I was drinking cheap coffee with a wise-old-audio-guy-friend-of-mine recently, who reminded me of a tech concept that has seemed to follow me around over the last few years. I call it “inconsistency in rounding down the decimal places”.
It’s the really simple idea that a technology chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.
It’s sadly all-too-common to see churches/tech guys who spend a disproportional amount of time and money on scrutinizing the steel links in the chain – while ignoring the links made from paper!
Here’s a simple (and common) example:
A church budget allows for an audio gear upgrade. The tech people, leadership, volunteers and vendors all go into a frenzy trying to decide which new digital console they need to get. The reality is – this room acoustics are so terrible that almost any console will sound the same – terrible.
The problem here is that the question is wrong.
Wrong Question – “which digital console should we get?”
Right Question – “what would be the most efficient investment in improving our audio presentation?”
Answer – “acoustic treatment and a drum screen”
It’s critical to identify the really weak links, so you can ask the right questions.
This also applies to human resource. In the old days AV gear was so terrible (and expensive) that the gear was the bottleneck to great production.
Nowadays even the most budget consoles sound reasonable, and incorporate really sophisticated electronics – often the bottleneck is the operator. Maybe your resource is better spent on training.
As church tech guys – we are called to be good stewards of what we have been entrusted with. Being wise with our resources is not an optional extra.
Here are some tips I’ve learned:
- Beware of taking advice from people who are also selling you gear.
- Find out what other churches are doing. Ask a lot of questions. You’d be surprised how many of us are in the same boat.
- Keep focus on the problem and not the gear.
- Get advice from trusted sources – pay for professionals if need be.
- Consider investing in people as important and equipment