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Category Archives: Control Systems / HID

PCD Hires “@PKaudiovisual” As New Engineering Manager

The following press release was originally posted on the PCD blog http://www.pcdinc.net/blog/

SANTA ROSA, CA – PCD, Inc. (http://www.pcdinc.net) is pleased to announce that Paul Konikowski, CTS-D has joined the NorCal firm as the new Design Engineering Manager.  Paul brings a wealth of knowledge of the AV integration industry, as well as real world experience in live event production and information technology.

Paul’s career started in information technology with a co-op position at Critikon, a medical device manufacturing company owned by Johnson & Johnson. Performing a mix of help desk functions and network wide system upgrades, Paul learned the value of good customer experience (CX).  Paul supported about 200 users in everything from Microsoft Windows and Office migrations to printer maintenance to mainframe server data backups.

After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, Paul shelfed his computer skills for few years, and decided to become a “sound guy”.  Starting at the bottom, pushing brooms, driving trucks and stacking speakers, he quickly learned the technical ins and outs of live audio reinforcement from veteran sound engineers at Snow Sound and other live sound companies.

Since 2004, Paul has worked in audiovisual integration and unified communications. At North American Theatrix, he built equipment racks and installed loudspeakers, PTZ cameras, video projectors, flat panel displays, and other AV components for theaters, casinos, hotels, schools, aquariums, and museums.  He obtained his Infocomm CTS certification and went to work for HB Communications as an Associate Engineer, learning AutoCAD and AV system design, and then obtained his Infocomm CTS-D certification.

In 2007, Paul decided to relocate from Connecticut to California and became the Senior Consultant at Rosen Goldberg Der & Lewitz, a smaller consulting firm who specializes in architectural and environmental acoustics in addition to traditional AV design and engineering.  As the local market shifted from consultant-driven construction to design-builds in existing buildings, Paul decided to move from consulting back to integration, joining Snader as a Systems Design Engineer.

In 2011, Paul began freelancing, doing business as PK Audiovisual.  He continued to do AV design and engineering, but also moved into social media, technical marketing, blogging, advertorials, whitepapers for consumer electronics, wireless home theater speakers and mobile devices. By becoming a blogger and online content writer (oftentimes ghostwriting), Paul helped to bridge the gap between audiovisual technology providers, AV consultants, equipment distributors, systems integrators, and end-users.   Over the next 5 years, Paul took on a number of clients including Stichfix.com, Arcata High School, Silicon Image (HDMI, MHL and WiSA), and then worked full time as a Technical Marketing Engineer with Starin, an AV distributor, hosting online trainings and visiting consultants and integrators.  It was during this time that Paul started working a lot of industry trade shows like CES, ISE, NAMM, and CEDIA.  In recent years, Paul has worked full time as a Multimedia Solutions Architect for Strategic Products and Services, and part time for RGD Acoustics, Lattice Semiconductor, Zoom, and Creation Networks.

As the new leader of the PCD engineering department, Paul will work as a “player-manager”, delegating projects, while taking on his own large scale projects. By leveraging his engineering background with his consulting experience, he leads the PCD engineering team, implementing large scale audio-visual systems, initially awarded through the “Design-Bid” and “Design-Assist” processes. PCD is also a full service “Design-Build” integrator; recent projects include performing arts centers, universities, schools, sports stadiums, corporate telepresence, houses of worship and more. Paul’s main goal at PCD is to maximize efficiencies in the engineering department, delivering quality drawings and products, meeting all time commitments, and building long term relationships with audiovisual consultants and other business leaders in the San Francisco Bay area.

Bill Graham, PCD Director of Operations, is working with Paul to build up his team of engineers.  If you or someone you know is looking for work in wine country, please check out the Careers page on the PCD website (http://www.pcdinc.net/about/careers/) for more information about these exciting openings.

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URGENT: Why You Should Avoid Using ALL-CAPS And Other Melodramatic Fonts

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 3.58.06 AM

When I first opened the email with the above thread, I immediately thought of the Holiday Season. It reminded me of jokes that my mom might forward to me. The bold and colored text was quite effective.  Each person used a different color in the thread; as I read the email, I could almost hear 3 separate voices, singing “Oh Tannenbaum…”

We all know the basic rules of online netiquette, the first rule being variations of, Please don’t use ALL CAPS because it is the online equivalent of yelling.  We all had to learn this at some point.  A lot of people, myself included, started emailing in caps because we were AutoCAD or Excel users.  Or maybe it was because our lazy little pinky fingers had not yet learned to use the “Shift” buttons automatically after a period and space.  But in every case, someone who had slightly more internet experience would tell us, Dude, don’t do that, don’t use all caps, and we would reply BUT I HATE HAVING TO… and then we would learn.  Apple figured this out years ago, labeling some keys on their keyboards in lower case.

So why have these capital letters made such a comeback in Corporate America?  I believe there are two reasons, the first being the shear volume of emails sent every day.  In order to stick out from the crowd, many people feel the need to use capitol letters and melodramatic words like “urgent, help, needs attention”; I bet you have heard them all.  The second reason is the rise of social media, where people often argue using all caps.

The people who send those “URGENT” emails are often the same people who usually don’t read or answer your emails

I will let you marinate on that one for a second. It’s okay, take your time, no caps here…

When you are finished, let’s move off of the subject of the subject line, and move onto the body of the emails.  The word body is key here.  The body of the email should be treated the same way as the human body.  It should be healthy and mindful of its emotions.  I myself am guilty of using some very strong words in my emails, but they are just that: just words.

Seeing Red Again

I recently received an email from a coworker that was over 50% red bold text.  I felt my heart begin to race when I opened the email.  I was panicking before I read the first word.  Red is the color of stop signs, brake lights, market losses, sunburn, and worst of all, blood.  There are a some positive instances of red, of course. A red sports car can be appealing, or a woman in a red dress might stick out from the crowd at a nightclub. But most of the time, red means something is wrong.  Using red, bold fonts makes you sound like Satan.

After I read his email dipped in blood, I wrote my coworker and said that I felt the need to go bury it in my backyard.  I begged him to consider using another color in the future.  Green may not be as loud as red, but think about how many positive things are associated with the color green: go lights, money, charged batteries, and most importantly, Mother Nature.

Ask yourself, Would I rather receive an email from Mother Nature, or one from Satan?

You will never find me using excessive formatting, all capitol letters, or red text in my emails.  I DO sometimes use all caps to emphasize one word in a sentence, although I prefer italics or underlining. I use a lot of punctuation. I use bold when I want a  word sentence to stick out.  As you can see, this is much more effective than writing an entire paragraph or email using bold font.  You are basically wasting ink and/or causing stress.

What I am asking everyone to do, is to simply avoid adding unnecessary melodrama.  Please, stop using URGENT or other words in all capital letters, there is no need for it.  The only reason you should ever uses the word urgent is if you need something ordered today.

Most importantly, start treating the body of your emails like a body.  Keep it healthy and clean.  Use underline to emphasize, italics to quote others, bold to call out part numbers, highlight to reference something further down in the thread. If you must use a colored font in an email or document, please try your best to use any other color than red.

MAYBE TRY BROWN NEXT TIME. – P.K.

 

FitBit ($FIT) – Another “West Coast” IPO

$FIT FitBit Goes Public (And No One Seems To Mind)

Last week, FitBit stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $30.40 per share, 52% higher than the price of the initial public offering (IPO) price of $20.00. (Source: CNBC.com) The stock closed on Friday June 20, 2015 at a price of $32.50 after reaching a high of $33.95 in less than two days of trading.

FitBit $FIT Two Day Chart of 5 Minute Candles

FitBit $FIT Two Day Chart of 5 Minute Candles

As I listened to the business media reaction to the IPO, I could not help but notice the lack of negative sentiment.  FitBit is already profitable, shushing the usual nay-sayers. The price action was also strong, which makes investors happy about it, and gives the media something positive to broadcast. And much like the FitBit product line, there were two distinct camps: those who love it, and those that simply don’t care (instead of the more common ‘love it or hate it’ division on Wall Street when it comes to IPOs.)

So, if the stock is anything like the FitBit product line, and its ‘fit’ community, then Wall Street may continue to see the love grow on $FIT next week, as the rest of the market deals with its 2015 mood swings.

Why $FIT Smells A Lot Like $GPRO $RWLK and $LOCO 

$FIT FitBit is what I like to call a “West Coast Stock”.  Not only is it headquartered in San Francisco, CA, but it also has a certain “tech appeal” that resonates in the hearts of what I call “West Coast Investors”. Notice that the word investor is included in the quotes.  An example of a West Coast Investor might be a current or former Facebook employee who has a lot of extra money and is looking to “invest” into the next Facebook ($FB) or Tesla ($TSLA) or Chipotle Mexican Grill ($CMG).

Since these West Coast Investors are early adopters of technology, and usually made their money on some form of technology, they also tend to invest into (chase) other technology stocks like GoPro ($GPRO), Gogo ($GOGO), or ReWalk Robotics Ltd ($RWLK) which is not located on the west coast, or even in America, but I still considered it a “West Coast IPO”.  ReWalk makes medical exoskeletons, and since a lot of people on the West Coast are gamers, and/or work in the video game industry, I think there was a video game / robot virtual connection, which pushed the stock up over $43 dollars per share. It settled Friday at $11.86, and I am sure there are lots of disgruntled folks who bought in much higher, and have decided to hold their shares as a long term investment.

Similarly, $LOCO had a strong IPO before shares topped out at their 52 week high of $41.70.  Its price is now $21.45 per share.  GoPro ($GRPO) got as high as $98.47 per share, before falling back to below $40 pps.  $GPRO closed this week at $57.97.  These momentum plays are subject to quick pullbacks after their initial run-up, which also illustrates that they are “overbought” by West Coast Investors who may also be learning to “trade”, getting stopped out on the red market days, only to see the stock recover again. This causes them to regret their sell, and so buy in again at the highs, driving the pps higher and higher until it can’t take any more.  The Wall Street analysts set their price targets lower, the bears emerge, and the momentum shifts drastically downward.

My hypothesis continues: I think that Wall Street is somewhat disconnected and late to the party on many of these “West Coast” IPOs, maybe because they have never eaten at El Pollo Loco, but more likely, they don’t understand the “West Coast Investor” attitude.  I don’t think they realize how much “fun money” is floating around Silicon Valley right now, and how many tech-centric thirty-somethings are jumping into the stock market, day trading on their cell phones based on overall uptrends in technology, or buying shares based on something they read on Twitter five minutes ago.

My theory is that the typical “west coast investor” doesn’t have more than a year or two experience with stocks; but since they have much more access than previous generations, and are more comfortable with transactions over the internet, they dove into the stock market head first, tablet in hand, and have since rode the tech sector trend upwards. Many “west coast investors” have taken huge losses because of their inexperience and devotion to the momentum stocks they purchased, but since they get paid so much, they don’t really care. They had money to lose, and lost it, while still having some luck in the market, keeping them in it.

Which brings me back to FitBit ($FIT), and how it fits this west coast investor perfectly. Its west coast tech; its cloud; its early-adopter; and more importantly, its not getting any hate from Wall Street (yet), so I expect the love to grow on this stock this week, with a lot of buy-and-hold-ers who may easily turn into bag-holders as the momentum eventually shifts.  The top is always hard to predict, (but not as hard as asking a FitBit user to give up their device: check out this post I wrote over a year ago, about how FitBit and other wearable tech can be very addictive.)

In full disclosure, I currently hold a very small position in $FIT.  I am currently bullish, but I could also exit the trade this week if the charts and uptrend do not hold up.  I am not a financial adviser and I am not giving a buy or sell recommendation, ever.