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XLIVE Interview Series

Richard Steinau, Senior Vice President of WorldStage - XLIVE Interview Series

Watch XLIVE’s interview with Richard Steinau, Senior Vice President of WorldStage, from the XLIVE Annual Conference & Expo, December 9-12, 2018 in Las Vegas.

With an extensive R&D focus and unparalleled technical expertise, WorldStage is recognized as both a pioneer and leader in LED video, media servers, projection mapping, audio design and full-service lighting.

[00:03] We’re here with Richard Steinau, with WorldStage, how are you doing today?

[00:06] Living the dream!

[00:17] Let’s talk about WorldStage. You guys are audio, video, lighting, event strategists, all of that. Can you talk about what your company does?

[00:25] Yeah, it’s one of those places where really smart people work, so we take technology that’s out in the industry and find new ways and different ways to make it work. And for this particular industry and the esports side, it’s all about creating something people have never seen before. So we sit down every day and our clients ask us to do something impossible. They want LED to do something that’s never been done before. Projection mapping on moving objects, like a drone in space, just all these things that they come to us and go, “well you can do that, can’t you?” We spend everyday, kind of the “Willy Wonka” of event technology, and come up with new and cool stuff. Eighty percent of it, really boring, simple, 20 percent of it mind blowing stuff

[01:03] Let’s hit that 20 percent. Some of the highlights, the really cool things that you’ve gotten to work on personally. Can you share some of that?

[01:10] So look back at one point in 2012, Tupac was a Hologram, right? I was fortunate enough at that time to be involved with that project and everybody got really excited about it and everybody wanted to be a hologram within 24 hours. Right? You get those experiences that are once in a lifetime, but you also have this opportunity to take technology into a stage, that it’s an event where it’s going to make a difference where we’re teaching people new things or new avenues to help the world. Recently we were asked by a production company to be involved with the Global Climate Change Summit. A massive, massive effort to really change things. So we get to be involved, not just with the technology side, but with people that are transforming the world. So whether it’s esports and some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met who are such great gamers, or conversely people that are changing the world, we get to do backstage and use technology to bring their message to life. So in the end, it’s not just about the gear, it’s about really what are we doing to help messaging, branding, and it’s a lot of fun.

[02:05] I love the “Willy Wonka” analogy, just that, anything is possible. How is that, when people come to you with these crazy ideas, do they let you of work it out for them, or how does that work?

[02:20] Intel is a great example, right? So Intel had CES and it was the first year where you could do something really cool because in the old days, everybody used the same stage and you had a day to move in whatever you wanted. It was very limiting. 2018, they said to the different brands, all right, you can have your own stage, your own venue. So the production company for Intel, came to us and said, “What are the crazy ideas you have?” We said, well, people have always wanted to do interactive LED floors. Let’s try that. And LED walls that go up and down and move, and by the way, other items, 200 foot screens that are projection mapped and moving, all this stuff, and we pitched all these ideas and said, here, take those. And they came back from the meeting with Intel and said, well, good news: they love the idea’s, bad news: we have six weeks to pull it all off. They want everything and it’s one of those moments where you go, man, this is going to be incredibly hard, but it’s going to be epic, and it was one of the greatest events we’ve ever been associated with, and the crew was exhausted by the time it was over, but it was so satisfying to see it come off. And Intel was so ecstatic with the results and our client, the production company, was incredibly successful at the event. So everybody wins!

[03:25] So you guys have a 35 year history. That’s a long time in this industry. So you’ve seen a lot of changes in live events and in this whole space. So could you share a little bit about that?

[03:44] Sure! When we started it was about slide projectors, and projectors that had maybe 5,000 lumens, and they were really simple. Our business started in the garage, right? It’s that story where our owner was just kind of committed to it and he invested in a technology that other people thought he was crazy to do, but we’ve always had this focus on what’s the most innovative thing, how do we bring something new to the market? Like all of us, we’re in a really competitive part of our industry. There’s 2000 companies in the US that do what I do. There’s only three that are our size, and there’s only one, us, that actually is inventing new technologies and going over to China and other places, and working with manufacturers. As an example LED, the install market is huge. So it’s really the preference for the LED companies. The live event, the temporary install side, not as big a business. So in the end where they’re designing to is install, so we send our team over every quarter and we teach the manufacturers about our business, and help them develop products. So in April of next year we’ll bring a brand new product to the US that’s never been here before. 8K LED wall, who knows if anyone needs it, but the fact is we’re helping to perfect and bring new technologies to market. So if you want a small surface with incredible resolution better than your television, I can put that in, and at almost any venue. Or, if you want a massive LED wall for a massive 30,000 person event, we can do that, and everything in between. That’s what makes it fun.

[05:11] So for the people watching, who are your clients, who should be interested right now, and reaching out to you, and learning more about WorldStage?

[05:19] Great question. So, we work for agencies and production companies, right? So they come to us with the great ideas. Every event has technology in it, but it needs that production element, which is not our expertise. So we practice what we call best in class business model. There are companies that try and do it all, under one umbrella, and they’re good at some things and not at others. We’re incredibly good in our space and our production partners and our agencies that come to us, they’re very good at what they do. So we all come together and make it about work. Brands will come to us directly, often, and we’ll kind of figure out what their needs are and then say, you know what, that sounds great. We can do 60 percent, but here’s an agency or production company that really needs to be brought in to do the rest. So we’ve got the best people doing incredible work.

[06:01] And how can your potential clients, and everyone get in touch with you?

[06:06] A couple of things. So you catch me at [email protected], go to our website, worldstage.com. Also at the end of the day, if you want to have some sort of interaction, then you can reach me on my mobile, because we’re that kind of company. Very much that high touch, high feel, 858-229-8829. Solicitors do not apply, please!

[06:29] That is rare. That’s beautiful, that you have that intimate relationship with your clients.

[06:35] Yeah, everything in this industry is about relationships and doing it right and making people look great.

[06:39] You guys are doing it right, so thank you for chatting!

[06:42] My pleasure. Thank you very much.

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