My Clients Don't Mind That I Attend Fairly Grueling 8 - 10 Hours Training Days Followed By A Couple Of Hours Entertainment

And like the rest of this entire offensive tirade of yours, your assumption here is wrong as well. My clients expect me to be their expert. They don't mind that I attend fairly grueling 8 - 10 hours training days followed by a couple of hours entertainment. If it was this wining and dining here's a bag of cash nonsense that you keep spouting off about, maybe they would be concerned, but it's not, and even though your ego won't let you acknowledge it, you know I'm correct, I'm not the only one saying so. But after dealing with me for over 15 years, in some cases, my clients trust, and rightfully so, that I will design the best system for what they need, no matter who sends me where for whatever. I did the same thing when I was in distribution years ago. I guess they were all buying my spec as well, right? Visonic once took us to Vegas for some show or other, room at a hotel, dinner, quite a gig. As far as which training I attend? What do you expect me to do, test 700 cameras? Look at 50 different manufacturers? I do have a budget to stick to, and the client also expects that I will utilize their dollars wisely. So I tend to stick with the brands that I have used and that I can expect good support from. Including (gasp) any training they choose to provide. Which I don't care if it is at a 4-star resort, a 1-star resort, or in a dirt freaking lot behind Walmart. If I see a value to my clients, I will attend. If I don't, I won't.

NOTICE: This comment was moved from an existing discussion: Axis Brags About "Whiskey Tasting" With Independent Consultants


I made this its own post since the original article now has 100+ comments and this is a central enough issue that should be addressed directly.

The Axis event does not have '8-10 hours training' each day and it's certainly not grueling in any way. Axis shared the agenda, let's look (meals and entertainment highlighted in red):

For 6 hours of 'training' time, which are obviously marketing for Axis own products (e.g., 'Smarter products for better solutions'), these 'independent' consultants get a 3-hour welcome reception and 6 hours of meals and entertainment (including 3.5 hours at Topgolf).

Steven, you may genuinely have the best of intentions but this Axis event that you continue to defend is not 'grueling' in an way, outside of the amount of alcohol a consultant may choose to take from Axis during the various 'activities'.

Seriously, share this agenda with your clients. See what they think about 6 hours of edumarketing training with 6 hours of meals and entertainment.

LOLOLOLOL. OK, John, if you deduct meals and lunch, you get 6 hours. Actually, I couldn't even make it to this most recent one, I had to cancel. But hey, I think you should start a one-man campaign to make the end-users of the world realize just how evil this world-threatening corruption is. Everybody will listen. I'm practically sure of it. Practically.

And once again, I am not defending Axis in any way. I'm defending a practice of which Axis is merely one participant, and doesn't even provide all of the freebies that others do. And if you really were so in-tune with this industry, and such an invaluable resource, you would have no problem locating the others. Because like much of what you have posted recently, you are very wrong if you think anybody hides anything. A simple internet search of the various manufacturer names coupled with "A&E seminar", and pretty much presto-insto you have that list.

A simple internet search of the various manufacturer names coupled with "A&E seminar", and pretty much presto-insto you have that list.

I just tried that with Avigilon, Dahua ,Hikvision, Lenel, Milestone, Pelco and nothing. I am not saying they do not exist, just that they are rarely promoted publicly to non-consultants.

However, I did get a successful match for Genetec, not from them directly but from a consultant who touted their 2016 one in Mexico:

I thank you for that since we will be following up on that for a post if they have one this year and have similar type issues.

Plus, I did find one press release for Hanwha for a 2017 event. Same on this one. Thanks again!

Think about it this way, I am helping you to not have to waste time going to fancy resorts and fancy dinners so you can focus more on real education.

Always glad to help. But you know, I'm thinking an inability to conduct a simple internet search on your own is fairly sad. So any time you need help again, just let me know! Calculating time zone differences, adding and subtracting fractions, whatever you need. I'm here for you! As far as carrying on this idiotic crusade, feel free. Might want to engage somebody a bit smarter than you and chat about how this course of action might impact your viability as a business, as your ego seems to hold more sway than any level of common sense, but then again, you would not be the first person to let personality flaws ruin things for you.

i get that you feel passionately about your personal 'incorruptibility'...

but it is unfortunate that you can't see beyond your personal perspective and imagine that others might have a different take.

Hey, I wasn't the one who took this to a personally offensive level.

If I felt someone was demeaning my own personal integrity, I'd be all up in that grill, I can assure you. But this debate is about general perceptions - and everyone has their own.

So I don't think you should take someone else's general perception personally at all - it isn't directed at you personally.

Other Independent Consultants in this thread have taken a position that they won't attend these types of manufacturer events.

It's not that they can't trust themselves to not be influenced by such things - but instead they have done so to remove any doubts from their potential clients.

The real debate we are all having here is:

1. Where is the Line of Corruptibility (LoC)?

2. How far away should one stand from the LoC?

3. Who gets to decide where the LoC is set?

1. Where is the Line of Corruptibility (LoC)?

ask JohnH

2. How far away should one stand from the LoC?

ask JohnH

3. Who gets to decide where the LoC is set?

ask JohnH!!!

our national leader and local God:)

God save America!

Easy questions

easy answers

Think about it this way, I am helping you to not have to waste time going to fancy resorts and fancy dinners so you can focus more on real education.

If it's truly useful I am sure he will attend the next Pelco event, held in the rubble of their Clovis location.

That's a fairly large if, but, yes, if I did perceive it as useful, I would go. Apart from the whole unreal aspect of Pelco ever again hosting an event in Clovis. But as this little story of John's is entirely unreal, it kind of fits.

That's a fairly large if, but, yes, if I did perceive it as useful, I would go.

What if they sweetened the deal? 6 1/2 hours of "class" and...

Image result for beer burro

Also a trip on the Pelco

Image result for rickshaw

A burro is completely unacceptable. A giraffe, now that's a different story, I might just hard spec a transformer for somebody that had a beer giraffe.

What do you expect me to do, test 700 cameras? Look at 50 different manufacturers?

Based off this comment, yes.

"And I'll put my testing procedures up against yours, any day you care to choose. I've been testing and evaluating equipment since I was a manufacturers rep for Bosch and a few other companies almost 20 years ago. I'm just not so arrogant as to think I'm the only one who can compare 2 pieces of gear. My boss had me subscribe as he thought you were a valuable source of info, I've since shown him that its nothing we don't have in-house."

Burle?

Bosch Power Tools?

Now that brings back some very old memories! I used to rep Burle back in the day :)

Jeez; talk about beating a dead mule! John, you've been around long enough to know that these events have been around for at least 20 years. Most major manufacturers do them for obvious reasons. I agree that Axis was untactful in their social media promotion of the event. Can we move on?

Beating the mule and stealing his beer it seems. I do believe John had a positive impact with the use of booth babes though. That too was a long and grueling discussion.

The booth babe phase was embarrassing and IPVM played a big role in shutting it down. Positive impact acknowledged. And UD4; good point about the value of these discussions.

John, you've been around long enough to know that these events have been around for at least 20 years.

And by prodding and pushing, these events will be more education focused and less entertainment / bribe focused. You may not recall but I was similarly beaten up when I called out the Axis corruption cruise and that resulted in Axis dropping payment for guests and using a cruise for education.

The Axis cruise was over the top and deserved to be called out. In fact it was so over the top that, in my opinion, it was counter productive. It'm sure that were were consultants that did not attend because of the bad "optics." I guess you're point ultimately is that there is a line; that Axis clearly crossed that line with the cruise and strayed closer to that line with their crass social media emphasis on the entertainment portion of the recent event.

I like seeing the industry held to the fire of a higher standard. Just because it was common to "buy" business 20 years ago doesn't make it right. I prefer selling products/services that I believe in to solve real customer issues. When I know certain vendors are in an account and I know they commonly "buy" business, I don't waste my time with that customer. I've been in the industry for over 35yrs and I've seen my share of "business meetings - wink, wink" - held at strip clubs, on golf courses, in Mexico etc., all paid for by a vendor and then lo & behold the bid comes out spec'd that vendor and one of their dealers/integrators wins the project. Nice set up if you can find an end user willing to be on the take. Stooping to having to "buy" a customer through wining and dining not only diminishes the value of your product it diminishes the profession as a whole. Calling it out might make it stop and then all vendors will have to compete on their quality and/or pricing without "bribing" a spec writer. Keep up the charge John!!!!

John, 3 separate threads on the same topic?

It's sales. I really do not see what the issue is here. Sales people wine and dine all the time.

ADI throws a huge party at ISC. Does that mean purchasing agents are going to choose them over someone else who may be a better option for their company over a few drinks?

We do lunch and learns to get people to recommend our company. We don't have a beer donkey... yet...

I really do not see what the big deal is. If they are swayed by anything other than the facts, then shame on them but that can happen any number of ways.

Sales people wine and dine all the time.

ADI throws a huge party at ISC.

Jay, since you don't mention it explicitly, please indulge me in repeating this key point - independent consultants are different than integrators. Independent consultants, like government or large corporate end users or real journalists, have ethical standards about not accepting gifts or things of significant value from companies trying to influence them. That's the problem. Does that difference matter to you?

Can you refer me to whatever publication this is? I mean, the way you just keep insisting that we're all violating these ethics, at least share whatever guidebook you're using.

Steven sure. This is from our 2012 Axis Corruption Cruise post and such standards are long held:

In reviewing the Codes of Conduct of the world's largest A&E firms, they consistently have rules against accepting gifts. Here are a number of examples:

  • URS Corp: "Neither employees nor their family members may offer, provide or accept any gift or entertainment unless approved in advance by the employee’s supervising manager and not (a) a gift of greater than $50USD in value"
  • CH2M Hill: "Accepting or offering gifts or entertainment is generally discouraged and is permissible only in rare circumstances when gifts or entertainment are: Nominal in value"
  • Jacobs: "Accepting gifts of other than token or nominal value or excessive entertainment from an actual or potential competitor, supplier or customer is prohibited."
  • AECOM: "In order to maintain AECOM’s integrity and to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, employees are generally required to decline all gift offers made in connection with their employment. Customary and inexpensive gifts of a promotional or seasonal nature or occasional courtesies ... may be accepted."

This is nothing but a series of internal company policies for companies I don't work for. Or are you suggesting that I should conduct myself according to what other companies approve or disapprove of? And obviously, since there are far, far more companies attending these events than are listed in your little proof there, the majority of companies don't agree with them, either.

And I'm going to further guess that you have no idea if these companies you list would even consider these "junkets" (as you so hilariously refer to them) inappropriate, or if employees from these companies might be found at some of them. But that doesn't stop you from using it as proof. Interesting.

And obviously, since there are far, far more companies attending these events than are listed in your little proof there, the majority of companies don't agree with them, either.

I doubt that "the majority of companies" (consulting firms) were in attendance to begin with so that's probably an exaggeration AND hopefully all of them are IPVM members and following this thread so that they can learn what the rest of the industry thinks of their availability to be bought. Again, keep up the fight John, if "the majority" that Steven refers to are in fact reading this, if you help even one of them evolve into a higher level professional you will have done the industry a service.

This is nothing but a series of internal company policies for companies I don't work for. Or are you suggesting that I should conduct myself according to what other companies approve or disapprove of?

You asked me to refer you to examples and I shared from 4 very large firms to give you a sense that is a general and long-standing ethical norm amongst independent consultants.

And obviously, since there are far, far more companies attending these events than are listed in your little proof there, the majority of companies don't agree with them, either.

That list was intended to give a sense of its usage, not to be an exhaustive list of all firms.

There are companies that have strong ethical standards and then there are companies like yours, which, according to you, do not.

So an integrator that takes a payoff to install a given product on a job is ok? LOL, really?

Integrators take 'payoffs' every time they sell a product. Whether it is via margin / dealer discounts, reward trips or cash in envelopes from manufacturers, integrators buy products from manufacturers and resell them to end users for a profit.

The important point is that end users know this, since integrators submit quotes to them. It is obvious to end users that integrators have a financial motive to sell them a product.

Consultants are the opposite. It is expected that the consultant receives their benefits strictly from the end user who hired them, not from the manufacturer.

John is absolutely correct in this. A consultant should be an independent advocate for the client to spec the best design for the client and will also generally assist in the vetting of a qualified integrator to install that design. They don't sell anything. The danger comes if something like a camera is hard spec'd. There should be good reasons for doing so such as a national roll out or consistency of adding on to an existing system. I can see hard specs in software more so than cameras as the end user must manipulate the software way more than individual camera management.

I believe just like in A/V systems that a design should consist of spelling out camera placement, type, angle of view, low light capabilities etc. You can call out certain models and allow a competing equivalent that meets the spec.

In a loudspeaker system you have the room that you build an acoustic model of and place different types of measured loudspeakers and see which may work the best. There are many loudspeaker manufacturers that offer similar loudspeakers that do perform with close spec of each other. I have my preferences, but some are out of the budget of most clients. And of course some specs lie or fudge the numbers creatively. This is why you must verify/test the specs or find out where the loudspeakers were independently tested at. There are many in the audio industry that have pushed for honesty in specs and testing, but there are still some spec sheets that are unbelievable.

Personally, I don't like training sessions unless they are almost all training and contain information I can't easily gain from online resources. Food is nice if it's offered to minimize the break disruption to get back to training faster.

There are many in the audio industry that have pushed for honesty in specs and testing, but there are still some spec sheets that are unbelievable.

so true. having done a bit of sound engineering myself, I would say it’s actually worse when it comes pro audio specs.

with video, at least you have a decent chance of convincing/showing someone that one image has better quality than the other.

good luck doing the same with sound :)

with video, at least you have a decent chance of convincing/showing someone that one image has better quality than the other.

Very true. I setup a demo of a replacement projection system that would replace an aging projector that was never bright enough to overcome all the windows. The system was going from an Eiki 6500 lumen projector to a double stack Hitachi system providing a total of 15K lumens. The board could instantly see the difference and approved the project.

Compare this with a loudspeaker system that should be upgraded in the same space. The board would state that they hear great in that space and don't easily hear the need to upgrade. Sound is definitely harder to sell, especially when the existing system is fine for most things. It's much easier to sell a system with nothing in place or with a loudspeaker system that sounds terrible.

Most also think that technology can fix a bad sounding room with poor acoustics. I was asked to do a audio subcontracted install at a chain restaurant. When I was done, I was glad my name wasn't behind it. Many that ate there commented to me how the food was good, but the sound was terrible. They were really stating that the acoustics were that terrible. I thought the same after installing the loudspeakers. Without room treatment, it's just like a tin can.

I met someone at one point that installed loudspeaker systems by look and feel and said they liked a certain model and that's what they used for everything. While there are certain models I like for certain projects, I would not want to apply the same one for all projects or try to "make" it work.

Many that ate there commented to me how the food was good, but the sound was terrible.

“Hey, Kyle lets grab a bite, does Morton’s sound good to you?”

”In general, no, the RT60 time is whacked, and the early reflections make conversation nearly impossible. also the booths have a severe modal buildup in the 200hz range. At least make sure and ask for a table with decent mids and even ordered harmonics. Love the food, though!” ;)

I'm an integrator. I have been to the Pelco University and had my plane ticket, hotel and meals covered. I have and likely will continue to attend manufacturer parties, social hours, receptions whatever you want to call them. I will host receptions and social hours for my customers and potential customers. As stated repeatedly in this and other threads, wining and dining is a product of salesmanship. No one thinks those things are designed for anything other than influencing purchases. That pitch may come in the form of “educational" seminars and as a thank you for spending your valuable time with us, here is some food, drink, entertainment, ect. Please don’t demean yourself with clear embellishments or justifications of the “grueling 8-10 hours of training”. Grueling 8-10+ hours of training is for the techs who actually make these systems work such as the old Pelco University Digital Sentry certifications, (those attendees were always sweating those test) Bosch BVMS certifications, a network cert or even an actual IPVM course. Those courses all are actually grueling, not any fluff marketing seminar/roadshow/reception event which is specifically what John was addressing.

Good for you, you have built up long term relations ships and have customers who trust you, we all strive for that. And good for you that you try to stay current with products and technology. While you have obviously taken umbrage at the insinuation that these type of events could affect you and may attach some stigma to someone who is supposed to do an independent spec, you certainly can’t be naive enough to think it isn’t worthy of a conversation. Don’t get on your high horse and start this sort of crusade on behalf of all independent consultants that there is nothing to see here and everyone should move on. Sure, John’s “shock jock” style as some have called it gets on my nerves, but still the underlying point is valid. <INSERT MANUFACTURER NAME HERE> pays to influence people to spec, and thereby create purchases of their products. The issue isn’t that these events exist. I think John has stated and I agree with the point, it is who attends them that is an important distinction.

While you and likely many others see these events for what they are you can still choose to attend if you think it provides you and thereby your clients with a benefit that outweigh any question of impropriety. If that benefit is a free meal for you then great I suppose. Maybe it is the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals. Or perhaps it is a an understanding of a specific manufacturers product capabilities, as presented by a not impartial party. I personally will take a shootout by IPVM over a manufactures pitch, but I will attended/read both. The distinction is I don’t pass myself off as independent consultant (and for all I know neither do you).

You’ve made it clear that you find no value to this conversation and in many of the offerings of the site and as such are canceling your membership. That is indeed the best way to voice your disapproval. I may think it is a loss to have fewer voices in the conversation. The fact that you feel the need to demonstrate that lack of value to your boss probably says more about you than IPVM but that is just my opinion. Johns style may make the conversation harder, and letting it become personal aggravates it. But seriously do you think the topic doesn’t bring up some potential conflict of interest concerns specifically for A&E’s? No one’s saying you have to, I would just be surprised if that really were the case and I move on.

No demeaning going on at all, we just have different definitions of the word "grueling". Because for me, spending my entire weekend listening to various seminars and break-out groups when I could be fishing or flying is indeed grueling.

Is this some type of oath they take or part of their state licensing?

My wife used to work in a doctors office and they used to bring big catered lunches in all the time. I am not sure if that practice is still followed.

What about the managers at HOA's who are supposed to represent their clients/communities? Are they not supposed to accept gifts?

Is Axis taking names and logging all of designs that the A/E produce? Are the regional reps saying don't invite this firm, they don't spec Axis?

Sorry but if I am developing a building, and my engineer specs a product because he beer bobbed off a donkeys ass, we have bigger problems.

Is Axis taking names and logging all of designs that the A/E produce? Are the regional reps saying don't invite this firm, they don't spec Axis?

It's called CRM. Entry due by Friday.

Is this some type of oath they take...?

surely you’ve heard of the Hypocritic Oath ;)

John, 3 separate threads on the same topic?

Jay, the new threads act as firebreaks for a discussion that is out of control: directing the fire into areas where there is less fuel...