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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

You want to pay me? For my opinion?

Posted on November 12, 2011 at 4:05 PM

I have opinions. Lots and LOTS of them. And the range of topics covered are as random as they are reaching. And not always conforming to popular opinion. (“Popular opinion” in this case defined as Dana.) Usually these pearls of wisdom are freely given and totally unsolicited. I just can’t help observing other people’s businesses or just their daily lives and thinking of ways that they could do whatever it is they’re doing better. “You know, what they REALLY should do is…” Ways to streamline or maximize their processes, eliminate excess costs, better negotiate traffic, improve posture, whatever. It’s a gift. (Or a curse if you happen to be forced to be around me all of the time like Dana.)

The thing about freely offered opinions, though, is that they are often unwanted, sometimes unwelcome, the advice usually goes unheeded and you definitely can’t make a living off of them. (OK, you could be Any Rooney. But there are only so many Andy Rooney jobs out there.) And you quickly just become “that guy” who is telling everyone what to do. And if there is one thing we all know, it’s that you don’t want to be “that guy.” (Unless of course “that guy” is driving an Aston Martin or SCUBA diving in St. John. Then whatever that guy is saying is totally correct and fundamentally awesome at all times.)

However, since I’ve joined the Twitters and the LinkedIns, I’ve been contacted a couple of times by professional type people that actually wanted to hear my opinion. Not only wanted to hear it, but wanted to PAY ME for it! And not in some Farmville credits, or some kind of Web bucks or a lame gift card. Actual cash money.

And pretty good money too. Like $100 an hour good. I guess that after being in this industry since 1998 and writing about it for several pretty major publications and then doing this little exercise for the past 500+ posts, it's safe to say that I am somewhat of an expert on this whole audio, video and custom installation thing and that my opinion on these subjects is fairly authoritative and carries significantly more weight than, say, when I tell people which mustard they should buy. (However, the correct answer to that question is Maille. Just so you know.)

I’ve done a couple of these phone survey type things where I’ve offered my opinion on the future of home audio, and distributed audio systems and control and automation. Usually the calls last around 60 to 90 minutes and involve a group of people asking questions and then sitting back and letting me answer. “What are your thoughts about...?” or “Where do you see this in 3 to 5 years time?” or “What would a company need to do to break into this market space?”

The great thing is, there really is no wrong answer; I’m just giving my opinion! It’s easy. (Of course, I guess there are SOME wrong answers. Like I'm sure that if I just smugly sat back and said, "The answer to EVERY question is...42," I could expect the calls to abruptly stop.)  But even when I’ve never really thought about it, I can still manage to reason out and come up with some quasi-intelligent sounding “expert” opinion.

And then about two weeks after you hang-up, you get the sweetest-plum: a check in the mail.

The calls that I’ve done so far I’ve mostly completed on my commute home. So instead of mindlessly listening to my iPod on shuffle and being angry about daylight savings time, I’m talking on the phone about one of my favorite subjects AND making $100 an hour. There are definitely worse ways to spend your drive time.

So, I’m not sure if there is some “List” that I need to get on or if there is some master group of consultants that I can join or if there is a password or secret handshake, but I just want to say, I’ve tasted your nectar, and it is sweet! I like what you’re saying and I want to subscribe to your newsletter! The consulting grass truly is greener! Give me another call. Let’s talk, why not?

Categories: November 2011, Electronics