Flanigan Tapped To Head DSA

November 1, 2013 by Dave Haynes


Paul Flanigan is in and David Drain is out at the Digital Screenmedia Association, with Flanigan taking over as executive director and Drain taking on a different gig with Networld Media Group, which provides management services for the not-for-profit trade association.

Drain is now s senior vice president of events for Networld.

Flanigan “brings a tremendous amount of industry knowledge, both as an end-user and a vendor,” says DSA President Bill Lynch. “We’re confident he’ll help DSA expand its influence in the digital omnichannel industry.” (Note: see my take later in post)

Flanigan has been around the space for several years and got known for his work running Best Buy’s in-store network. He left in 2009 and worked with me and Pat on Preset for about a year  — apparently a nightmare period as he doesn’t mention it in LinkedIn ;-]  Pic is from 2010 planning meeting, at end of day (hence the wobbly pops).

He’s more recently had stints with RiseVision and Detroit-based Pro-Motion Technology Group.

Paul has has been an active member of the DSA, most recently serving as EVP of marketing. In his new gig, he’s responsible for the day-to-day administration of the DSA,  as well as carrying out the short- and long-term objectives of the DSA Board of Directors. The selection of Flanigan was made by Networld Media Group in consultation with the DSA’s executive committee.

I checked with Flanigan, who moved about three years ago from Minneapolis to Sacramento. He doesn’t need to move to Louisville,where Networld is located.

Drain has been around this space for many years and made himself ever-present at sector events. He was executive director of the Self-Service & Kiosk Association, helped co-found the Digital Signage Association in 2007, and in 2010 the advisory boards of SSKA and DSA agreed to merge to form the Digital Screenmedia Association.

He’s now in charge of several revenue-generating events focused on verticals: the Fast Casual Executive Summit, Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit and ATM & Mobile Innovation Summit.

Flanigan has more than a bit of challenge on his hands making the DSA relevant, not that the rival Digital Signage Federation is regarded as all that relevant either. The latter has a clubby, back-scratching inner circle feel to it that’s off-putting as hell. The DSA, in turn, has struggled to shake its still obvious ties to Networld, with the DSA site littered with Networld-related ads and editorial.

Were I doing the DSA job (and I would rather have my eyeballs sanded), I’d look at two things to start:

1 – Do something, ANYTHING, about the patent troll issue. Inform, educate, advocate, defend … just something. It’s getting bigger and the trolls who will soon enter the space have more money and even more moxie than the ones seen to date. For an organization that purports to be the advocate for an industry to not only not be in the game, but not really even in the stands watching the game, is loopy.

2 – Work on some standards that matter, and here’s the biggest one – a common product and pricing language. If I review five RFP submissions for a client (and I do that A LOT), I get five significantly different submissions trying to say the same thing. I have been doing this forever, and I often can’t figure out how to get apples to apples comparisons together. How’s an end-user supposed to decode that stuff? It’s shouldn’t be SOOOO hard to figure out upfront and ongoing costs on a project, but it is. If the industry agreed on standard ways of describing services and licenses, that would really, really,really help clear the fog for buyers.

Do those things, and the DSA starts being meaningful.

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