by 10, you know, in a 20 by 20 you How many? How many booths are set up to where we can show up with a camera person. Or we can put a set of sticks out, you know, that’s already six feet, give or take. That was the angles. And then I’m going to interview someone way over there and take up a 30-year booth for an interview. There are times that that that would not be a problem at all, depending on whose booth you’re in. right it is. But like, we’ve done in some of the bigger booths, which I don’t have to name who they are. We’ve done walking to her shoots, where we’ve got five, six handlers just trying to keep people out of the way we can actually move through the booth as we’re doing an interview. Yeah I get why they’re trying to do the show. I understand why they need to do the show. For a variety of reasons. I’m not hearing a ton of confidence from manufacturers about it. I’m not hearing a ton of confidence from most people about going to it. And, you know, take I’m trying to think what the numbers are on InfoComm 40,000 ish. 40,000. Yeah is it going to be a successful show of only 20,000 people attend? Will 20,000 people attend? even including exhibitors? I don’t know.

Bradford Benn

And the thing that that is, that is the unique wrinkle for me, is the new video displays, new loudspeakers, things that you can have to

Matt Scott

see. Yes, yep. And I’m with you,

Bradford Benn

you know, the, the I can expose myself to the risk for a day and see a thing or have eight days of exposed for us to see one a day. And it becomes an interesting statistics game at that point.

Matt Scott

Yeah, it’s something where, because we’ve talked about this a little bit internally on different things of you know, because when you start doing tracing, right, if you start paying attention to tracing, and even just thinking through how tracing works, right. And we had to do this extensively for some stuff at our church, where, you know, during a lot of this, we had to limit who came in for different things, because, well, I see X number of people as a rule in a day, I write X number of businesses, or homes in a day. What does my circle look like? versus someone else’s circle? Or versus, you know, somebody who services, these machines who’s in 25, buildings, public buildings, every day, we’ll know maybe they shouldn’t be coming out. So even internally, we’ve looked at a couple of things and gone. You know, we really should I should run up to Toronto to go see this device or this thing or that widget? Because there’s one in Toronto and go look at, well, how many people is that person been talking to you on a weekly basis? Yeah. And do I do that? Or do I have them just send me the demo, and I play with it? And, you know, I think the hard thing of any show is that unless you are a major player, you’re not going to get a speaker manufacturer to send you three models to play with, especially if you don’t buy from them already. Right? Like it. We’ve talked about that aspect of a business multiple times. I do like my house that worship business is almost exclusively consulting these days. We help churches solve their tech issues we recommend a litany of products that I’ve got hands on experience with, but I don’t buy anything, right in that vein that much anymore when I go to enter your, you know, console manufacturer, and I want to test that new desk that just came out, they’re not shipping me one, it doesn’t matter. We’re not this massive firm that they know. We don’t buy a thing from them ever. they’ll sell it to me. But I can’t return it. So that I got to try and sell it. That that’s where the shows are so fantastic and so effective. But as I said today, the upside isn’t there. Like, like you said, want it to be. That’s the hard thing is I really want it to be, but I can’t justify it.

Bradford Benn

And as you said, if you have to spend $2,000 a year on money to quarantine, in the piece of equipment, you really want to see costs $1,500 just buying it is cheaper.

Matt Scott

Yeah, especially because I can probably sell it. Yeah. Within a couple of weeks. Like it’s I don’t think I keep hearing that this is going to completely change the tradeshow industry, and I don’t believe it will. I don’t think it’ll be this massive shift. I do think it will mold the way trade shows are run. And I hope to see the virtual aspect continue. I hope to see the education be available, not in person. Because that’s been archaic. That you’ve got to fly halfway around the world to sit in on a class. There’s no method to record that. Especially in our industry. That’s what we are stinking do. As you now have me so boxing. Yep. That was your that was your whole goal, wasn’t it?

Bradford Benn

No, I was just looking for a good conversation that will make 10 go I can’t believe Matt said that. Yeah, that’s, that’s okay should we put in the disclaimer of you know, you and I are voicing our opinions and aren’t speaking for AVNation?

Matt Scott

Sure. Because we’re not.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, we’re not.

Matt Scott

Yeah, this is just such an opinion, this is a great opportunity for that tradeshow industry to continue to evolve. And I think if we view it that way, and we find a way to make the model work, and you find a way to capitalize on it, profit on it. Like I get it, that’s what you’re there for. And anyone who disagrees, doesn’t understand how to run a business, like shows are there to make the show runners money, like everything we do, to some degree is there to feed you. It’s okay. It’s cool.

Bradford Benn

Or coin operated?

Matt Scott

Yeah, there are some really good things that we can pull out of this. And that, you know, we talked about it all the time that if COVID did anything for us, it showed all of these clients in the corporate world that we’ve talked to for years about remote work, and video conferencing and, you know, heck, the court system, how you don’t I was dealing with a lawyer this morning. Today, finally, you can go speak to emotion in 15 minutes, which is fantastic. versus a year ago, when you as the lawyer had to show up, drive to the courthouse. Park, pay for parking, go through security. Get out of security. Go find a restaurant because it’s been an hour. Go find the courthouse, you’re supposed to be in the courtroom you’re in, go sit down, wait for your docket to be called. Could be two minutes could be four hours. Stand up, speak for five minutes to your docket. Sit down, leave. Don’t go back to the bathroom because you haven’t left the courtroom four hours. Go home, get back to the office, whatever. charge your client six hours of your billable time, because you can’t do anything. And the bailiffs won’t let you run a computer inside the courtroom. Right? versus now where you can sit in and in 15 minutes. You can speak to your case speak to your docket. That’s fantastic. They better not stop that. Yeah, the productivity has gone through the roof, which is awesome. We can figure out how to do this will not deviate. Are you in attending in person? in the future? Right? Yeah, there are, there are really good things we can pull out of this. As long as we’re aware of it. Because at the end of the day, no matter how good this is, and this is pretty good. I’ve got you up on a 16-inch screen. It’s essentially like you’re six feet apart from me at a table. Yeah, it’s really good. It’s no good experience. But I’d still rather be sitting around a table, eating dinner with you talking like this. We’re at that point where as good as digital is in person is still better. Yeah, and it will, it will be better for the foreseeable future. Come at me, all you people who think we can do this digitally.

Bradford Benn

I think there are certain things we can do digitally better than we can do in person. I would agree. And I think a lot of it is acceptance by the users, though, for instance, doing an online design review is very possible. But everyone has to buy in and look at the drawings ahead of time and come prepared with notes and all that stuff. And then having an online meeting is much harder, because people all talk at the same time. And it’s not always organized. And collaboration becomes difficult.

Matt Scott

Yeah, I will say that I actually did a design review this morning with a client. And we have done a bunch of virtual reviews in process. As we’ve progressed to the final. And I asked them, you know, do you want to you want to do this one, virtually, you want to do this one in person in your space? And they’re like, oh, if you can come out that be great. And you know, I kind of asked them at the end, you know, what was your take on doing it virtually versus in person? Why do you want to do this this last meeting in person? Like, well, one, we want to see you It’s been a while. That’d be nice to you know, now that we can kind of get out, let’s do it. I’m all good with that. I agree. Anything else? said well, as good as the digital was. There’s still that, you know, looking at the space, looking at the drawing, looking at the space, looking at the drawing, and being able to instantly ask you something, and had you been able to be there and go Yeah, you know, when you look at that in person. And like, again, we were fully digital, this was a full 3d render, we’re moving around, we’re, you know, investigating different angles and different things. Like, I wouldn’t want to do this just on paper the fact that you had, you know, not just the screenshots of it, but you had the model here so we can look at the model. And then look at the space. We didn’t get that from Digital yet. Like, yeah, I get it. There are in again, in this situation, we’re in the space, it’s not a true full conceptualization. Right I saw I saw your wheels turning.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, because like, for instance, for me, the projects I was working on, if going out to the space would be a pile of dirt and possibly a bulldozer. Exactly.

Matt Scott

Yes. No, I get that. But there still is. And I think part of it is also that, like we’ll have to circle back to this conversation in a year. Not to say we shouldn’t have one before that, but of circle back to this in a year. If the rest of 2021 gets somewhat back to normal. Because I think right now, the huge desire to go to go to a show, to do a design review in person is partially because you want to go to the show in person and partially because you want to see the design review in person. But it’s also the fact that, you know, again, especially up here it’s been a stay-at-home order for the last six weeks people want to get out. They miss people. They miss interacting with someone other than their grocery clerk. who they want now they know? But yeah, beforehand, they did not know. You’re seeing like I’m talking to neighbors outside that not that I don’t ever talk to. But it’s the Hey, how are you? Good to see you. And now it’s a 20 A minute conversation. because nobody’s seen anybody. So that desire to have a face to face, quote unquote, real interaction is greater. Come, come summertime get through fall, you know, come back to it. And we’ll see. But right now, is not, the feeling is not much different than how this how an interaction would feel in March. Were up here typically, you know, during the winter, most people hunker down a little bit more, right? You’re not seeing people aren’t outside cutting grass. They are for you. But up here, they shovel snow, that’s all they do you don’t always have those huge interactions in those big conversations, because you’re inside in the winter Chrome, come spring, when you first start to see the Robins or the tree starting, but everybody gets outside. And you know, in the neighborhood, there’s people everywhere. And you know, Hey, good to see you. I haven’t seen you since December. Right now, that’s kind of the feeling. And that’s part of the feeling that I feel with trade shows is that there’s such a desire to see people again, that whether they think it’s safe or not, or what have you. The big push is there from at least the attendees, because I just haven’t seen anybody in forever. haven’t gone anywhere. Like, I this is the longest I haven’t been on a plane in. Gosh, 1015 years.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, this is I have no idea what to do with myself. Like, this

Matt Scott

is the longest I haven’t crossed the border. Since I was a kid. And a young kid. Like it. I would cross the border once minimum once every other month for something.

Bradford Benn

Well, now that you are middle age, it takes you longer to get across the border. Oh, yeah.

Matt Scott

Yeah, the stroller. The walkers really slowing me down.

Bradford Benn

But oh, speaking of seeing each other? Yes. I know, we’ve been talking for quite a bit. And it’s been very enjoyable and lots of places we could go and still split off. Maybe I’ll have you back before next year, that way. But if people want to find you, or your company or your enemies, your friends, where can people find you?

Matt Scott

I don’t believe I have any enemies at the moment.

Bradford Benn

Oh, yeah, you do.

Matt Scott Send me a list. Yeah, if you want to connect with me, you can find me on Twitter at Matt de Scott. I’m on. You know, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, yada, yada, yada. Mostly under that name kind of bounces around a little bit depending on where it is. You can Google me. I’m sort of easy to find on the Google so you can find me on av nation.tv You can find me at omega audio video calm. Yeah. So yeah. Thank you so much for having me

Project Bradford Episode 004 Matt Scott

Bradford Benn sat down with Matt D. Scott in the beginning of March for a discussion. This discussion was not focused solely on AV. They covered topics from being a business owner to the impact of social media to how one defines themselves without talking about their job. The conversation went much deeper than expected. They spoke for over 150 minutes, that is 2.5 hours. Needless to say the episode has been edited for length and content.

Matt is a fellow AVNation board member. He’s also the host of ResiWeek on AVNation, as well as being the owner of Omega Audio Video in London, Ontario, Canada. He also has been a CEDIA board member.

Under the media is a transcript of the conversation if you would prefer to read the content.



Transcript

Bradford Benn  00:40

Now comes the harder questions.

Matt Scott  01:19

The harder questions. Alright, let’s go.

Bradford Benn  01:22

Who are you and don’t define yourself by your job?

Matt Scott  01:28

Can I define myself as a middle-aged white Canadian?

Bradford Benn  01:31

Yes, that would be appropriate rather plain and boring, like most middle-aged white guys are

Matt Scott  01:40

You see that’s tough, because it is amazing how often you tie in your job to your identity. I would always argue that I try not to do that. But now that you asked me the question. I’m not going to say I’m at a loss, but it is tough. It’s because that is such a large part of your life. How would you describe yourself? Let me let me flip the tables on you.

Bradford Benn  02:13

I would describe myself as someone who is a business owner, which is correct. Yes, I realized that’s close to saying what my job is. But it does, like you said, take up a lot of it, and I am someone who tries to make the world a little better and spread knowledge. Because right now that’s kind of my big thing is, you know, I’m seeing how many people don’t know and that sounds bad to say don’t know what I consider common history. But I’m starting to realize like you I know your age. Yes, your middle age, but you probably weren’t alive during Skylab.

Matt Scott  03:01

Skylab. No,

Bradford Benn  03:04

Exactly. I was alive. And I know about it. I was alive during during Skylab. I know that history.. And there are other people who like all the space shuttle is cool and it’s so easy to go to space. And I’m like, No, no, no space is hard. People ask me, “what do you mean Canada has a space agency? I’m like you don’t know about the CSA and Canada arm built by Spar Aerospace, and Chris Hadfield. So I’m trying to spread knowledge. I don’t like the term social justice warrior because I think it has a bad connotation. But I very much am aware of, I come from a privileged place. I’m a white man in America, that is making money at a you know, is comfortable. And that’s a very privileged place. And that’s where I do stuff like, you want me on a panel, there has to be underrepresented people. As I’m turning out my own podcast, I have underrepresented people on at a higher rate than I have typical people. I believe that, you know, lead by example, and share my knowledge and experience with new people. So that you know, hopefully the world is a little better after I leave, not because I left but because I’ve made a positive impact.

Matt Scott  04:42

But I’d like to say that I identify with a lot of that and that’s a large part of my goal. IMy wife and I were talking the other day, I made mention of the fact that I’ve got, if you don’t know, I’ve got three kids, one’s about it, my oldest is about turned six. And one of the hardest things like I’ve run a business for, , almost 20 years this year. And, you know, we’ve been through a lot of entertaining things, and a lot of vertical changes and all kinds of crazy things that happen when you run a business for that long. But I would argue that the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is work on raising my kids, and trying to teach them how to be better than I am. But also help them understand how the world works, and what’s there for them, but how to do it with grace and compassion. I look at life, and it is shockingly short. How long have you and I known each other?

Bradford Benn

Ten years?

Matt Scott

It seems like not that long, but at the same time, it’s 10 years. Now, you look at how quickly time goes by. and all of the stuff of 2020 has, I want to say almost made me more introspective of just life and you know, who I am and what I tried to do. And it’s something where it’s really easy to get caught up in your job, which is why I love the question. Because it is so easy to say, I’m an integrator. I do this and I do that. But it’s hard to separate yourself from your job without sounding like you’re reading a postcard. And I think that is the that’s the genius of that question is it forces you to look at who you think you are? Without? And at the same time? Because as soon as you said it, like in the pre show? We’ve been talking for an hour and almost 20 minutes now. So in that that early hour of conversation, it’s how do you describe yourself without sounding like a headstone reading?

Bradford Benn  07:58

I say this, with truth of you can say, I am a father of three. That’s a pretty big role for people one understand it. Yeah. Or a mother of six, or, you know, a brother or a son.

Matt Scott  08:21

I think that, and obviously it differs depending on who you are. But a huge portion of my life, even within work is based around my family. Like I’ve always been asked why I don’t because like, like everybody, or I would assume most people you get offered or hear about positions or opportunities. And I’ve had a fair share, I don’t know. I’ve had a couple of things and every time it comes up, and usually as that conversation changes, it becomes, well, why didn’t you investigate that further and like, well, the whole point of me owning a business is not necessarily because I want to work for myself or I want to deal with the headaches of that. It’s so that like this Thursday, I can make sure that my schedule is 100% clear. So I can take the kids skiing, because we only have so much time to ski up here. That always becomes a bigger part of, at least in my life, my what my job looks like, I do my job so I can have the freedom to do what I either want or need to do with my family and whether it’s you know, helping my parents out with something, helping my sisters or doing something with my wife and my kids.

Bradford Benn  09:59

Not a bad thing. I do think it is a hard question. Like you said, I know I, I did a whole bunch of soul searching when I got laid off last year, thanks to a pandemic of what do I want to do? And very similar reasons for why I decided to start my own company. I want to have fun. It can be seen by my attitude at times, but I also want to be able to go, you know, like you’re taking the kids skiing on Thursday, Jennifer and I are going to the Tampa Zoo on Thursday. Why? Because she starts a new job next week.

Matt Scott  10:38

Oh, congratulations, Jennifer.

Bradford Benn  10:48

Same thing of the, I can take this off. And, you know, I know you and I have talked about it of the false urgency of now of being a business owner of everyone thinks they can call you at nine o’clock at night, and you’re just there. And I’m like, nope, my phone has an off button.

Matt Scott  11:13

I will say, as a small business owner, that is by far the hardest trick to crack, is to even just bring yourself to it, like I looked at today, and had, essentially two originally scheduled things. Plus, of course, this and had two other things come up. And in the last thing before this, we discovered an additional issue that had to be dealt with, somewhat urgently. Iit’s that being there, and knowing that, you kind of have to handle that, you can’t pawn that off. It’s, it’s everyone looks at, when you are in charge of yourself, I guess, about how awesome it must be. And it is, at times

Matt Scott  12:24

But it is it’s those moments of its knowing that you have the freedom to go to the zoo, because you want to, and you can schedule it. But also knowing that there may be that day where you just have to deal with something. And there’s no option to not deal with something, there’s no one to go above and say, Hey, you know, it’s knowing that that buck stops with you, is entertaining and challenging all at the same time. And it gets even more complicated when you have employees. And you know that, there’s going to be that moment where it’s like,  if we don’t sell this job, I’m not getting paid, because I got to pay my people. And those are the those are the really entertaining sides of running a business. And if all you’ve ever done is be self-employed. I’m not I’m not being negative on that one. But it is different when you’re self-employed versus when you have employees. You know, we’re both in those situations. Those are tough. And those make life a little bit more entertaining.

Bradford Benn  13:47

Yeah, I think, you know, since we both are AVNation, peoples, We were hiring Tim as our first full time employee. It changed a lot of the decisions we were making.

Matt Scott  14:01

Oh god it went from and don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun. Or Yeah, it was still fun, even when we made that that shift. But you know, you want to talk about the rubber hitting the road. Yeah. It’s all fun and games until all of a sudden, somebody relies on you. And especially like, my wife relies on me, the kids rely on me. The if we had a pet, the pet relied on me to buy food for the pet. So the pet could eat. That’s one thing, but their family. Right? So it’s like, you take that on knowing that’s how it works It’s part of the deal. But when you have employees, especially when you hire that first one, and Gosh, I remember that day. You bring them on and in Instantly you go to, you know, we got to provide for this individual and go holy crap we got to provide for this individual. And then your brain starts going and you go, if we don’t provide for this individual, they don’t eat. They don’t have heat. They can’t put gas in their vehicle. Oh, crap.

Bradford Benn  15:46

Well, yeah. But like I said, when we started this, this is that’s kind of what I want to have is you and I always have fun on a podcast, especially when I’m taking over Tim’s show. And you’re just taking me on.

Matt Scott  16:01

those are the best ones to be on. Yeah, like, This is fun. Don’t get me wrong.

Bradford Benn  16:04

But this is a long form conversation, because I think that’s an important thing. Because now, you know, our listener, both of them will now know more about you and realize, you know, a little more about me and kind of the stuff that I think in social media, and in today’s lack of going out and hanging out with people at trade shows gets lost, but also, just, I like having the conversation. I’m loving people listening. And yeah, we got a little heavy, but it wasn’t planned.

Matt Scott  16:44

It just happened. And yeah, I would agree. And I thank you for doing a long form. Because I know having now hosted ResiWeek for like 260 something episodes?

Bradford Benn  17:01

Yeah, like five years.

Matt Scott  17:02

Yeah, like it’s crazy. There are many times because we try to stick to that 30 minute format, right? And there are many times where we’ll jump into something. And it I don’t wanna say you could talk for three hours, but you probably could.

Bradford Benn  17:19

Well, you and I did it. When it was you me and uncle Richie.

Matt Scott  17:23

Yeah. Yeah, it was, gosh, 55 minutes. Yeah. And we really just scratched the surface of it. And sure, you know, was there. Was there just some fun banter back and forth that times Yeah. But you know, I think it’s, I think that’s something that’s lost, especially in the industry of there’s not enough conversate there is so much derisive noise that is camouflaged as conversation and you see it on Twitter a ton. There’s lots of back and forth, then there’s a ton of I’m going to defend my position here is my stake my flag on planting over whatever piece of technology thing you want to discuss. But it’s the longer conversations that make sense. You can’t understand where someone comes from. in 140 or 240 characters, or your missive you post on Facebook, which is why I try not to post missive on Facebook.

Bradford Benn  18:43

I don’t have Facebook. It was hard, but it was like Yeah, because I don’t know what’s going on with a lot of my friends now. Yeah. And people will have call and go Hey, what’s going on? I’ll just check out what’s going on Facebook. I don’t have IFacebook.

Matt Scott  19:02

It It is it is odd how connected we are yet disconnected. If that makes sense.

Bradford Benn  19:12

Yeah, it’s kind of superficial.

Matt Scott  19:14

Which we always knew. We always knew that social media was like that. And, you know, gosh, Instagram is one of those. Now I’m really sounding like a middle aged white guy.

Bradford Benn  19:32

I’m fully with you. And I’ve, I’ve worked at theme parks where people complain because garbage cans have been moved, and it changes the Instagram photo.

Matt Scott  19:58

I will say We were at, I’ve never been so disappointed with the social media life, if you will, then we were down for my father in law’s funeral in late October, and we’re down in Florida. And we had one day where we could do something with the kids so we went to the beach. And we’re down in Delray, go to the beach and we were leaving the beach after being there for a couple hours to go to burger fi maybe, to go get shakes and fries for the kids, and as we’re walking up the beach, and going through the little path through the mangroves, as you come around the corner, there’s these two, probably 14 year old girls, and they have their phone up on the little railing piece. And they’re doing some Tic Toc thing. And completely oblivious to everyone trying to walk past them, ourselves included, to get either to the beach or off the beach. And it’s like, again, I don’t feel I’m that old until that moment comes up. And it’s like, Where are your parents?

Bradford Benn  21:16

But um, you know, I’m I’m gonna get the the Joe Way. retweet on this was we’re gonna name drop on hi  but the fact that he had the house fire and how fast and we all kind of go, hey let’s help.

Matt Scott  21:37

That’s the flip. You watch you watch that outpouring you watch the support for, you know, a random person on Twitter who posts something that was, you know, hard to post. Yeah. And you see the encouraging messages, you see stuff. Like, I know, even myself, I’ll, and I don’t post a ton on anything, really. But I’ll have random people reach out like, Hey, I haven’t heard from you while you’re doing okay. Which we are not like you have my cell number, you can send me a text and say something like that. Or we can have a conversation. But there’s people that I’ve met a handful of times who don’t have my direct number, who will reach out over Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or what have you. And that is the that is the plus side. We are friends because of Twitter.

Bradford Benn  22:38

I agree. It’s a plus side. But I’ll also say, it’s freaked me out on occasion, when I’ve been in a trade show. And people have come up and started talking to me, like they know me, and they’ve met me because of how much I’ve posted on Twitter or done on AVNation and stuff. Yeah. And while that’s nice, it kind of makes you take that pause of the what’s the difference between someone you know, online, and a real person? And is that a problem now that not everyone understands? Just because you follow me, doesn’t mean we’re friends.

Matt Scott  23:18

And also doesn’t mean you know me. I’ve had people come up to me, and I’m not sure. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it anyways. I’ve had people come up to me, and, you know, at a show and, and we chat for a few minutes. And as they’re walking away, like, you know, hey, I thought you were a jerk. Because of the way I see you act online or tease Tim. Right. And everybody loves Tim. So if you tease him and you don’t understand the relationship that Tim and I have, or you and I and Tim have, there’s a lot of we, we have a couple people that you know, you just you tease different people for whatever reason. It shocked me that somebody would come up who I didn’t know and had never met. Like, I thought you were like a huge jerk. Like me? I’m nothing if not polite. Bbecause I’m trying to make a joke out of it. Because it got awkward really fast. And they’re like, No, no, no, just everything I see with you online. You just you seem like a jerk. It’s like, but do I? You start you start looking back and thinking about what you do. And, you know, wondering, am I teasing Joe Way too, too much. Am I teasing Kev too much? Am I teasing Tim too much.? Because that perception that persona is something that you don’t control. I think that’s the really, really tough part. Because I don’t think I’m a jerk and I don’t want to be a jerk. But maybe I am. I don’t know. Or at least it was through their eyes.

Bradford Benn  25:15

I’m in the same boat. There are people who think I’m a jerk and a pompous person. I know, for me, at least it’s changed what I posted how often I post and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. But I’ve also seen people take online way too seriously and some of this stuff gets a little out of hand. I’m not gonna come to this argument, just because you invited me, doesn’t mean I’m going to show up.

Matt Scott  26:03

So we have a rule in in omega. Where if we have to have a dare I say, a confrontation with a client. Right? Or if we’re dealing with a specific issue, we are not having that conversation over phone. Or likely in person, we are doing that conversation over email. Because I want it documented. We’ve been in too many situations where someone was upset and they said stop something or they approve something, to take it to the other end. And then all of a sudden, they’ve forgotten that they approved said thing so when the bill showed up; It was I remember that. And even though we had it documented, and we had a signature, and we had all this stuff, it was so loose, in that, you know, move this that over here, sign, right, that they all of a sudden wanted to debate it or if they were unhappy with the bill it was we’re definitely debating that that thing. So we went to a position where all of a sudden, everything we do in that realm has to be signed off via email. Or you have to get an actual like, we’re not handwriting a change order. We will handwrite it, we will then send you a digital copy. Yeah, a produced change order that you must sign in and return before anything happens.

Bradford Benn  27:36

It’s like I’ve kind of been joking for 20 plus years. If it’s not in writing, did it really happen? Everyone is likepictures or it didn’t happen. I’m like, text or it didn’t happen. Not in writing. It didn’t happen.

Matt Scott  27:51

I somewhat long for the time where a handshake meant something.. Again, I’m really old.

Bradford Benn  28:08

I did an entire attraction on a handshake is a change order to a design built and installed. I used to get change orders like make this room sound better, not to exceed $1,600.

Matt Scott  28:28

I miss those times.. But at the same time, I get why it’s changed for multiple reasons. But the hardest thing with even you know, doing those conversations over email or having debates online, is that nobody gets context. Right? There’s no, there’s no context. There’s no visual cues. There’s none of the typical things that if you and I were hanging out in a hotel lobby, at infoComm, teasing each other or teasing Tim, for example. Anyone who was there in that circle, or sitting around the table, would totally understand that we are joking.

Bradford Benn  29:23

Because we are all laughing together.

Matt Scott  29:25

Yeah, we’re all laughing together .No one is laughing at anyone.. But online, you don’t. You don’t see that. I’ve used this example a couple of times and hopefully he won’t mind but I tease Kev a lot. And I was harassing him one day over something online and I had someone DM me, who I know peripherally, and they were calling me out for my outrageous behavior over teasing Kev. I instantly apologize to them that they were offended at that. And so I am sorry. I’ll lay off I guess it had to explain that. You know, Kevin, I are friends and well, we are teasing each other online. He’s teasing me about Toni Braxton. I’m teasing him about his shoes. We have a backdoor conversation through the about the jokes we’re telling and it’s not a big deal. But on the outside, not knowing myself or Kev, they thought we had taken it too far. So hey, I applaud them for, you know, thinking it went too far in trying to call me out on it. But that’s the downside, or one of the downsides of social.

Bradford Benn  31:03

I agree with you. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to you. And it also I think, is one of the things a lot of people have learned through this pandemic, is like you and I, and Tim, and a lot of these podcast recordings, we do as video, and you’re very few people watch the videos, I’m not complaining, Ingest it in the media, you feel best. But if you and I weren’t able to see each other, some of the pauses would be cut off the body language and all of that stuff. Twitter not having that, or Facebook not having that real time feedback, because it’s the half duplex conversation with a huge time lag. Yeah, it’s like, you know, trying to talk to the Mars Rover, you can send a message to Percy, but he’s not going to answer for another 14 minutes. Having that and understanding that is a huge issue.

Matt Scott  32:08

It’s the same as your typical debate over whatever it is, it doesn’t matter whether it’s politics, whether it’s personal, whether it’s technology, it doesn’t matter. When you when debating was quote unquote, debating, it was trying to answer what you said. So if you and I are going to debate, canon versus Nikon a true debate would be me, listening to your comments on canon, for example, and then trying to refute them what you just said with information about Nikon and why that’s different. But especially with social it’s, I’m just for the most part waiting for you to finish. So I can then respond with whatever I want to say. And it it continually reminds me of because we’ll see debates over AV over IP or AV as a Service or whatever thing you want to throw in there in our in our Twitter work world. But it’s just noise back and forth most of the time. There’s not a Point CounterPoint.

Bradford Benn  33:24

I don’t know anyone who’s ever had their mind changed by Twitter.

This is where we ended to go to Part Two.