GIOLAS: It’s absolutely critical that this potential client, who is an iPod guy now, be exposed to the experience of high-end audio in a compelling way. After he enters corporate America and is making a good living, he’ll not only be a customer, but will bring his colleagues over and expose them to the experience. In order for this premise to work, of course, there has to be a network of dealers who are providing the experience and can teach the potential client about the experience. Without the great dealers, we’re all sunk. The challenge we face is that the dealer network has become diluted, and they’ve lowered their common denominator and abandoned their core expertise.
MENACKER: One of the problems is that some stores set up barriers with their attitude. They don’t invite people to experience something remarkable—high-quality music playback. Anyone who hears it is going to want it, and so will his friends. GIOLAS: Yes, by not meeting the customer where he is and bringing him along.
MENACKER: We’ve pushed them out and told them that this is an exclusive club. It is a club, but you only have to love music to join.
ATUL KANAGAT Atul Kanagat recently retired from a twenty-two-year career at the management- consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, to pursue his interests in music and audio. While at McKinsey, Atul served on the Board of the Seattle Symphony, ending up as Vice Chairman. He has been an audiophile for over 20 years. Atul currently works part time for TAS publisher Absolute Multimedia, Inc., as strategic advisor while pursuing investment and consulting opportunities in his two spheres of interest, classical music and high-end audio. As part of his work for AMI, he has spent the last year or so analyzing the high end as an industry.
TERRY MENACKER Terry Menacker is founder and proprietor of Overture Ultimate Audio and Video in Wilmington, Delaware. He studied classical music from childhood through his teenage years until he happened upon a Miles Davis concert and fell in love with jazz. His life changed forever when, at the age of nine, he heard his first record and became fascinated with playing back recorded music. He has spent his life pursuing that fascination. His lifelong goal was to create the world’s finest audio store and expose more people to the joys of music wonderfully reproduced.
JOHN GIOLAS In 1985, John Giolas, armed with a Bachelor of Arts in British literature (and minors in creative writing and philosophy), established Audition Systems, a high-end audio boutique in Salt Lake City, Utah. Audition Systems became one of the Intermountain West’s largest high-end dealerships. When he sold the business in 1999, it included both home theater and custom audio. In 2000, John joined Wilson Audio as Director of Marketing and as a sales representative. John emphasizes educating both the media and Wilson dealers in Wilson Audio’s core values, such as authentic excellence, because these guide everything that Wilson Audio does.