The Real Standards Problem

standardsThere is a lot said about the AV industry and our lack of standards, especially as compared to the standards we see in our complimentary trades. The fact that we still don’t have a common set of enforceable standards for everything from HDMI cables to HDBaseT feature sets is troubling to say the least.

However these are technical challenges, and what I have found is that these type of challenges can always be overcome.  Good, smart people working together have figured out ways to make things work despite all this.  The challenges I find that are harder to put in the rear view are substantial ones, meaning issues that have to do with the inherent “substance” of the industry and/or its people.

 

We can usually tell a lot about a group of people by who they hold up as heroes.  It seems the CEA agrees, as in May they inducted 12 new AV people into the Hall of Fame, saying “These individuals inspire us” and inspire means to breathe life into.  So who did the CEA hold up as industry champions?  C.W. Conn,  Dr. Levy Gerzberg , Dr. David Lee , Cowboy Maloney , Gerald McCarthy, Walter Mossberg, Tim Westergren, Victor and Janie Tsao, Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil, and … Loyd Ivey.  

Let me start by saying that every one of these individuals has attained more success in our industry than I may ever achieve in a lifetime of trying.  I will also say that I have never met any of them personally, and to my knowledge they are all fine and upstanding citizens in the AV community.  I also know that one of the individuals has an ongoing court case right now, one that asserts some serious allegations of sexual harassment of an employee and his wife.

That trial has been delayed several times already at Mr. Ivey’s attorneys request and the attorneys for Mr. Ivey had filed for dismissal, but the court upheld that there was enough of a case here to go to trial.  That trial is scheduled for May 2015, if it is has not been extended out again.

So my question is why not wait?  I have no clue if Mr. Ivey is guilty or not, and quite honestly, I hope he is found innocent here because the alternative is not good for anyone.

Why wouldn’t we wait a year as an industry to see where this ends up before inducting someone with this type of controversy surrounding them into the Hall of Fame?  Isn’t it better to wait a year and make sure?  What if the verdict comes back in the “negative”?  Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to have to reverse this decision later and how would that reflect on the other inductees in this class?

After InfoComm there was a lot written about female models on the floor being used inappropriately to attract traffic to their booths.  There were several articles and blogs on the topic, and even I threw my hat in the ring on rAVe to weigh in on the topic.  All this gained enough attention to even bring InfoComm to the table with an official statement.

But was it all lip service? Are we feigning outrage and then returning to a culture that protects their own and sweeps things under the rug? InfoComm’s statement ended with saying that although they frowned on the practice that they would not be taking a role in the definition or enforcement of bad behavior in that regard.  We all attacked PureLink, KeyDigital, and Crestron for use of paid models who are willing participants and then as an industry we shrink away from asking questions or even having a conversation about something as serious as what Mr. Ivey is accused of?

For anyone who reads this and asks why I write this months later, let me add another nuance here.  I wrote a piece on my questions for Loyd Ivey the day the news broke on CePro, (who I actually applaud for printing Mr. Ivey’s official response).  My blog was scrubbed within minutes.  I then wrote a piece for another blog group in May and that piece was never posted by the editor.  Coincidentally enough, both groups that decided not to post my articles were both getting paid sponsorships from Mr. Ivey’s company.  Take from that what you will.

I understand that when someone attains great success and wealth, they can become an attractive target for someone looking to profit.  (I said this much to Mr. Ivey in a rAVe post of his last year and he wrote a gracious and thoughtful response here.)

The danger is if we allow that same success and wealth to censor our conversations on important topics.

For anyone who makes the argument that none of this noise matters, and that only accomplishments should be considered in these CE Hall of Fame inductions and not the character or impact these executives have on their employees and industry peers, let me remind you that Pete Rose “is the all-time Major League leader in hits, games played, at-bats, singles, and outs.  He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five different positions.”

We all know that he is NOT in the Hall of Fame.  Why not?  It seems that integrity and standards do matter to some people.

The question is, do they matter to us?

Join the conversation in the comments section, as cAValry is about community and discussion.  We’d love to hear alternate views on this.

***Pete Rose stats quoted from Wikipedia.org

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