I'm a huge bibliophile. A self-admitted book nerd. I read a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. I read so much most years I couldn't even tell you half the books I've read. So this year, I'm going to try something different and list all my books in one place.
Here's what I've read in 2017:
January - 7 Books
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Rockettes, Rockstars and Rockbottom by Keltie Colleen
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Drinking & Tweeting by Brandi Glanville
Sorry Not Sorry by Naya Rivera
February - 5 Books
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrik
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Southern Education of a Jersey Girl by Jamie Primak Sullivan
The Regulars by Georgia Clark
Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar
March - 3 Books
Where Am I Now by Mara Wilson
Tony & Susan by Austin Wright
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
April - 3 Books
Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
May - 3 Books
The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond
Beartown: a novel by Fredrick Backman
June - 2 Books
I See You by Clare Mackintosh
Garlic and Sapphires: The secret life of a critic in disguise by Ruth Reichl
July - 5 Books
The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee
I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Good as Gone by Amy Gentry
How to Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
The Forgetting Time: A Novel by Sharon Guskin
August - 4 Books
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales by Alexandra Wentworth
The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
September - 2 Books
According to a Source by Abby Stern
The Girl with All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
October - 3 Books
You House is on Fire, All Your Children Are Gone by Stefan Kiesbye
Come Closer by Sara Gran
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
November - 3 Books
Always A Bridesmaid (For Hire) by Jen Glantz
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King
December - 1 Book
Lucky Charming by Kate Chastain
Why do some women criticize and block other women at every turn?
We'll start with a quick story that inspired this blog...I was recently named Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch (YEAH, GO ME!), an honor that both thrilled and excited me. My euphoria was almost immediately crashed when I heard through the grapevine, from multiple sources, that another woman was bashing me to industry associates saying "Megan's part of a group of girls that all just nominate each other for awards and that's how they win awards."
My immediate reaction was not one of anger, but one of sorrow. I'm sorry that this woman doesn't have any awesome group of women supporting her and building her up.
Do I have an awesome lady gang in the AV industry? ABSOLUTELY.
Do I nominate other women for industry awards? HECK YES. But do you know why I do it? Not because they're woman or they're my friends—I do it because they deserve it. And *spoileralert* if they weren't worthy, they wouldn't be winning.
I've been in this industry for almost a dozen years, and I've met a plethora of women willing to help build me up in all ways. They've been there to strategize on the latest marketing techniques, work together on making our industry associations stronger, talk me through countless career hurdles, and even to share personal stories of heartbreak and triumph outside the office.
Now that I'm a little older, and a little wiser, I've had the privilege of being a mentor to younger women just beginning their AV careers. Getting a little corny, if they can believe it, they can achieve it, and I'm there to help them achieve it, not to take credit for them, or tear them down.
I guess what I'm saying is this: there's room for all of us at the top; let's build each other up instead of tearing each other down. We're in a male-dominated industry—we don't need discord and separations, we need to band together.
Next time you're angry about the accomplishments of another woman, turn that frown upside down, and be genuinely happy for them. Give her a call, text, e-mail, and tell her how amazing she is. Share her wins on your social. After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
P.S. If you haven't cultivated your own awesome girl gang, join one of the many industry groups that have formed. You'll meet some cool people who are happy to have you in their circle.
AVIXA Women's Council
Women in Consumer Technology
Women of Digital Signage
Women of the Channel
P.P.S. Men are always welcome to join and support these groups!
This last week has been wonderful, beyond wonderful, in fact. As I have for the last decade, I spent Thanksgiving with my ohana in Hawaii. We've snuggled up for story time, watched the sunset on the beach, stuffed our faces with turkey, and sang at the top of our lungs. It's magical.
We've settled into a little routine. The kiddos head to school, and, while they're there, I work furiously on writing killer content for the latest issue of SCN (check your mailboxes, the Dec issue is shipping now!). After school, we all hang out and make the most of our time together. Getting to walk a half mile to the beach for an ocean sunset is NOT something I get to do every day, especially a day in late November.
This past weekend, we spent the night at the Wailea Beach Resort (thank you Marriott points!) and had a BLAST! Fun in the sun isn't even an accurate description. Ultra fun? What's 10,000 times better than fun? Whatever it is, that's what we had. The kiddos were in LOVE with the newly renovated pools. Let's be honest, even the adults were in love. The dads ditched us to race down the waterslides too many times to count! The quality time, the views, the entire perfect experience, I'm grateful for it all!
What I'm getting at here (besides all my humble brags), is that I'm REALLY happy with my family and REALLY blessed to have this life. So, in the words of my new friend John "Gucci" Foley, glad to be here.
Why are you so obsessed with me? Stop talking about the Millennial generation like it’s not a vital part of the AV world
#AVTweeps – ENOUGH WITH THE MILLENNIAL TALK! All day, every day, I hear Millennials this, Millennials that, and it almost always comes with a negative connotation. Some say I fall into the Millennial generation. I say I’m in the much forgotten and commercially irrelevant Gen Y—a hybrid of Gen X and Millennials. I’ve picked up some cool qualities from both groups. I can selfie like nobody’s business…and if you think the selfie is irrelevant in the workplace, you’re dead wrong; people have created million dollar brands with selfies. At the same time, I’m Gen X-ish when it comes to a work/life balance. I’m not a 9-5 clock-in kinda gal, but, at the same time, you’re not going to catch me working 16-hour days just because you have a stocked kitchen and a game room.
I recently had the pleasure of attending AVIXA’s AV Executive Conference. The networking was wonderful but the presentations? Extremely frustrating. Nearly every presenter/panel brought up some issue with the Millennial generation. NEWSFLASH: Millennials now make up the majority of the labor force and have since Q1 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
Then why is everybody still complaining about them? Because change is hard. Millennials may have different way of doing things and, as I’ve discovered, lots of us are having trouble accepting that our way may not be the best way. Marci Rossell, PhD, and former Chief Economist at CNBC, could not stop talking about younger generations constantly using their phones, and her belief that it was hindering productivity.
Well, is it actually hindering productivity? I don’t think so. Sometimes smart devices are a big distraction, but they can also be a source of inspiration, creativity, and, most importantly, productivity. I spent a lot of the conference live-tweeting for SCN Magazine. The presenters still had my attention, perhaps even more so because I had to listen closely to get their quotes exactly right for social. Know what this did? It allowed those who couldn’t attend to feel like they were in the room and pick up some new knowledge. Sharing is caring, people!
Please stop telling me Millennials are special snowflakes who are afraid to leave their parents’ homes. First of all, if an entire generation needs a safe space, guess what? IT’S OUR FAULT! We’re the ones who raised them in a bubble and everyone-gets-a-trophy environment. Also, who crashed the economy? If you’re over age 40, raise your hand. It’s you. It wasn’t the Millennials. So, yeah, they have to stay at home a bit longer…because nobody is employing them.
It’s time to get off your high horse and figure out that Millennials are business professionals, just like you and me. We can all work together, because we already are. Just stop the bad mouthing and making every class, conference, anecdote, etc. about how terrible the next generation is. And remember, they’re going to be your boss soon.
P.S. For those of you who are interested, I’m happy to teach a class on how to work with Baby Boomers and Gen X. Time to exploit the weaknesses of other generations and tell Millennials how they can deal with co-workers over age 40 who are fiscally irresponsible (remember, they created the 2008 financial crisis and crashed the housing market), selfish (who’s draining social security without caring if there’s anything left for the rest of us?), and refuse to acknowledge their privilege (higher education was way more affordable and they entered a rapidly expanding job market). InfoComm 2018, anyone?
If the title of this blog post didn't spark up a HiPhi song in your head, you clearly need to know more about the world of Digital Signage. And what better place to do so than New York Digital Signage Week?
This loosely structured week has become one of my favorite AV events of the year. It's way more informal than a tradeshow so you can sit back, relax (you don't really have time for that but it sounds nice!), and hang with all of your favorite #AVTweeps.
This year is going to be a bit different for me because of my new position - and I am STOKED to write up all of the cool events, new technology, and people news. Thanks to Adrian from the Daily DOOH, I've got tickets to the hottest events in town!
Here are some things I'm looking forward to (and how you can get in):
Barco Media Lab
Barco's well known for their NYDSW kick-off party. Now in its seventh year, you can assume this will be the place to see and be seen.
Coffee & Controversy
The DSF always puts on a great show - the who's who of digital signage debating the hottest topics. Plus, networking and breakfast.
Daily DOOH Investor Conference
Tuesday Morning & Afternoon
When you're finished with the DSF breakfast, book it on over to the Daily DOOH Investor Conference. Here, you'll find info about trends and the future of DS/DOOH straight from the mouths of major CEOs. And you can say hi to Adrian!
NEC VIP Reception
NEC knows how to throw a party...and with it falling on Halloween, you can be sure this will be talked about for weeks. I'm betting Rich Ventura has something up his sleeve for this costume party so BRING IT! This one is invite-only so hit up your NEC Rep to make it onto the list.
WIN with AVIXA Women's Council
The amazing Gina Sansivero put together this networking event for all of us ladies in town for NYDSW. As you know, I'm a huge supporter of women's councils and the AVIXA NYC Chapter is killer. Come out and meet some great women in the industry.
BrightSign/Elo Touch/Peerless-AV Happy Hour
This is another invite-only gig. Unfortunately, I'll miss this one because I'll be flying home. But I can assure you fun will be had by all! Reach out to your reps and get a ticket today!
This is just a sprinkling of my schedule (can't give it all out, because, you know, stalkers) - are you coming into town for NYDSW? Tweet me (@MeganADutta) and let's meet up! I can't wait to catch up with everyone.
P.S. If you still haven't figured out the HiPhi reference, click here. Also, don't blame me when you're still singing this song four years later.
I recently read an article in The New York Times where Quentin Tarantino was quoted saying "I knew enough to do more than I did." Let me make one thing clear from the start, if you know about sexual harassment/assault, and do NOTHING, you're just as guilty as the perpetrator. It seems as if everyone in Hollywood knew about the Weinstein assaults, yet, it was just accepted - the ultimate example of rape culture.
I work in a male-dominated industry, the audiovisual industry. For the most part, I have been well accepted and treated as a professional. However, like many females, I have experienced sexual harassment. For the first time, I'm going to publicly detail a major incident. I won't name names to protect the guilty.
For about seven years, I worked for a man who sexually harassed a large number of our company's female employees; he was also verbally abusive, but that part wasn't exclusive to women. The first incident I can remember happened about a year after I started at the company. He called six or seven women into a meeting and then proceeded to scream at us - not just yelling, I'm talking vein-popping, tomato red face screaming - followed quickly by the throw of a chair across the room. After this, one of the women went to HR and he was forced to send all of us a formal apology and review sexual harassment guidelines.
Over the next few years, I wanted so desperately to be part of the "boys club" and didn't want to be "that girl" who gets offended over every little thing. So I listened to him go on, sometimes for hours, about his sex life with his wife, his drug-fueled escapades in college, and all kinds of other insane stories that should never be told in the workplace. During this time, I would be randomly yelled at for things that, most of the time, had nothing to do with me. I had been called into HR a few times during this period to confirm incidents I had witnessed between him and other women.
One afternoon, I was told, several times, I was "FUCKING WRONG" about a product spec. (I wasn't actually wrong and I didn't work on the products team so it didn't even apply to me). This incident was so loud that several people went to HR to let them know what happened. Once again, I found myself in HR's office. I had become so conditioned to comply with his behavior that the only thing I would say about it was "we've always had a good working relationship."
At this time, I had started managing several young women. I began to see the impact his behavior was having on them and I didn't like it. One woman told me he had recorded a test video of her and implied he would save it and masturbate to it later at home. This was not okay but we still just accepted it as something we had to deal with. After all, this man had been reported countless times and was never fired.
Then, one day, a drastic incident occurred. I was at a co-worker's desk when I asked her to cut the hanger strap from my shirt. Our boss walked by and said "Oh, look at that purple polka dot bra!" when he caught a glimpse of the bra strap as she cut the hanger strap. We laughed and moved on with our work. Later that day, I was in his office with a male co-worker. Mid-sentence, mid-meeting, he stopped, looked me dead in the eye and said "Are you wear matching panties?" You could have cut the awkward silence with a knife.. I just got out of there are fast as I could and hoped he'd forget about it, deep down knowing this was going to be a long-term topic of conversation for him.
Over the next two weeks, there were multiple references to this incident with him inquiring about my bra. Then it stopped and I thought it was over. Two weeks later, he was at it again. I was humiliated. I started spending 20 extra minutes each morning getting dressed, ensuring there was no way to even catch a glimpse of my undergarments. I began having anxiety attacks driving to the office and couldn't wait to get out of there every day.
I realized I couldn't go on like this and spoke to a trusted male co-worker and friend. He was shocked this was going on, especially since I was known around the office for sticking up for my values, opinions, and beliefs. He encouraged me to take it higher, but, I was terrified. I imagined my boss would get another "slap on the wrist" and I would have to work with him after. I contemplated quitting without even having another job lined up. Luckily, my friend helped me through it and convinced me to speak with the Executive Team.
I first spoke to a Vice President with whom I felt very comfortable and had a congenial relationship. Despite our friendship, it was nearly impossible to get the words out. He immediately went to the President of the company, who was kind as can be as I repeated my story, which I also had to tell HR. I was MORTIFIED having to talk about my undergarments at work, and especially to so many high-level executives. The entire process was humiliating for me., despite all of them being so incredibly understanding as I detailed what had happened.
Luckily for me, the company took swift action this time and he was terminated as soon as he walked into the building the next day. I was later told more details about the process, like how a male co-worker had said he couldn't recall witnessing some of the exchanges because he "didn't want to get involved" or when my harasser said I "showed him my bra," or why HR couldn't understand why I didn't come to them sooner...uhhhhh...because he's never been fired for sexual harassment or verbal abuse and I thought I'd still have to work for him?
While going to work didn't get immediately easier, it got better every day. This situation had a lasting impact on me (and my female co-workers) - I would break into a sweat if I saw the make and model of his car anywhere near me. I saw him once at a tradeshow and immediately hid away in our storage closet so I could ensure he did not approach me.
After all these years, writing this still gives me an "icky" feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was repeatedly told not to discuss it (despite no legal action being taken on my end of theirs), I was repeatedly asked by co-workers why I didn't tell them sooner, and I was told I was being too dramatic about the entire situation. SO many people in the company knew he continuously harassing women, yet, we all accepted it as part of our workplace culture. I'm including myself in that list - I wasn't part of the solution early on, which means I was part of the problem.
Never again will I be silent when I see things like this happening. We need to take action to stop rape culture. None of this is okay. We need to stop the "pussy-grabbers" of the world and let them know we will no longer stand for inappropriate touching, verbal abuse, harassment, etc. It stops now.
Learn about the start of the Me, Too movement here: www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/10/19/the-woman-behind-me-too-knew-the-power-of-the-phrase-when-she-created-it-10-years-ago/
Literally all I've been hearing for the past two weeks is eclipse this and eclipse that. Well, guess what? I DON'T CARE. There, I said it. I literally don't care at all. I get that it's not something that happens every day. Still don't care.
I legitimately am in disbelief over the craziness, especially with those glasses. The 7-11 down the street has been sold out for days. My local library was handing out glasses to card holders and there was a line full of people WAITING IN LAWN CHAIRS! Seriously folks?
So while everyone else is staring up at the sky, I'll be over here working away. Maybe I'll give it a glance from my window (mom thinks I'll get a retinal burn if I do) but, other that that, business as usual.
Enjoy the eclipse today...if that's the sort of thing you're into.
To quote my great friend, Carol Campbell, "I can't believe we're still talking about this." Talking about what? Accepting women in the AV industry. Over the last 20 years, CEDIA could count on one hand the number of women it has had on its board.
Research has shown again and again that women have an equal (if not more than equal) say in home technology purchases. So why isn't the CEDIA board gender balanced? Despite so many industry big-timers, both male and female, expressing outrage, nothing has changed.
For the first time ever, CEDIA has gone on-record stating it is actively recruiting women. Tabitha O'Connor, the organization's COO, "We need female perspectives. We need diverse viewpoints. We need a Board that best represents the depth and scope of our association’s members as it stands today."
LISTEN UP: you can help. With all the buzz around this topic, I expect to see some stellar women on the ballot. Take the time to carefully review all of the candidates and VOTE.
Go ahead, tell me one more time how hard your life is as a white person. You grew up poor, you didn't live in an all white neighborhood, you're NOT racist. I get it, you're a good person and you don't discriminate. All of these circumstances apply to me as well. At the same time, I'm not naive enough to think I don't have every advantage over a person of color in the same situation.
Why am I writing this today? Because i recently came across this article from Ijeoma Oluo speaking about white privilege and she hits the nail on the head. I've never been forced to figure out white culture and not because I live it - it's because MY survival does not depend on it.
Unfortunately, even in today's world, I can't say the same for minorities in this country. Because I can't articulate these points nearly as well as Ijeoma, I suggest you stop what you're doing immediately (including reading this little blog) and check out her thoughts.
You can read the full article here: https://theestablishment.co/white-people-i-dont-want-you-to-understand-me-better-i-want-you-to-understand-yourselves-a6fbedd42ddf
What are you going to do to help create a cultural shift? I'm asking you because I'm not even sure what I can do. I'd love to hear your ideas - let me know in the comments below.
As I write this, I'm wrapping up my first official week as Editor of Systems Contractor News. My quote to everyone has been "I'm so excited for this new adventure". And that's what it is - a new adventure. I love that I was fortunate enough to take on a new challenge in the AV industry. Everyone has been so supportive of my transition, from my former employer Peerless-AV to the NewBay team to my #AVTweeps.
I'm very much looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to SCN. You'll read a lot of this in my first Editor's Letter (check out the September issue!) so I'll try not to repeat myself. I want SCN to be an industry collaboration now more than ever. I don't want to hear about your widgets, I want to hear why your products are making #AVTweeps and end-users lives easier. I want you to Tweet me (@MeganADutta or @SCNMag) and tell me why you LOVED the last issue or what you think we got wrong.
I want to see all of your faces at our cool new events like the SCN Think Tank. Trust me, you don't want to miss this - the genius that is Kirsten Nelson has lined up a BANGING group of innovators ready to discuss next-level technologies. Check it out here: http://www.scnthinktank.com/
I'll end this with a quick thank you to everyone at NewBay who has been as kind, thoughtful and helpful as you expect, especially Adam, Margot and Jeremy. And a special shout-out to Gene Kinsella who is an all-around wonderful human and has spent the last 10 years encouraging my growth in the industry. Looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Hope to hear from all of you soon!
Megan A. Dutta