Todd Hanson: building luxury home automation systems with Audio One
In this episode, we hear from Todd Hanson, CEO of Audio One, and the origins of his audio-video technology company. Listen in to learn more about Audio One, its activities in the luxury market, the importance of customized products and customer service, and developing a world-class team. Find out how this work lead to projects involving celebrity clientele including the Osbornes and Shaquille O'Neal, amongst many others.
What you'll hear about on this episode:
- The origins of Audio One (1:33)
- What clients look for (4:12)
- Getting a world class team together (14:12)
- The appeal of luxury products (20:14)
- Millennials in the luxury market (25:52)
- The influence of trends on Audio One's work (27:57)
- The future of voice control and smart homes (34:56)
- Audio One's contributions to IMAX and the entertainment industry (39:21)
Connect with Todd:
Resources and links mentioned:
David Frangioni 0:05
Welcome to life, LIFE. Luxury In Full Effect. I'm David Frangioni. I'm here with Justin Leigh. And this is the show where we interview the people operating at the top of the luxury market. From entertainment, real estate, celebrity industries and everything in between. Together we'll hear their life stories and how they got to where they are today.
Justin Leigh: 0:33
Welcome to the show everybody. We got life with David and Justin and that's luxury in full effect. And we are going to be taking you down that road of talking the luxury market in terms of audio, video. David, how are you today?
David Frangioni 0:49
Doing great, my man. It's an exciting day because we couldn't have a subject more near and dear to my heart then audio, video technology and all of the things that go along with that. And then you add running a business around it and living your passion out - it's the perfect show. So geeks tune in, audio-video people tune in, anybody who loves technology, big homes or anything to do with that world. This is for you.
Justin Leigh: 1:15 Yes, indeed. Okay, so we've got an awesome guest today who I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago. Todd Hanson, the CEO of Audio One. Todd, how you doing?
Todd Hanson: 1:28 I'm doing great. Hi guys, nice to be here.
Justin Leigh: 1:30 So to give you guys a little bit of a background, Audio One is one of the best in the business in AV studio builders: Audio-video studio builders, home automation, and everything in between. I'm probably not doing it justice by my intro, so I'm going to have Todd give you more details. But I can't wait to dive into the stories that you guys have from the years and years of doing this. And all the awesome projects in homes that you have done. What is happening in the luxury market. What people are looking for, what people have and how over the top it can get. And we're looking to jump into that. So Todd, give me a quick background on Audio One and the scope of what you guys do and let us know about some of your clientele.
Todd Hanson: 2:15
Sure. Thanks, Justin. So for over two decades, we've been a leader - a very large and awarded AV firm in the US. We also do work across the world. We're headquartered down in Dania Beach, Florida, here in Miami - that's where our headquarters is but we go everywhere. That's one of the benefits of being in the luxury market with the clientele we have. They tend to have multiple homes all over the world. But where we really stand out is, we provide the "Turn-Key System" that people need. And we do everything from the inception to the design, the engineering, the installation. From start to finish, where they truly get a customized experience. We're not a cookie-cutter AV company with just a few product offerings. We truly focus on the most complicated systems that are out there and we actually enjoy being at the forefront of technology. To the point where technology companies reach out to us for our input when they are designing new products to come to market. Our goal is to make those most complicated and sophisticated systems, the easiest in the world to use from anywhere in the world. So our clients could literally be in London and control their home here in Miami.
Justin Leigh: 3:47
That's so amazing. There are a lot of companies out there, but I know you guys customize things. I've been in many of the homes that you guys have done. Just give me a little bit of what's the norm now for these ten million plus homes and the systems that you're putting in. What kind of things does everyone want from the lighting to the movie theaters. Like what is the going thing that everyone wants?
Todd Hanson: 4:12
We've really seen the industry change from people wanting technology to realizing they need it. Especially in the larger homes that you mentioned. What we're finding is, our clients really enjoy the way we sit down with them, and we're able to see what's important to them. So somebody might be interested in technology in a general sense, but there's specific things that maybe they're not interested in versus another client. So our job really comes down to it. To find out what what they're into, who will be using it, what kind of stuff that they want, what they do not like, who do they want to have access to whatever in the home. And you know really truly varies by client. I would say nowadays, it's very standard for people to want the shade control, lighting control from their smart devices anywhere in the world as I mentioned before. A lot of clients are into theaters, some like dedicated rooms, some like open areas, some even like to do IMAX theaters. We're actually one of the few companies that are able to do private IMAX theaters in people's homes. We tend to run into everything like at all levels. When you're talking ten thousand square feet which is a very common client for us. They like to bring us on to do everything, top to bottom. Most want the latest the greatest. They want it perfect, they want it done right. And they're willing to bring us into to do that because it's what we're we're known for. I know, you know of our reputation in the industry, and it didn't happen overnight. It was over two decades of doing the largest and most complicated systems. It's to a point where we laugh that our chief engineer gets frustrated if he doesn't have challenges, that we're coming up with new stuff. Because he's seen everything, we've done everything. And David, being the founder of Audio One. He is still our chief technologist. I don't think there's been a day David, when you and I work together that we feel like we're working right. It's just exciting. We love the challenges and we love being on the forefront of everything. We're the company that other people call when they can't figure things out. When they throw their hands up. So it really is very enjoyable. And we're very fortunate to have the clientele that we do. They think big picture, everyone has a budget limit of course. But they would rather just have the best or something new and not focus so much on the price. But they focus on the value just being right, in the value. One of the things we have to educate a lot of people on, at least a while ago. Not so much anymore. But too many people, they tend to focus on the products themselves. And they might have a friend that had a bad experience with a particular control system, or whatever. And what we try to do is educate them to say, "Don't worry about the product, the actual products themselves. Let us figure out what's best to control what your needs are." Because the three of us, we can have a pile of lumber sitting by us. We all have the same product and materials. If the three of us go to build something, all three are going to be different. One is going to probably stand out and be far better. And it would be foolish for us to say, "Well, you know, the lumber suck." Well, no, it's the workmanship, the craftsmanship that went into it, that sets that person apart. And so I would say that one of the key things that I want potential clients that are listening to this, to really understand whether it's with us or anybody else. Please just do not focus on the products themselves. It's our job and we're fortunate at Audio One where I don't think a day goes by when vendors don't reach out to me, wanting us to carry their stuff. We're very fortunate. It's David and myself, it's our job to figure out what's best for our clients. That's why they utilize Audio One. It's for that type of expertise and service. And we'll come up with the best solution for the budget that they have.
David Frangioni 9:09
And that really is a very important point for people to take from this interview. In the technology world, people are so accustomed to products, because that's how they shop their smartphones. And that's how they shop for a lot of their technology choices. When they think about what kind of smart headphones or speakers do I want, and what kind of radio system do I want in my car. All of these technology options that they're faced with on a daily basis, And certainly when they're in transition, to buy something new, it's all product driven. That's the only way that they're conditioned to think. Now you get into a Smart Home, which is going to be the biggest investment in technology you're ever going to make probably for most people. The natural thing is to say, "Okay, let me go out as a consumer, let me start to understand products." And then the first thing that happens as Todd described is, they're so confused. Because the products that they're going to find that are marketed for the high end smart home, are all products meant to be installed by highly trained people. And when you go and you look at it as a consumer, it's just all these black boxes and all this lingo and all this really complicated verbiage. And you're just kind of scratching your head going, "What is all this? How does this all work? I just want to pick up my phone, or pick up a remote and watch TV, turn on the lights, open the gate, and you know, put shades down." You think, why do I need a science degree, or another science degree in order to do that. And it's because it's the one segment of tech, just like in the enterprise world. If we look on the high level enterprise world, when people are buying server and integrated software solutions. They're not shopping products, they're shopping solutions and teams. Well, that's the same thing in the smart home world, yet it's very consumer and residential. It's entirely based on the team. And then the products come second because the team as Todd very well described goes through a beginning process. It's an information ingestion of "Okay what's going on here? How big is the house, what are the goals? How technical do the people want to be? How integrated do they want things? What elements do they want controlled in their home?" As Todd described, it's typically light, shade, sound, temperature, All the biggest areas and the things that have a lot of devices in them throughout the homes, you want to integrate and consolidate. And once you understand all of that, the product start to surface because we already understand this from doing thousands of installs. We already understand what the latest and greatest products are. What they will be five years from now. What they will be when the home is ready, which could be eighteen months from the day that you meet the client. And all of these things are based on the team. And then the product starts to evolve within the conversation. But it's very secondary, even though it's important, and even though it certainly is part of this process. It's not anywhere close to what people in the luxury market should be using as their barometer. What do you think about that my brother?
Todd Hanson: 12:30
You hit it right on the head. At Audio One, we take great pride in the things that I mentioned. We take great pride in the clientele that we have. Because to be quite frank, there isn't a lot of companies that are in our space, that are able to enjoy the same benefits that we do and with the clients that we have. We just ultimately want the best for them. And the luxury market, it's really a tight knit world. And we benefited from that. Because of the work that we did here in Miami. Word got out very quickly throughout the rest of the country. The types of things that we were capable with, how we treat our clientele and that we do everything in the house. And just don't bid cheap and outsource everything. Our clients, they love personal attention. They love us knowing about their needs. They don't want to have to call and have to explain what it is that is wrong or what it is that they want. And have to be asked a million questions. Time is money. They like the personal relationships that we are able to have with them, where they get our personal cell phone numbers David and my number. Any issues they have, they call us. We know everything and find out about their system. Even the ones that take years to do. I don't know.
David Frangioni 14:12
It's the team. If you look at what we've invested and focused on with so much vigilance, quite frankly, it's the team. And I've said it a million times. But there may be people listening who have not heard me say it those million times. So I'll say it again. It's not easy to put together a team. It's pretty easy to learn some of the programming, it's pretty easy to go out and get brands. There are a lot of things that aren't so complicated. But to put a world-class team together, keep them together, grow them, train them, nurture them, improve upon each individual member and the continuity among the team. Those are huge challenges in this space. And Audio One, on now what's over twenty-five years, has always been out front on that. And Justin, you've been around for a good portion of those years. So you can speak to that firsthand, as a non-member of Audio One.
Justin Leigh: 15:17 Listen, I'm like sitting here. I can't wait to jump in and just sort of give it from my perspective, which is completely different from your guy's perspective on how everything runs. I know that Audio One brings something different to the table than anyone else does. I know that you guys have created your own software that interfaces with other very complicated software that people put in their homes that makes it really easy to use. Originally, a hundred years ago, I met you guys through the Osbornes. So you guys have done a lot of work with the Osbornes. And they introduced me to Audio One for a project in the beginning. We built a recording studio in a house and actually Shaquille O'Neal's house.
David Frangioni 16:05
It was a home automation system too. It started to evolve as Audio One projects usually due to the entire state.
Justin Leigh: 16:14
Of course. Because the reality is that in this luxury side of things, people like David and Todd and Audio One start off for one thing. And then they end up doing everything which is starting off doing the studio but then doing the movie theater and the home automation and everything in between. But I know as well because Audio One has an amazing way of communicating to the clients and the clients communicating to Audio One. And to make everything easy. Anyone who's listening who has a system in their home that gets complicated and things go offline and all that stuff that is par for the course. When you have a smart home or anything technological like that. Audio One has their own interface that they've created. Basically, in the simplest terms, the way that I understand it, because I'm not a techie like you guys. You have like your own app. Basically, that's a personal app that goes into the systems, whether it's a Crest on, or whatever it is to help it run smooth and easy. And the other thing that I think is incredible is that, if something goes offline, or there's a problem, and a client is in another city, you guys can remotely fix it and get that back on. Which is part of the service, that when you're doing homes of this caliber, and you're doing luxury properties and luxury, and these homes with all the bells and whistles that they have. You don't want to work in real time, because you've spent a good amount of money on them and you want them to be in working order. So that's one thing that I haven't seen a lot out there. And I'm really familiar with that side of things with Audio One and just the caliber of the work.
David Frangioni 17:58
Well, you've seen it firsthand, already. I remember, for those of you, Justin is a world-class realtor on top of being very successful with a long career businessman. He's added realty high end Beverly Hills realty to his cache. And you had a client who Audio One had done a system for. And you were doing a showing, and something went offline that needed a reboot. And you made a phone call. And within three minutes, it was rebooted and the house went from having an issue to being perfect. And the entire process from discovering it to solving it was less than five minutes.
Justin Leigh: 18:34
Exactly. I know it was 100%. It's unbelievable when that happens. And listen, that's what it's all about. Nobody wants to wait for things. Nobody wants things to not work. And guess what, the reality of it is, technology is technology and it kind of has a mind of its own sometimes. And being able to do that. Pick up the phone, call the local Audio One LA person and they can literally in minutes get everything back online, everything is working. Let me give you an example for me what this is like. This is the difference between from technology before we had like the Apple Genius store. And you can literally go and you can get things fixed and talk to someone who knows what they're talking about. When in the past, you couldn't. And most of the times these home company like in Audio One, I haven't seen anyone do it like Audio One, I mean they are on the top of the food chain. But to really have that extra piece of the puzzle. It's literally useless to have that customer service and you want your house to work. It's not the way that it used to be and on top of it, you need to have these luxury items in your homes. Whether the home is a ten million plus or whether your home is a one million plus here. This all adds value to your house, everybody wants to have a smart home. I think that that is something that is crucial for your investment.
David Frangioni 20:13
Well, and also I think that when we talk. Since this show is all about luxury, and Audio One, the company and its philosophy is all based around that segment, very specifically, it's solely. It's worth just the educational component of technology at the Smart Home level is that there's a lot of what you call DIY, do it yourself. And the Apple Store, Samsung Smart things, Google, a lot of the Amazon components, those are all do it yourself. You figure out what you need, chances are you're in a fairly confined space, and you set it up yourself, has a quick tutorial, does a couple of dedicated functions and that's that. We're talking the other end of the spectrum. So if a Toyota get you from A to B, and it's perfectly fine, our clients are driving Bentley's and Lamborghini's and much higher end cars. They still go from A to B, but they have very specific tastes. They have the means to get whatever tastes that they're into. If they're really into sports cars, we're going to have really amazing sports cars. If they're not really into cars, they're going to have more functional cars, but they're still going to be very safe, reliable, high end brands. And those are the tastes and that's the segment that these clients are in. So the Audio, video Smart Home follows that because a lot of people don't realize that it is a segment it is the car industry. The car industry has been around long enough. And there's so much marketing and it's so common, that everybody understands the difference in price between a Rolls-Royce, and a Ford entry level to a car. So in the smart home world, It's not as deep in terms of education and the reach and the mainstream understanding of it. So right off the bat, people can think, "Oh, well, you know, how come I can spend ten grand in this little apartment and get some cool features." But a smart home is many times that because it's the same thing as. I remember years and years ago, a very famous celebrity who were doing their home and the first thing that I saw, the pricing for in the home, was her master closet. And I looked at the guy who was doing it. We were all kind of working together because they were not only doing the trade, was not only doing the closet, but we would work all over the house. And the closet was almost a million dollars. And I looked at him and I just said "That is, I've never seen anything like that." Like that's incredible. Like how do you even spend that much and he just looks at me, and he goes, "David. It's the same exact concept of what you do with AV." When you have very particular tastes as a client, and you have priorities in terms of what you want in your space. And you're not limited by budget, we got to this number between the square footage, the types of materials they wanted, the customization, the craftsmanship, the timelines it was going to take, they were pieces of coral being used that someone had to go three thousand feet into the ocean and ship off and then bring back up and then implemented. I mean, like my head was going to explode. And that was a one closet in one home. But it just serves as an example that in the luxury market, people want what they want. And you can't make comparisons between the non-luxury market where it's cookie cutter, as Todd very accurately said, and the highly customized market where we're literally sitting with clients anywhere up to months before final decisions are even made on what we're going to put in the design. Forget about running a wire or hanging a TV or things that could happen a year or two from now. We're talking about just how we get the proper design for them. So that the rest of their life in this home is really amazing. And if the technology changes, their home doesn't have to get ripped up. To make those changes. We had enough foresight to say, "Okay, ten years from now, here's where the technology will be, and here's all we'll have to do to adapt to it." And your home will function as if we built it from day one, ten years from now. So there's so much that goes into it.
Todd Hanson: 24:37
I was going to say what I really like about our industry and how it relates to the luxury market is, if you look at the luxury market, you know, there's different reasons why certain individuals gravitate towards luxury products. And for some, they view luxury reflective of their success. Some just want unsurpassed quality and service. They just want the best, some really tend to focus on just the aesthetics of the luxury items. And some, they like to get into luxury to be like a trendsetter. They use the luxury to stand out. And we're fortunate being in the easy world. We're very fortunate because we check all those boxes, I mean, we literally can cater to all those different personality types. Because we are completely custom and also mentally able to provide whatever it is that they want. The big idea or smaller idea, something that they are familiar with, something completely new that they're not. We enjoy the educational part of it. And that's why I think our particular company is so blessed to be in the luxury market. Because we can cover all aspects of it. Our millennials too can be into technology. And I read a recent study that they make up 30% of the luxury market right now. And they like to use the luxury items sort of like self-expression, if you will, to signify who they are. And what's great about us is we can give them something that nobody else has. We're only limited by their imagination. So we really enjoy that part.
David Frangioni 26:20
So you're seeing that out in Beverly Hills. Are you seeing the millennial crowd yet? Or is it still a little older?
Justin Leigh: 26:26
Well, really, I mean, yes, the answer is yes. I mean, mostly, I deal with a little bit of an older clientele because we're dealing with high-end homes, high net worth. But you know what, yes, the millennials definitely, it's their nature to have the technical stuff and to have all the gadgets and stuff. And to have everything, kind of speak to each other. Yes, they're definitely into that. And I think that the millennials are taking their stuff mobile with them and then they want to bring that mobile aspect home. Be able to have their smartphone integrated, turn the music on and do all that stuff and have it hooked up to the speakers and everything. But I think that it's really crossing over that I see a lot is that, even people that are in their sixties and sometimes seventies that want all those smart features in the home too. And that's also another question that I want to ask you guys because you know, we know everything that's happening now and what's going on and what people are doing. But what is some cool trend stuff that you guys are excited about? Like I love seeing the transition and I want to hear you talk about this too. About the iPads everywhere, the launch pads and stuff as opposed to hardwired in the wall in the remote controls. Like how has that changed the integration of everything that you guys do with those that, you know, being able to drop everything on an iPad and go wireless through the house and control everything that the house has to do on the iPad? How has that changed for you guys? And what do you like and don't like about it?
David Frangioni 27:57
Well, I think that the norm right now has finally 100% arrived. In that, we're living in a smartphone world that's as obvious as the day is long. But the integration of a smart home with it has now become one and the same. So there was a transition period where I remember and it doesn't feel like it was that long ago. Where we would put a system in and remember the iPad isn't that old and especially the newest iPads and the iPhone isn't even that old. And so there were times where iPhone and then later on iPad controls were like the sprinkles. And you still had dedicated remotes and touch panels etc. And then of course, you would add on the functionality from a device. Now it is completely transitioning to the primary focus for a client's needs is from smart devices such as smartphones and tablets. Whether they're Apple or Android or whatever. And then the functionality that the system offers is all controlled within that and it can get pretty tricky, especially when you add security. In the condo world, you don't have so many alarms and cameras that often. But in the standalone estate world, it's all about cameras, alarms, gate control, multiple gates, pools, perimeter monitoring, etc. And you add all of that on top of you know the functions of home light shades, sound, temperature and celery, fountains. And maybe other appliances. And all kinds of fancy DMX and LED lighting where you have color selections within the lights on-off and levels. And so, it can get pretty sophisticated both in and out of the house, but you integrate all of that. And having it all from the smartphone, having the smartphone be absolutely integral. It doesn't replace having devices In the home, such as remotes and touch panels, but it changes the design quite a bit. Because of course, you don't need nearly as many of them.
Justin Leigh: 30:10
So do you think you still need some of the hard wired stuff in those remotes or the iPad has not completely taken over?
David Frangioni 30:22
Well, no. Because the remote part of it is just a handheld smart remote that can do all of the functions we've been talking about in a very easy, reliable fashion. And not require any boot-up time, not require a separate app and fit in the palm of your hand. Which is still a physical form that most people enjoy because they're sitting down watching TV. And holding an iPad is not very easy with one hand and changing channels and those other kinds of things and you still have to launch the app etc. To some extent, it is a personal preference and I am seeing it transition differently than I thought. It might have transitioned where more people are saying, "Hey, forget the remote, I'll hold the iPad or an iPad Mini with both hands. And I'll dedicate it just to this room and I'll deal with being on Wi-Fi and not a dedicated gateway." And all these other things and they're happy with it. But there's still a lot of people that select the remote. It's primarily in television room. If you don't have a television in the room, then 95% of the people are selecting a tablet to control it and not a dedicated device from a manufacturer. And I know Todd, we're seeing that every day.
Todd Hanson: 31:33
Yeah. And also what we're seeing now, especially with our clientele, is when we're talking control from anywhere in the world with their smart devices. It's just not one home that they have needs for. We're talking multiple homes being able to swipe from one home to another to utilize the same features no matter what house they want to control from wherever.
David Frangioni 31:55
Todd Hanson 31:56
That's right. Absolutely right. And just like voice control now, we're not talking Alexa style voice control here. We're talking about voice control for the needs of the homes that you were asking me about earlier, Justin. The complexity that needs to go into something like that, to control multiple systems at the same time. Maybe David, you want to make a comment on all that? I know you and I just had a recent discussion where you had some insight about the complexity of that.
David Frangioni 32:30
Well, 100% and you're absolutely right. Again, because technology has become so mainstream, it's natural for someone to think, "Okay, well, how come when I talk to Siri or Alexa or whoever, I say a command and I find out what time it is, what day it is, what's on television tonight." But as soon as you get into the homes that we're describing in the luxury market. And you've got much more sophisticated environments, voice control becomes a lot more complicated to get right. Because now really, if you're going to use it, you want to be able to say, "Open the shades in the great room, open the front left gate, turn the temperature in the living room up to seventy-two and turn all the sound off in the east wing right now." Think about that. What I just said, you could do with button presses. But to do it over voice. There isn't any mainstream technology that can do that right now that with any kind of reliability. But there is a high end very specifically developed voice technology called Josh AI that is entirely built for the smart home. Where it actually can understand multiple commands and very sophisticated strings of actionable items you want to happen. And it's really next gen stuff. It's really only applicable in the kind of environments we're describing because it's overkill for a smaller space where you can use it, do it yourself. But for custom luxury spaces, for people that want voice control, there's finally a solution coming and it's been developed, it's still new. But that's something that's definitely on the bleeding edge. And that's definitely something we're going to see more and more integrated. If we look at the iPhone integration and the acceptance curve over the last six years say, it was started out with a rumble and now it's a roar. And this is now the beginning of that curve for voice control.
Justin Leigh: 34:31
I can only imagine. Because already right now I'm a big fan of Alexa. I don't know if you guys are too. But I love my Alexa and I literally have it hooked up to everything that it can be hooked up to. From lights to television. And it works great now just sort of with my own little. I can't imagine a bigger version of that, with the Josh AI that you're talking about. So let me ask you, how far-fetched are some of the things that we see in the movies? Like Iron Man, how they have the homes done. Have you seen anything that you are like, "Oh yeah, it's coming along." I mean, how realistic is all that stuff in the near future?
David Frangioni 35:12
Extremely. Audio One finished what's being called the largest AV smart home residential integration in the world in Naples, Florida. That's where the home is. It's absolutely extraordinary. And the numbers and the stats on what's going on in this home as far as a smart home don't even sound real. Just dozen dozens of thermostats and over a hundred cameras and types of cameras with radar and the ability for the camera to do a heat map of a car that pulls up and see if there's a weapon in the car and if there is, reference a current database to see what weapon it is and then report that to the homeowner. I mean it's just on and on and on and on and dozens of very sophisticated elements. Thousands of zones of multicolored lights and hundreds of zones of audio and it just goes on and on and on. It's very Iron Man.
Justin Leigh: 36:10
The stuff that we're seeing in the films, there's a reality to that stuff. I mean, eventually.
David Frangioni 36:16
Well, yeah, and now it's at the very highest end. And the person who has the system we're describing has the imagination and the means to realize it and the home big enough to realize it. It's a very specific client. And we see clients that have a garage that has twenty-five amazing sports cars in it. And you look at it and you go, "Oh, my God, like this is the most over the top thing you could ever imagine." It's millions of dollars just to buy them, then all the money to store them. Then all the money to maintain them and you know, on and on and on. But that's their passion. And that's where they want to spend their money. It's their right to live the life they want to live, of course, and indulge how and when they want to. And there are other clients that would do that with AV. And this particular client we're talking about in Naples has the interest. He has a few cars, two or three. He could have anything he wants, but he has two or three. They're very nice. But his focus is on technology and really having this incredible smart home. And he's just very passionate about it. And it really speaks to the type of company we are. Because look at Todd Hanson, who we have on the show today, CEO of Audio One. He is one of the most passionate AV professionals and experts I've ever met in my life. Besides everything that he knows and everything that he does, and steering a company at this level. It's the passion, it's the drive, it's the interest in what all of this technology can really accomplish and how it can deliver the dreams and the ideas of luxury-minded clients. That's really the fuel here.
Todd Hanson: 38:00
Yes, thank you, David. And like I said, I don't feel like I've worked a day my life doing this. It does not feel like work. I almost feel like I hit the lottery. I am so fortunate and so thankful for my working relationship with David. As I said, he founded Audio One around twenty-five years ago. And the fact that he and I have become so close and the ideal business partners. We make such a good team with my strengths, not only in the AV world but in business acquisitions. My background with the private equity company, and business growth and stuff. We're viewing this as Audio One, version 2.0. And we're going to be making even a bigger impact on the world very shortly. Thank you for the kind words, David. I can't say enough good things. His knowledge is second to none. As I said, show me a competitor of ours that actually comes to someone as they do, David Frangioni for advice and putting believe IMAX is one of them, advice and in developing these systems.
David Frangioni 39:21
Well, it's true. Thank you for that. But Justin, you remember IMAX. Because I get called by IMAX really kind of out of the blue sky. And it was like, they had an idea that they wanted to take the IMAX brand that was 100% commercial based. You went to a theater, it was an IMAX theater. You bought an IMAX ticket, you watched an IMAX movie. And they said, "We want to take that experience and we want to bring it into what we're going to call IMAX private theaters, and we're going to duplicate it in the home." That's where it started. That was about six to seven years ago. And then it evolved and you know People turned over at IMAX, the concept turned over two or three times, the space considerations changed. I remember one time I was having a meeting. I don't remember, Justin, if you were there or not. But if you weren't there exactly at that moment, you were there right after the meeting. Because you and I were together that day. It was at the Beverly Hills Hotel at the Polo lounge. And I'm sitting at this meeting and the IMAX at that time. It's not the current IMAX team, but this was earlier days IMAX. We were meeting and they're saying to me, "You come very highly recommended and we're so thrilled with all the feedback you're giving us." And everything else, and we're sitting in the Polo lounge, and Steve Wynn walks in. Steve Wynn and I had a mutual business associate who's very close to him and very close to me. And I said, "Excuse me." And this is where IMAX is like, kind of almost kind of quizzing me, like, "Should we go to the next level together? What should we do, etc." And Steve Wynn walks and I say, "Excuse me, let me go over and just say hi to Steve and do you mind if I mentioned IMAX to him, in case he's interested in the future?" And the guy's jaw literally dropped and he finally kind of got it like, okay, audio, one doesn't just walk and talk, they actually walk the walk and walk the talk. It was really a funny moment. And then I remember you and I saw each other. If you weren't there at that moment, you came shortly after and IMAX just evolved from there. We just had a huge contribution to how IMAX went and how it is today. And I think it's really gotten a lot better than it started. I think they've listened to a lot of the things that we've guided them on. Because ultimately, what their idea was never really changed. But originally they thought they could take the IMAX theater and literally put it in a house. And after four clients that could afford it came to me and wanted it but didn't have space for it. They finally started to listen to me and to Audio One and say "Okay, guys, people don't have thirty-foot high stadium seats available anywhere in their home" Even if they have all the space in the world.
Justin Leigh: 42:06
And it wasn't like two thousand square feet behind the screen or something crazy like that?
David Frangioni 42:11
The numbers were literally a commercial theater. Nobody has that kind of space dedicated in their homes, no matter how big their homes are. And they didn't want to dedicate that much space to it and I agreed with them and I agreed with the client. And I said, "IMAX, hey, let's find a way." And the first iteration of IMAX, the team was like, "No, no, no, we can't change it." And then finally is the IMAX brand evolved and they started to understand that you can keep the vision and modify it and adapt it to the environment and not in any way compromise the vision. The first IMAX team I was working with was trying to tell me, the newest team really get like okay, it's an amazing experience, but it's in the home. So it's not going to be literally in a huge. We're not seating three hundred people in someone's home to watch a movie. So they finally got it. But it's a great example, as Todd said, of how Audio One gives as much back to the industry as we take, which I believe is an incredibly important element in anything that you do. I think we're just really lucky to carve out some of Todd's time today. And thank you for being here today. Todd Hanson, CEO of Audio One.
Justin Leigh: 43:26
Todd Hanson: 43:26
Thank you very much. I enjoyed it very much.
David Frangioni 43:32
This is part one. There's too much to go over with Mr. Hanson to cover this one day. Can we have it back soon, my man?
Todd Hanson: 43:40
Oh, of course. I can't wait.
David Frangioni: 43:42
Awesome. Justin. Write those questions down.
Justin Leigh: 43:45
I got them. I got them all.
David Frangioni 43:46
You got them? All right. So everybody listening today. Thank you to Todd Hanson, CEO of Audio One, Todd. Before we let everybody go. Tell everyone where they can reach you and Audio One.
Todd Hanson: 43:58
David Frangioni 44:47
Thank you, Todd, so much, us too. Awesome. Thank you guys. You've been listening to David and Justin on life. Life. Luxury in full effect. You know it.
Justin Leigh: 44:58
Alright guys, thank you so much, we'll see you soon.