Kaleo Lee, Sales Manager – Southwest at BrightSign LLC
For those who know him, and those who don’t, Kaleo Lee is a passionate AVTweep who brings fun and exciting energy to the industry in a multitude of ways. Whether he’s traveling for a business meeting or spending downtime with his family and friends, Kaleo always finds a way to enhance the experience for himself and everyone around him.
So, what is it like to live a day in the life of Kaleo Lee? Well…
Describe your morning routine:
My morning routine is to wake up exactly when I need to (I’m not a morning person, so I don’t wake up early). If my kids wake me up early, I make a fresh cup of coffee. 😁
How do you stay energized throughout the week?
Love what you do, who you do it for (who you work for), and remember why you do it (for me, it’s my family). When those 3 align – most days – it doesn’t seem like work. For those tough days, my “why” gets me pumped back up.
Plus, I often get to work (or hangout – depending on how you look at it) with great people like my #AVhomies from SCN’s theNine.
I also get to hangout virtually with AV peeps on podcasts such as The AV Life. In the picture, this was my first podcast as a crewmember with Convergent AV.
I also love my home office. I change the LED colors based on my mood to keep me motivated. My “thinker” lamp that I built myself always perks me up with pride when my eyes start to wander around. Don’t judge my cable management. I’m not done with my office yet, so I haven’t dressed everything perfectly.
I still need to upgrade to a 4k or ultra-wide display. I need to buy a dock for my mac, so I can clean up those wires better. I want to mount my hard drive behind my desk to hide it for a cleaner look (it’s actually just my interim hard drive, before I sync it to my personal server, which is backed up to “the cloud”). I also need to buy some nicer charging docks that matches the design of my home office (iPhone, iPad Pro, Apple Watch, Air pods…yes, I bought into the Apple ecosystem; don’t judge me Android people; I know you can do more with Android, but I like the ecosystem).
How do you balance work and life?
This reminds me of one of my favorite anecdotes from a professional development meeting. I’m not going to bore everyone with the entire story, but it comes down to who is more important? As professionals, many of us pride ourselves on how well we work. We get dog-tired (especially all day Sales/Tradeshow days – you’re at a constant 100% energy all day and riding that high to the end – when you get home you just want to crash out), when your family wants your attention you have 2 options: 1.) you give them attitude so they leave you alone, or 2.) you turn it back on and give them exactly (if not more) of that same undivided attention you give your Clients or Staff.
If you ever find yourself performing option 1, ask yourself, “who’s more important? Your job or your family?” For me it’s my family, so I sit in the car, pump myself up again, imagine I’m at a tradeshow, my kids are my Clients, and I’m going to wow the socks off ‘em!!!
Other than that, I have young kids, so my personal life is gone 😂.
What does your average day look like?
Wake up: Emails – sorry if this is boring, but our world runs off of emails.
Breakfast: Depending on the amount of time I have, I make the family either involved breakfasts i.e., eggs on avocado toast, pancake art (like my crab – that’s the only creature I do remotely well), etc. If I am short on time, oatmeal or cereal. I only drink coffee, or leftovers.
Mornings: Planning & Coordinating meetings and events to strengthen partnerships, create LeadGen, or maintain brand strength
Lunch: Most of my lunches are with Clients/Partners. It’s fun since we get to talk about my passions (AV/DS and Life)
Quick Workout: That afternoon dip can get rough. I’ll hit some weights (I should be doing cardio, but I don’t) to get the blood flowing to get back to work
The rest of the day is like Rhianna says, “work, work, work, work, work.” A lot of it is still coordination and correspondence, but it can also end up at the “Real AV Conference Room” also known as, “The Bar.”
What does your busiest/most active day look like?
Fly, meetings, emails, tweet, meetings, emails, tweet, meetings, emails, meetings, hotel, emails, gym, AV meeting (bar), other social media platforms, Rinse & Repeat!
If you were a fly on the wall at your personal workspace (office, desk, etc.), what would you see/hear?
Lots of talking, laughing, jokes, business, tons of talking, me snacking, and more talking. I work remote, so I prefer calling people so I can at least hear a human voice. I’m in Sales so I need some human interaction or my soul shrivels up.
What did a day in the life look like when you were just starting in the industry compared to now?
Huge change. I came into the industry at an incredibly exciting time. I started in the RGBHV days – amazing reliability and easy troubleshooting. Then came HDMI along with HDCP – for me, this was the most entertaining of all the transitions; so much denial from the industry and refusal to accept change. Interactive Whiteboards & Collaboration were at its peak – this is also about the time when I transitioned over to Sales.
Soon it was all about Unified Communications – yeah, marketing (well, it wasn’t all marketing; there were some Active Directory Integrations with software like Lync). Soon the Internet of Things (IoT) – dreams were becoming a reality. LED Video Walls made its way indoor (proud to say, AVCO was the first in the world to integrate a tight pixel-pitch LED video wall in the DoD space). LED video walls soon became the norm. Digital Signage showed it’s possible to develop a reoccurring revenue model for AV. Now, here we are. It’s a beautiful time to be in AV. Since, I started as a Tech my actual work changed a lot from reading CAD drawings and terminating cables, to working with Clients to put their dreams/visions onto paper which goes to the Techs to make them come true.
Describe a day in the life at AVCO vs. a day in the life at BrightSign. What are the similarities? Differences?
A day in the life of AVCO is crazy yet awesome! There’s always a unique Client, with unique needs, unique processes, and unique solutions. You’re juggling about a hundred different manufacturers and their thousands of products. At AVCO, I only had 1 state to focus on. At BrightSign, you handle one line, but now I have 5 states to focus on.
The biggest similarity is culture. Both AVCO and BrightSign have created an amazing culture where you feel every employee truly cares about the fate of their organization and are always trying to find new ways to help each other. At AVCO, we continually held training classes and huddles to cross train and teach unique techniques and solutions that we’ve learned in the field. My first day at BrightSign, I was welcomed to join the “BrightSign Homebrew Club” which the Engineers and Programmers put together to teach the unique ways that our Clients have used our solutions.
The biggest difference, the level of the supply chain. At AVCO (as all integrators must do), we might have a system that has 20+ different brands and we (cause we’re Hawaii and have about 2500 miles of ocean between Hawaii and the continental US) have to get shipping and lead time info from everyone on all involved products. At BrightSign, you just have one to worry about and I have access to see what the status is of our products.
Describe the mind shift you are experiencing as you switch from solutions provider to manufacturer.
For me, it’s the same. I am a resource as a consultative partner to provide the best solution – even if it doesn’t end up being mine. However, instead of focusing on the end-user it partnering with the right resellers/integrators/CMS providers.
What parts of your daily life outside of work include in the AV industry?
In Hawaii, AV played a bigger piece in my everyday life. Mainly, because I had AVCO rental & demo gear to pull from. I would always be bringing projectors, speakers, etc., to parties and get-togethers. No matter where you are though, you’re always going to be the guy that helps your friends install their AV or IT gear and clean up all their cables.
The question I feel should actually be, “How does AV affect your everyday life?” Once you come from a quality integrator you are cursed. You look at every system and start to judge them. “Why’d they use that speaker? Oh, that’s an integrator who came from resi-roots (not necessarily bad, you can just tell). Ugh, that sucks; the integrator went overkill” (this one always creates an inner dialogue between the voices in my head,
‘well, at least they have good gear.’
‘yes, but they could have accomplished the same thing for a lot less with ___.’
‘yea, but you know it looks and sounds great!’
‘ya, but in an environment like this, it doesn’t matter.’
‘as long as their happy, it doesn’t matter.’
‘I guess you’re right.’
Then there’s “OMG, their cable management is terrible, they must have used their in-house team. Uh oh! I see a display (or hear a speaker) not working – then you start to investigate and figure out what the problem is. Oh no, Digital Signage display location mistake – people are just walking by, if only they placed it over there, people would more than likely view the content on the screen.”
Sometimes, it’s (and I’m happy when this happens) “Wow! I wonder who did this job, they did a really great job! I wish everyone did work like these guys.”
What is your favorite part of the day?
Coming home after a successful day to enjoy with my family – in my head, “(relaxing sigh) you guys are my reason for working my tail off. I really wish I could share with you the details of my day, but I know your eyes will glaze over with my technical specs and micro-actions that shaped the overall outcome of greatness. I’ll just enjoy my time with you.”
What does tomorrow look like?
Tomorrow is glorious; it’s always the first day of the rest of my life. It sounds cliché, but (not to get depressing) I lost some good friends and brothers (brothers in arms) over the years. Whether through life or combat, I think of them and the sacrifices they’ve made. For those reasons, I appreciate every day.