MRI Expo Team-building: Grab Rum if Your Ship is Sinking

MRI Expo asks CE pros what would you take with you on the lifeboat if your ship was about to sink 1,500 miles at sea?

MRI Expo Team-building: Grab Rum if Your Ship is Sinking
MRI Expo from PowerHouse Alliance member MRI hosted several hundred integrators in Sturbridge, Mass.

Photos & Slideshow

Jason Knott · October 31, 2017

If you were shipwrecked 1,500 miles out at sea and had only a few minutes to gather necessities for the lifeboat, what would you take? A 2-gallon can of gasoline? A 5-gallon can of water? Shark repellent?  It was a question posed by Jeff Brewer, vice president of sales at Sonance, during his keynote address to the crowd at the MRI Expo in Sturbridge, Mass., last week. 

Brewer's challenge, which was based on an exercise from well-known author Stephen Covey, was designed as a teambuilding exercise as attendees ranked 15 separate possible items to retrieve for the life raft. Then, integrators broke up into table groups, elected team leaders, and came to a consensus at their table based on discussion. Brewer then revealed what experts say are the best items ranked 1 through 15. The groups then cross-checked the variances in their individual rankings with those of the team's, as well as the variance between the team ranking and the expert ranking. 

"The goal of this exercise is to gauge the power of persuasion by any individual at the table and the team leader," says Brewer. "Did you argue passionately for your own ranking or just fall in line with the team? Why or why not?" he asks. Brewer then challenged integrators to not simply fall in line with others when decisions have to be made, but instead to trust their own judgment and argue for it.

The exercise was an eyeopening way to open up the 2017 MRI Expo. The focused event from PowerHouse Alliance member MRI Premium Distribution Services is aimed at helping integrators discover new products, see some demos and network. 

Manufacturers exhibiting included Napco, Dana Innovations, Lutron, Nest, Epson, Da-Lite, Screen Innovations, KEF, Sony, TDG, Metra, Zigen, RTI, IC Realtime, Sanus, Core Brands, Middle Atlantic, NuVo, URC, Vanco, Peerless-AV, Wyrestorm, Yamaha, Samsung, Hikvision, 2GIG and USA Central Station. There were three full theater demos featuring equipment from Epson, Sonos, and Da-Lite; JVC, Da-Lite, Sonance and Yamaha; and Sony, KEF and SI. 

By the way, the top priority in a sinking ship, according to experts, is rescue. The odds of survival after 24 hours at sea are minimal so experts say you should focus on items that will help you be rescued in the first day, not long-term survival.  The items you should take with you on the lifeboat (by rank) are:

  1. Shaving mirror (for signaling passing ships and planes)
  2. 1 case of Army "C" rations (which include matches for lighting a fire)
  3. 2-gallon can of gasoline (to be ignited on the water as a rescue flame/signal)
  4. Maps of the ocean (to be lit on fire as a signal)
  5. Floating cushion (they are fire resistant)
  6. 20 square feet of opaque plastic (to shield you from the sun)
  7. 15 feet of nylon rope (to burn)
  8. Transistor radio (plastic products dark smoke when it burns)
  9. 1 quart of 160-proof rum (to burn)
  10. 5-gallon can of water
  11. 2 boxes of chocolate (burn the boxes)
  12. Sextant (to be used as a weapon against prey if needed)
  13. Shark repellent
  14. Fishing kit
  15. Mosquito netting (you are 1,500 miles out to sea... there are no bugs)

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  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

Business · Sales & Marketing · News · Media · Slideshow · MRI · PowerHouse Alliance · All Topics
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