Riddle me this: How long does ‘The TASER Experience’ last? If you answered “five seconds” — or “as long as I say it does” or some other such duration of time — you’d be wrong.
The answer is that the TASER Experience is not about time, it’s about totality. It’s about completeness. It’s about ubergeek terms like “end-to-end solution” and “disruptive innovation” and “entire ecosystem.”
It’s about something so simple, yet simultaneously so complex, that in order to fully wrap your head around it, you sort of have to forget everything you think you already know when you hear the word — uh, acronym — TASER.
Is TASER's Rick Smith the Steve Jobs of police technology?
By Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Scottsdale (Ariz.) headquarters of TASER International in order to spend time with some of the company’s executives, tour the facility, and check out their newest technologies.
During the visit, I was struck with an observation about which I felt compelled to write — specifically, that a strong argument can be made that company co-founder and CEO Rick Smith may very well be the Steve Jobs of law enforcement technology.
It’s cliché to compare some corporate executive to the founder and driving force behind Apple, but if you will indulge my inner geek, you might understand why I make such a bold statement.
The Words of Obi Wan
A few months ago I had the tremendous opportunity to spend some time at the headquarters for TASER International in Scottsdale (Ariz.). You can read here about one of my other observations from that visit, but let’s talk a little about this thing they call “The TASER Experience.”
Upon entering the TASER HQ building, one is immediately impressed by the science-fiction feel of the place.
The eye-scanner security mechanism and the sliding-door sally-port foyer are ripped from Men in Black.
The catwalk from the work area on the second floor to the big conference room is clearly an homage to Star Wars.
Sitting in a conference room an hour after my facility tour, someone was explaining the TASER Experience and I was immediately reminded of the words of Obi Wan Kenobi:
“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
The TASER Experience comprises the entire TASER universe — employees, customers, infrastructure, products, support, research and development, the training cadre, visionary medical research, and myriad other “things.”
The clearest manifestation of the TASER Experience — to me, at least — is the universally-shared mindset of partnership to law enforcement evident in every single person at the company.
“Law enforcement agencies need more than just an outstanding product, so we like to talk about the TASER Experience,” explained Jeff Kukowski, Chief Marketing Officer of TASER International, in the video below.
“This is really a partnership that gets to know and understand from a law enforcement perspective, what solutions we should be developing, how we can continue to improve. When we introduce capabilities in the field, many times law enforcement officers have lots of great ideas on how to improve it. So, improving it and having the capability as a company to improve on an ongoing basis all of our solutions, is part of the TASER Experience,” Kukowski said.
In lieu of transcribing Kukowski’s interview with my good friend and PoliceOne colleague Dave Smith, check it out and pick up the final words of this column below.
The Imagination Statement
Somewhere in your PD there is almost certainly a brass plaque on which the department’s vision and/or mission is etched (if there isn’t, there should be). Without exception, there are such ornaments in every corporate office I’ve ever seen, and they run the gamut from laudable to laughable.
Companies of all kind beat their chests proudly about their “vision” and their “mission” statements.
In many cases that’s totally justified — sometimes, it’s just talk.
During my Scottsdale visit I spoke with a couple dozen employees. I asked no one about the company’s mission statement (to my knowledge, it’s “Protect Life. Protect Truth.” but I could be wrong on that).
Instead, I asked folks about this curious thing they call “The TASER Experience.”
In each case, I got the sense that it means much more to them than a statement — it’s mental, behavioral, physical, and even emotional.
It’s more like “The Force” Obi Wan described.
I freely concede that “The Force” is imagined.
Then again, I would be totally unsurprised to learn that someplace in that building in Scottsdale, there hangs an Imagination Statement.
If there isn’t, maybe there should be.
About the author
Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 750 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.
Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.