In this month’s ’60 seconds with’, we get to know MSolutions UK manager, Philip Bass…
How did you get into the industry?
I have been in the consumer AV market for many years. It was only last year that I entered the pro AV market, following an introduction to MSolutions from an ex-colleague and friend within the industry.
What was your first job?
After gaining a 2.1 degree in Marketing & Management, I started my first role as retail account manager for CTX (a Taiwanese monitor manufacturer). There I developed CTX into a leading brand.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
As I am working with a small but dynamic start-up, a typical day might include calls and/or meetings with our channel partner Midwich, touching base with the various AMs and BDMs in the field to check on their progress and offer support. I believe in being hands-on and supporting our channel partners to introduce the company, and demo the tester to installers and integrators of all sizes. Clients will sometimes ask me to support them on-site when using our tester in the field for the first time. I may be asked to evaluate our latest firmware and create new content or edit existing content for our user manuals and website. Having worked with a number of SMEs and start-ups over the years, it’s the variety of work I enjoy the most.
What has been your favorite/proudest project to date?
Years ago, I co-founded a Taiwanese soundbar brand called Evolve Audio. Our USP was that we supplied true wireless headphones with the soundbar, which are ideal for shared households and those hard of hearing. I was involved in everything from product design, branding, packaging and website content, and then signed up a major UK distribution partner to launch the first product, the SB-2501 soundbar, into the UK market.
What is the most ambitious project you’ve worked on?
During my time at CTX as a CRT manufacturer, I was asked to develop a range of PCs to sell with our monitors. As product manager, I researched the market and identified an opportunity. I remember back then Centerprise were building Advent-branded PCs and selling via Dixons Stores Group. I knew we could provide a stronger value proposition and fill gaps within their range. Within a couple of weeks of finalising the product specs and pricing for five SKUs, I was able to take a pre-production sample to the buyer and pitch our new range of PCs. Within a week, I was called back to Dixons where I walked out with a £1m order for 3,000 PCs to be delivered in 90 days.
It was full steam ahead to order all the parts, set up a production line and arrange logistics. We successfully hit Dixons delivery deadlines and the PCs sold very successfully through 800+ stores around the country.
How do you balance life and work?
I believe in working hard and working smart. As someone who has worked from home now for a number of years and with various companies of all shapes and sizes, I would say that I have a fairly healthy work/life balance as I am in control of my time.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
The biggest challenge is around education. Whilst there is an increasing number of pro AV vendors and integrators embracing testing and verification to ensure issue free installations and reduce callbacks, many companies are not. Often, companies will trust the ‘specs’ of the components they install on site. If they see a stable picture at the end of the installation they think it’s job done, but in reality many of these companies will suffer from high call back rates.
They will also potentially harm their reputation with clients. Our challenge is to ducate these installers that an affordable solution exists, and will ultimately save them time and money whilst increasing customer satisfaction.