QSC’s growth story includes a series of calculated risks at critical inflection points for the company—the transition from guitar amps to power amps and moving into build-to-order manufacturing. During “Breakfast of Champions” at The 2018 NAMM Show, company co-founders Pat Quilter and John Andrews discussed this and more with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. (Watch the video to see the full interview.)
One of QSC’s biggest bets was entering the powered speaker market 17 years ago. The company founders had predicted that growth in powered speakers would affect QSC’s core business: power amps. According to Andrews, QSC tried brokering OEM relationships and an acquisition to transition into the powered speaker business, and neither strategy worked. So, it began manufacturing the speakers.
Andrews mentioned that everyone told them it wouldn’t work, particularly after the company had seen so much success in power amps.
“But we had a strong conviction that if we didn’t [go into the powered speaker market], we weren’t going to have a growth engine,” he said. “And sure enough, here we are 17 years later from when we started our first effort in the powered speaker business. It’s one of the key growth engines at the company.”
Quilter then offered valuable advice to the next generation of builders. “The trick is to follow that passion and make it be financially rewarding enough to support your dream. You do have to manipulate your vision, so that it’s something you can sell at a fair price that people will pay.
“Don’t kid yourself: It will take a lot longer than you think. There are going to be setbacks. I wouldn't be here today if I hadn’t had the good luck to have two other strong partners."