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Consumer research company IHS recently projected that almost 80% of the U.S. population that are of driving age will own smartphones by 2016. We generally know how these devices are used as the average consumer migrates toward a fully connected lifestyle; checking status updates, sending and receiving texts, finding a restaurant, maybe even taking a call or two after posting a new selfie.  The ways these devices are used in a moving vehicle are resurrecting the issue of driver distraction among major media outlets as well as state and federal regulators. Learning of the practical and disparate impact of this usage can provide additional business opportunities for all mobile electronics professionals.  According to Distraction.gov, a Department of Transportation website, there was a nine percent increase in the amount of vehicular injuries from 2011 to 2012 in crashes involving a distracted driver. Yes, you can be distracted while eating a sloppy burger, applying makeup or slapping the kids in the back seat, but this increase is likely due to more people using smartphones and other handheld devices while driving.  The states have taken notice. As of February 2014, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that 12 states have banned all…
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Recently I found myself reviewing some writings. Mine and others. I observe that most of it is tactical in nature.  “What to”. “How to”. Not so much about the more strategic, “Why to”. It occurs to me that if we remember and focus on the “Why to” a little bit, the rest might make itself reasonably clear.  For purposes of this discussion I shall associate the “Why to” with those motivations we had when we decided to start our business. I suspect there are at least as many reasons for starting a business as there are businesses… Make money. Live our passion. Recently became unemployed. Last boss was a boob, if he can do it, I can do it better. Turn hobby into a profession. Can’t dance. Better than jail. Etc… Therefore, please pause a moment and recall that moment when you made the decision. Re-live the excitement, stomach acid, terror, sense of adventure. Then recall the day you got the keys, opened the door and thought “what in #%^^ did I just do?”. Then you got down to it and began to build your business. Regardless of whether you started from scratch or purchased an existing business, you received…
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The other day I sat down at home to relax and watch some TV. Flipping through channels, I saw that one of my all-time favorite movies was on: the original “Star Wars.” As I watched, I was reminded why it’s so special to me. It wasn’t the epic space battles, brilliant musical score or quippy dialogue. It’s how it made me feel. Every time I watch it, I feel my troubles melt away, carefree as an 8-year-old boy. Due to my fascination with the film and franchise, I learned an interesting fact: it wasn’t the sole idea of writer/director George Lucas. The basis for these movies is rooted in the teachings of the late Joseph Campbell, renowned lecturer, writer and mythologist, known for his immense wisdom on life. You could say he was the Yoda of modern myth. He discovered that every story and every person’s personal journey follows the same basic structure, referred to as “The Hero’s Journey.” From this idea, Campbell came up with his most famous quote, “Follow your bliss.” With that in mind, it’s likely that you got into the 12-volt business for a reason. It could be that you were grandfathered into owning a store…
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Being on the vendor side of the consumer electronics industry for nearly 30 years, I have participated in thousands of negotiations with retailers and have come away with five key points that have helped to cultivate great relationships based on mutual goals and respect. These are not the only points to consider and they are not in a particular order; they are merely offered up based on what I believe has consistently generated the most fruitful retailer relationships from the standpoint of the vendor. I strongly believe that better retailer/vendor relationships begin with the mutual understanding that the retailer is in control of the relationship based upon choice of vendor. That choice is made regularly by the retailer which creates a responsibility of the retailer to make that choice based a proper assessment of the vendor.  Rather than bore you with a sterile set of considerations, let’s do a quick role-play. Today, I’m your vendor and we are across the table from each other negotiating our business for 2014.  My goal is to prove to you that I’m a better vendor than the others. Here are five discussion areas I expect you to bring up in today’s meeting: 1. Set…
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  “Alternately you could pay a certified installer to do it for you. These days, installation is often cheap and sometimes free.” As if you don’t have enough trouble remembering to create for your consumer what he wants and knows, the quote above comes from yet another reasonably well respected technology source called CNET telling your consumers what to think and want. As indicated in the first sentence quote, it is clear that CNET (600,000 plus Twitter followers) does not have your best interest at heart. The article titled What should you look for when choosing a car stereo?, dated January 24, 2014 written by one Antuan Goodwin, seven pages long (in font size 10) went on to explain to readers and their friends (your consumers) about which head unit to buy depending on reader category; mechless heads, DVD, APPs, Navigation and budget car stereos. It mentioned a number of brands, all of which are available to your consumers at lots of low margin places. It also noted a number of features to look for, large color display, USB port, playback of MP3, AAC or WMA (compressed formats) and a 3.5mm jack. In all seven pages the concept of audio…
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  This year Mobile Electronics magazine celebrates its 30th birthday. To mark the occasion, we present an exerpt from the upcoming February/March issue's Editor's Forum:  Thirty is that age when most of us transform from being carried by life to sticking an oar in the water and choosing a direction. The short version of this statement is that it’s when most of us decide to grow up. We go from taking in and evaluating experiences to every now and then being able to spit out some knowledge to others. Then come the questions about who we want to be, where our career is taking us, and if the relationship we’re in (if any) is going down the road to something valuable and long term. You think magazines go through the same thing when they turn 30? Let’s see. Installation News was born in 1984 as a newsletter to so-called shade-tree installers to give them information on working with alarms on the latest vehicles. Relays played a prominent role, and the first copies were filled with wiring diagrams on using the five-pronged miracle boxes to interface with locks, lights and door triggers. As it grew, Bobit Publishing broadened its coverage to…
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