“In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.”

That is one of the many “Yogi-isms” attributed to the great New York Yankees catcher and philosopher Yogi Berra. And it’s what rAVe Publications blogger Dr. Frederick Ampel calls “Berra’s Law” of technology.

In his article of the ssame name, Ampel outlines how this saying came to be an unwritten law of AV and IT.

“We have focused on ever more complex ways of getting to an answer, creating a proposal and modeling a design, but the real question, lurking just out of sight, is do we actually know with any higher degree of certainty that all that ‘stuff’ is producing better results?”

In the foreword to “The Yogi book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said,” former ballplayer and broadcaster Joe Garagiola said, “Fans have labeled Yogi Berra ‘Mr. Malaprop,’ but I don’t think that’s accurate. He doesn’t use the wrong words. He just puts words together in ways nobody else would ever do.”

That’s the secret behind the universality of Yogi’s wisdom. It’s wrapped in deceptively plain, but individual language, allowing his so-called “Yogi-isms” to fit many situations.

Here are a few other Yogi quotes that fit into the “Berra’s Law” category for AV, and why we think they are important:

“Little things are big.”
Your product may look great or be a unique solution, but seemingly small things can quickly derail a new product. Things like designing a simple user interface, determining the room characteristics before choosing a screen type, or testing and inspecting each product may seem small, but they can have a large impact on the end user experience.

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”
Every AV manufacturer has had products returned due to field failure, found things that needed improving once a design has hit the market, or failed to satisfy a customer in some way. It’s important to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. Repeated mistakes are the wrong mistakes.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
The AV road has been and always will be full of forks. Be bold. Draper continues to be a strong advocate for two-piece projection and continues to develop new solutions for various applications. But when the opportunity arose to expand our custom design and manufacturing capability into support for LED and LCD walls and displays, there was no hesitation. And that decision has led us in an even more positive direction than we hoped.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”
Part of being bold and ready to take that fork in the road is planning ahead. AV technology and market needs can change quickly, but by always looking ahead the best manufacturers not only adapt, they become the change.

“If you ask me a question I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.”
The old way of “doing” AV was to take a customer’s question and turn it toward the answer any certain manufacturer or integrator already had. That doesn’t work anymore—not that it was ever a good option. The goal is to provide the best audiovisual experience possible, whatever the conditions. So, it’s important to listen to the customer and honestly assess what will best provide that experience.

“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
It never was. Terms like “future-proof” are popular in AV. But when we say things like that, we’re saying we already know what’s going to happen in the future. And in AV that’s just not possible. We prefer to use the term “future-ready” in developing AV solutions. We are planning ahead, but ready for new ways of thinking.

Two decades ago I had the pleasure of meeting Yogi Berra when I interviewed him for a magazine article. He was warm and friendly, and interviewing him was like talking to a good friend or older relative. Back then I was just listening to him talk about baseball. I didn’t realize how far-reaching his quippy little sayings were and how they could have meaning in a world like the AV industry.

But you live and learn.

I guess Yogi was right. “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

You can read Ampel’s complete post here.