Who is AEAC, An Q and A with Steve and other AEAC Staff

Forums General Discussion Who is AEAC, An Q and A with Steve and other AEAC Staff

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    Willie14228
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    This is actually an continuation of some questions that I had started with Steve on another topic, But felt that continuing the questions would be hijacking the original thread and so took it on myself to move it to a dedicated thread to allow it the attention it deserved without taking away from the original. Below is copied question I had asked and  Steve’s reply,  The rest will be on this thread.

    Everyone is welcome to join in, but please remember the forum rules about bashing and disrespect. I know that Both Michael and Steve has no issues with a person being blunt and open in asking questions but do so in a respectful manner. The questions started on this thread https://www.airgunnation.com/topic/aeac-reviews-the-kral-puncher-breaker/page/2/  March the 2nd
    I will be honest, with the exception of perhaps seeing a passing review on You Tube I didn’t even know who AEAC was until they joined up with AGN so many of my questions are not leading but honest questions of someone who wants to know.

    Thanks again  

    ME
    Steve, if I may I would like to act the devils avacate please take no offense. I do not know you and wouldn’t presume to start making slights on a person’s carector that I haven’t even meet before.
    Perhaps by you answering these questions it will help settle questions about the process that you folks go through to get to even do these reviews on the products.

    1. What is the process? That is to say does the manufacturer call you guys and say hey we want you to check this gun out, or do you guys call them, are you paid to perform the reviews or how do you make money (hey your a business it’s expected to make money)
    2. Is it possible that you guys get a cherry picked product? I’m not even suggesting that you are doing anything wrong. As said I’ve worked in production lines and Q.C, when we had a show or demo models we would baby the demos all the way through the line and make sure we put the best foot forward.
    3. Nobody’s perfect therefore no production line is perfect, what happens when you do get a product that doesn’t perform up to expectations. Obviously if you went online and started telling people this or that product isn’t up to par even if done nicely isn’t going to go over well

    Thanks again for a your work and reviews and thank you for helping make AGN even better than before.

    Steve, AEAC
    Hi Willie,

    Thanks for the questions… nobody’s had the courage to ask before so I appreciate the opportunity to share.

    1)  I can’t say exactly what the process is for the others (Rick, Ted, Giles, Matt) but what I can tell ya, is that I’ve spent time with all 4 and each cares very much about advancing the airgun industry, as well is having your absolute trust.  None of the reviewers I know are willing forgo their integrity just for the opportunity to review an airgun and have it look good to you guys.  In regards to picking product, the groups in my circle (Airguns of Arizona, Airgun Depot, Pyramyd Air, Crosman Corp, Rapid Air Weapons, Hatsan USA) all like to include me in the decision of what gets reviewed & when.  They’ll usually make a recommendation and we go from there.  I am paid, thank goodness.  In April of this year I did a career 180, went full time with AEAC, and it’s now how I earn my living.  Leaving a six figure income behind, I’ll freely admit… it’s been challenging.  To those who would say this makes my message untrustworthy, I would encourage them to try an understand that a review outlet begins and ends with a high level of trust.  Without an absolute credibility between us & our followers, we’ve nothing, and our sponsors know that.  As a result, the clear message AEAC’s partners have always conveyed is very simply, “be honest.”  I think in Zebra’s defense, my optimistic nature can come across as flakiness, cultivating prudence.  To him, I would say; watch more of my vids :-).  I’ve bruised plenty of vendor/manufacturer egos by being truthful, lol.  As for the revenue streams that make it work, there are several.  YouTube pays for the monetization of my vids, sponsors like JSB, Predator, H&N, Splatterburst all advertise with AEAC just as a Chevy/GMC would advertise in the Super Bowl… same concept.  My partnership with Crosman pays a commission every time you guys use my affiliate link & coupon code, and finally I’m paid directly for the 40-50 hours it takes to make each vid.  Add em’ all up and you’ve got an income.

    2)  Absolutely not.  In reality, I would say the opposite is true.  I’m treated with a mild neglect when it comes to the vendors hand selecting product.  Like you guys, every once in a blue moon I get shipped a shotgun and like you guys, I exchange it for another.  We all know that these guns are supposed to be accurate to a certain standard and when we receive a total dud, it goes back.  That’s what warranty is for and I use it just like you guys do.  Even though it’s frustrating at times, I kind of like it this way.  What I get is what you get and I feel this makes for a better review.  As for shooting laser beam groups, the vendors actually like it when I shoot them a bit loose.  The average consumer can’t always replicate what I put up and when they can’t, it creates problems for seller… so truth be told, not only do I refrain from shooting do-overs for you guys on YouTube, but I actually shoot them a tad loose in most situations.

    3)  It depends.  In my experience, ALL airguns perform when they’ve been manufactured properly, the barrels are kept clean, and the right pellet is used.  You should check out my blog over at AOA… I write about this sort of thing all the time.  Like you guys, I know the airgun industry.  I live on the forums reading.  I’m always watching YouTube.  I know what sucks and what’s good.  For me, it’s simple… I steer clear of the garbage and will only review what I feel will be of value to you guys.  There have been times where I’ve turned down product on account of this.  To answer your question very directly though… if I get a bum gun and know it’s not supposed to be this way, I simply return it for repair or exchange it.  I too come from a manufacturing background and know full well that airguns are made by people and like people, are far from perfect.  I’m not doing the general public a service if I showcase the less than one tenth of a percent that act up on account of human error.  It seems to make more sense to share the experience that 99.9% are going to receive with said product.  And if things go really bad, I’m honest about it and move on… there’s an example out there that there’s no need for me to re-publicize. 

    Hope this helps.
    Steve

     

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    Willie14228
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    You touched on something that I think needs to be brought up to the forefront.
    I mean you guys are envied by every one on this forum… you get to go out and get paid to play with all these neat toys…….
    In essence AEAC is a verble Airgun magazine and while I am sure it’s great to be able to work in a field that you injoy it’s work and from the sound of it A LOT of work
    Anyone who has been in air guns very long knows it has a break in period, so to be fair to the gun I’m sure you have to at least try to get it settled down. Then sighting in, planning a script, deciding on secondary advertising i.e scopes, mounts, bipod, and the like
    So let’s take this review as an good example you mentioned the 40 50 hours making the video, what other time and labor was put into it?
    Considering we only see a 15, 20 minute edited version
    ( Makes me feel a lot better about all my flops in trying to do some of my own reviews, My wife And inslaved cameraman hates it when I decide to give it a go and I usually get an evil eye for the next couple of weeks.)

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    mobilemail
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    It appears that you do AEAC full time now? If you don’t mind my asking, what did you do before this? You seem to be pretty comfortable with the presentation skills needed to pull off good videos- scripting, overdubs to kill dead air etc.
    And… What kind of shooting do you do on your “fun day”; and how has the exposure to so many products affected your airgun hobby personally?

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    It is a tremendous amount of work.. at least for me.  I track my hours & my normal work week is 12-15 real work hours a day by 6-7 days a week.  I’m always working towards the growth & reach of AEAC.  It’s also very expensive.  Audio/visual gear, computer hardware, software, and support materials have exceeded $20,000.  My normal work day is comprised of sales, marketing, accounting, forecasting, banking, shipping, blogging, planning, answering questions on the forums & my channel, maintaining Facebook, researching product, researching audio/visual gear, learning audio/visual gear, maintaining gear, and yes… reviewing the airgun too.Like you guys, I work very hard to get these guns performing… then I bring them to camera.  There’s a civic responsibility in doing so. 

    When the gun ships I research it on the forums to become familiar with it’s tendencies & preferences, and occasionally I’ll check it out on YouTube too.  I like to wrap my mind around the trends of what you guys think of it as well as your experiences with it.  When it arrives, I thoroughly clean it & scope it, as well as read the owners manual cover to cover.  Then, I get to work breaking it in and looking for the right pellet.  If you follow AEAC on Facebook, you’ll know full well that I put 25-30 different types of pellet through most every gun that comes my way for review… recleaning & rechecking crony numbers every 100 shots or so.  This process normally takes me 1-2 full days and when done, not only am I familiar with how to handle the gun into performing at its best, but I’ve culled the pellets that will make it shine too.  Once the gun’s valve sets in (400-500 shots later) I make the shot charts.  This entails 3-4 hours of setup, shooting, logging, and finally converting in Excel Spreadsheets.  Once I’ve got the gun right & the shot charts done up, I begin preparing for video day.  Recleaning the barrel, charging batteries, cleaning lenses, organizing gear, searching for the right music score, and packing up the truck normally takes up an evening after dinner until bedtime. 

    The following day I’m up early for my 45 minute commute out into the country.  I usually make it out there by 10am and usually leave around 3-4pm… sometimes there’s 2 days of this and sometimes, when I shoot ballistic gel scenes (as you’ll see in the Bushbuck45 vid this weekend)  I’m up at 0530 to be there before 8am.  You need a very low morning sun to get those shots to come out right.  If I do need gel for video, I’ll spend a few hours making it the day before too.  The Bushbuck needed 44 lbs (16 liters) of it so I was all evening cooking it up.The video; there’s no scripting or reading… at least for me.  I learn the gun, get familiar, then speak from the heart.  Once done, I’ll spend 2-3 hours to transferring & organizing all the data from the 4 camera’s SD cards (sometimes 8 cameras) to the computer.  Video editing for me as of late takes me 35-ish seat hours.  Add a minute long fanciful intro to music and 35 hours becomes 50.  The 2016 Extreme Benchrest vid had me in the chair for over 70 hours, not to include the 7 days of prep & filming and the full day of transferring footage.  The SHOT Show vids only took 5-6 chair hours each but also took a week of planning, travel, & filming… and of course the repeating intro took a day to make but you get the idea.  Making movies can take up a lot of your time.I hope this helps shed some light and answers your question of “what other time & labor was put into it.” 

    Yes, I’m doing what I love for an audience I love.  No, it’s not for the money.

    Best,
    Steve

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    Haha, they’re all “fun days.”  Honestly.  I absolutely love what I do.

    By trade I’m a COP.  Law Enforcement was my first job out of college and I did it for about 4 years.  Then I got into business.  I had a 5 year career with Enterprise Rent a Car where I worked my way through all the training and eventually made manager, where they gave me my own store.  After a time, I made my way into the RV Industry.  I started out in retail sales, then became a product trainer, then a sales trainer of new hires, and in the end was promoted out of a floor of 180 to sales manager & later GM.  They gave me a division & a team of 39 and at that juncture, I began wearing all sorts of hats… sales training, team building, product training, inventory management, marketing, customer service, etc..  A couple of years later, I took a management job on the manufacturing side of the RV industry where I was over a brand of RV’s for the 20 states on the eastern side of the country.  I did that until March of 2016 when my position was eliminated in the merger of Redwood RV under Keystone RV.  This merger was a blessing really because it gave me a chance to get out without damaging any relationships.  It was then that I made the decision to pursue the advancing of the airgun industry full time.

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    Personally, it hasn’t effected me at all other than my wife wishes I wouldn’t work so much.  I’m truly at it all day, every day.  It’s a lot of work but it doesn’t feel like work.
    The most rewarding bit for me has been to get the know the airgun community.  I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with fans, vendors, manufactures, & other reviewers and it’s been great discovering everyone’s good intentions, solid moral fiber, and rock solid commitment.  We’re truly surrounded by an extremely professional and very intertwined bunch who for the most part share a true north.

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    X27
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    How many air guns do you personally own and what are they?
    #TieBreaker

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    X27
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    Tomorrow I have volunteered to speak at a sportsman’s dinner about hunting with airguns. I am no stranger to public speaking but I have never talked extensively about Airguns and airgun hunting before. Any talking points that you or any one else would recommend would be greatly appreciated. I have to fill an hour.

    My points so far include:
    Benefits of having an air rifle – Back yard shooting
    Differences between shooting an air fire vs. a Firearm
    Different types and Styles of air guns and price ranges
    cost benefits – Pellets vs bullets
    Pellet selection
    Diffrent calibers and effective ranges
    essental gear
    scope choices
    Ability to add a Suppressor
    Ability to tune a air gun for power of shot count

    If you have any thoughts on what I have listed or any suggestions to add or change Please feel free I would greatly appreacieat it.

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    Willie14228
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    X27 beat me to it LOL
    How about Steve (to steal a phrase) “what’s in your wallet” or Airgun Safe

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    Smaug
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    “AEAC”… For me, it’s simple… I steer clear of the garbage and will only review what I feel will be of value to you guys.  There have been times where I’ve turned down product on account of this. …
    Steve
     

    
Respectfully, Steve, I think this is a mistake, and that it hurts your credibility. If you only review what you believe to be good products, then you will have a channel full of “feel-good” videos. No doubt your instinct would be right most of the time, but it is also a bit narrow minded to pass summary judgment. Maybe a product with a terrible reputation would surprise you when they fixed some historical problems with it? Or maybe there were some hidden positive aspects that you would never discover. 

    Since it takes so much time to put up a nicely researched and edited review, maybe the way to handle it is if a product starts to seem bad, you would just not spend so much time on it. It would be a more basic video.

    Try not to sugar coat something if it’s not up to expectation. 

    Lastly, a more negative reivew (or at least not positive!) now and then would really help your credibility. 

     

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    cahil_2
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    Steve, what guns do you own and do you hunt or find time to shoot for fun.  Personally love your videos and look forward to them and you should be paid well for what you do because you do a great job, and service for us Airgun nuts.

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    AEAC
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    haha, lol nice try

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    AEAC
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    “X27”How many air guns do you personally own and what are they?
    #TieBreaker

    
haha, nice try lol

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    AEAC
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    “Willie14228”X27 beat me to it LOL
    How about Steve (to steal a phrase) “what’s in your wallet” or Airgun Safe

    
ooo i like that… “what’s in your closet?”

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    AEAC
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    Yeah, I feel ya Smaug.  I just struggle to see that value in spending time on a gun that’s not ready yet.  I don’t pass any permanent judgement but I’m not going to commit precious hours to reviewing something that hasn’t been properly developed yet.  Once it has, I’m all about it.  Until then, there’s WAY to much other product to spend my time on.  Remember, there’s only so many months in a year buddy and already, I’ve more great things to cover for you guys than there is available time. 

    Lastly, I’ve made piece with the fact that I’ll never be everything to everyone.  AEAC is a volunteer army and if it’s not a good fit, there’s lots of other great choices out there.

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    Willie14228
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    I’ve learned the hard way … behind every successful venture is a good team,.,.,.,.,.,
    Who is your team we would like to meet them

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    Tonyl
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    Hi Steve,

    As someone new to airguns who has been  bitten by the bug your videos are very educational in so many ways.
    Not so much for specific gun reviews but just the nuaunies of the hobby. Things like eye relief and rest position or finding the perfect pellet for that specific gun.  Presently I am in search of my first 
    Entry level PCP so now I am beginning to actually pay more attention to the guns.

    Keep up the great work, 
    Tony

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    Smaug
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    “Willie14228”I’ve learned the hard way … behind every successful venture is a good team,.,.,.,.,.,
    Who is your team we would like to meet them

    
Sounds to me like his team is his wife, who does all the housework while he’s spending 12-15 hours a day on airguns.A lot of successful people have an invisible ally in their spouse, and without that spouse doing what s/he does in the background, the high-profile guy couldn’t do what he does.

    I don’t know if you have kids, Steve, but if you do, do NOT neglect them for more work.They grow up so fast, and they’ll remember that you didn’t spend time with them.

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    AEAC
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    Willie, I’m a one man band.  My wife Katya used to like to watch the critique the vids before I released them but she hasn’t in about 6 months.  Here are my partners that help make it happen;

    Airguns of Arizona
    Airgun Depot
    Daystate, Brocock, MTC
    Crosman Corporation
    Pyramid Air
    Rapid Air Weapons
    Hatsan USA
    Splatterburst Targets
    JSB/Predator International Pellets
    H&N Pellets
    Aero Magnum Big Bore Ammunition
    Eagle Vision Cam
     

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    Katya is also a workaholic and has a high level position at Pricewaterhousecoopers… yes all one word (PWC).  We share chores and it’s not uncommon for us to get them done between 11pm and 1am.  I vacuum, she mops.  I clean the toilets, she does the showers.  She cooks, I do the dishes.  She buys the groceries, I mow the lawn… etc.  We make it work.  No kids yet.  We’re still trying.  In our down time, we make sure to spend quality time with close friends & family every month.  We both make it habit to exercise, and enjoy shopping, movies and eating out.  Katya’s hobby is reading & decorating the house.. mine is playing ice hockey & gardening.

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