Opinions are like assholes; everyone has them. What people often forget, though, is that over time your opinions change drastically with experience. They change even more as you gain knowledge and wisdom. Even with decades of life and professional experience people can assume that they see the complete picture. They think they understand all aspects of an issue and how changing its circumstances will be beneficial. Also, as you get older you might become less inhibited about sharing those opinions on the kinds of change that you’d like to see in the world. In today’s age of social media and instant gratification there is certainly no shortage of opinions about what should be done, but it’s much more difficult to find an experienced opinion offering that insight.
Between social media, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, webcasts, videos, gifs, and every other form of sharing content, there is an endless supply of people spewing content into the world. You participate in this by clicking on a link to view any of this content that people are sharing (and we at AVNation thank you for your support). This means that people can seek out like-minded individuals that share their opinions about the way things are or the way things could be, or they can specifically hunt out others that disagree with them for constructive or destructive purposes.
As a creator of content you have zero control over what the reaction is going to come once you put something out into the world. You hope for the best but will often prepare yourself for the worst. Far from the absolute worst case scenario of what could happen, though a continuous thought for me as a creator is, “will anyone actually read this?” At a recent event I was speaking with a well-respected AV industry leader and realized that while I’ve never let this thought stop me, it’s also something that I needn’t worry about; nor should any other content creator. There is always someone out there reading, watching, or listening (and I’m not just referring to your friendly government law enforcement agency either).
However, just because there is always someone following your work doesn’t mean that you will always get what you want. The politics and puzzle pieces of how our society works are absolutely fascinating. Seemingly small changes in one area can have drastic effects on other areas that were thought to be completely unrelated. Anyone that’s run a company knows what it’s like to try and keep it afloat, let alone growing, as you seek out work, attempt to hire the right staff, keep that staff busy, and manage to keep the lights on, all while trying to be profitable. That is simply a microcosm of what it takes to look at how an entire industry runs.
Being at the center of a company you hear a lot about how you can change and move forward from those inside it, but they aren’t the ones looking at your overall plan of what you want your business to become. The same is true for the overall nature of an industry. Voices are raised from all angles of any industry – manufacturing, service providers, end users, senior members, younger members, and partnering groups with a vested interest. All of these voices have to be accounted for when looking at how to formulate a plan and move forward with the interest of the greater good in mind. We certainly don’t all see it that way because what causes us to raise our voice for change may not be the thing getting the attention we think it deserves, but that certainly doesn’t mean we aren’t being heard.
We all view our lives and careers from an extremely personal perspective. We all have the ability to think outside of ourselves and view the world for the chess board that it is, with pieces being lined up to accomplish goals, but having that ability and the actuality of seeing the whole board are most definitely not the same thing.
With all the avenues available for us to comment about the way things are, there is no shortage of individuals that are doing so – and this is something that the AV industry needs in order to continue pushing itself forward. Where our development as an industry goes will only happen if the most curmudgeonly amongst us make that effort to voice their concerns about where we aren’t quite hitting the mark.
Keep in mind that there is complaining and there is constructive criticism. Someone that just states that there are problems and that someone should fix them is complaining. Someone that states, “there are problems in the industry, here are the reasons why these things are problems, and here is how I think we should fix them,” or even, “I don’t know how to solve them yet, but let’s find out together,” is being constructive about it. Will the things you identify as a problem get a resolution? It’s possible; there may already be a solution in place of which you are unaware.
The fact is that in order to progress we need all these opinions. We need people that are willing to think about why things are the way they are; about what comes next; about what happens if we do or don’t change. There are people out there planning the future of the industry that need the information about where we want to see it go next. Don’t get caught in the fear that no one is listening. They may not hear you the first time, the second time, or even the eighteenth time, but if you continue to raise your voice you will be heard and you will be part of what drives this industry forward.