The Digital Signage Insider

I plan on deploying 10,000...

Published on: 0000-00-00

Before I get started on what is undoubtedly going to become a full-fledged rant, let me make one thing clear: I love people with big dreams. I myself am an entrepreneur, so I recognize the value of working toward one's aspirations, and I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anybody or stifle innovation...

Why do I start with that? Well, at WireSpring, we see a fairly large number of deals come in to our sales department each week. Most of these fall in the range of a typical early-stage kiosk or digital sign deployment, of say between 25 and 100 units. By and large, this is what we expect to see, since the digital signage industry is still in its infancy, and many people are still experimenting with this new and exciting type of media display. We get serious RFPs for hundreds or thousands of units, and we also get small projects or research groups just looking for one or two copies of FireCast, but the bulk of our inquiries are in the 25-100 range (forget for a moment what these people say their "eventual" deployment goal is).

However. Perhaps once or twice a month we'll get a real keeper-- an RFP or price request that's so preposterous that it gets circulated around our office faster than the latest email joke or chain letter. These inquiries almost always start as an email to one of our inbound sales staff. They make claims about thousands or even tens of thousands of units. They demand immediate volume pricing with special considerations. They typically lack focus detail. They don't seem to grasp basic economic and logistic concepts. They include unrealistic, sometimes literally impossible timeframes. They often contain spelling and/or grammatical errors. Yet while they're generally easy to spot, we certainly can't afford to discount them altogether. Every once in a while we do find an early-stage company or project that does go on to deploy large networks, and at the very least, these leads help us to keep an eye on the state of the industry.

Still, we would obviously be better off if people had more realistic expectations of what their deal size really is. It sounds ridiculous, but I believe that a large part of the overestimation stems from the fact that people have a hard time visualizing the large numbers that they like to talk about.

My comment around the office when we get an insincere lead for 1,000 units is the following:

Go to your favorite home improvement store, and ask for a palette of 1,000 bricks. A brick weighs roughly the same amount as a FireCast Media Appliance, so they're good for this demonstration. Now, simply move the bricks, one-at-a-time, to an empty palette a few feet away. That's it. There's nothing else to it. My guess is that you (or the hypothetical subject of this little experiment, anyway), will have a much better understanding of what 1,000 of anything is after spending a few hours hauling bricks.

Some times the lowest tech solutions are the best ones Smiley


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