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220: CW Technologies Owners Shares Unique Origin Story

Written by Rob Stott

June 11, 2024

Carlos Warlick, owner of CW Technologies in Southern California, has one of the craziest AV industry origin stories out there. After getting his start by doing intern-like work at a big music studio, he found himself pimpin’ rides well before Xhibit was doing his thing on MTV. That parlayed into a successful and growing custom integration business that he runs today.


 

Rob Stott: All right, we are back on the Independent Thinking Podcast, coming live from Austin, Texas in the Oasis Summit. Mr. Carlos Warlick, CW Technologies?

Carlos Warlick: Yes, that’s correct.

Rob Stott: In Los Angeles, California, Southern Cal. How’s it going, being here at this summit, man?

Carlos Warlick: Pretty good. Doing pretty good.

Rob Stott: I appreciate you joining us.

Carlos Warlick: It’s been a great experience. We’re newer to the Oasis Group, but we’re happy-

Rob Stott: Yeah. When did you guys join?

Carlos Warlick: We joined around January, at the top of the year.

Rob Stott: Awesome. What made you sign the dotted line? What convinced you?

Carlos Warlick: We had been looking at stuff and really just trying to grow and meet. I mean, I think I’ve always done a good job of networking with a lot of people in all the different shows. I was at CEDIA and I was in Barcelona at ISC earlier in the year and I’ve met a lot of great friends through business that are spread out through wherever and it’s just such a powerful thing to network and be able to pick up the phone and call somebody and say, “Hey, have you seen this problem or have you done that?” Or share intel.

Rob Stott: New to the group experience, to buyers?

Carlos Warlick: Yeah, so it was new to the group experience. So, the group experience, we were drawn to it because of a couple of vendors too, that we saw that we were already working with like IC Realtime or Sonance and different stuff. And we just wanted to expand and ultimately help our bottom line too with that.

Rob Stott: For sure. Why Oasis?

Carlos Warlick: It was just, I think… Well, one of it was our rep, Jason Magic.

Rob Stott: Good dude. I’ll vouch him.

Carlos Warlick: He’s a good sales guy. He just twisted our arm and just said, “You better join the group, or else.”

Rob Stott: Got it. Got it.

Carlos Warlick: “Don’t go anywhere else.” No, but we looked at Oasis as being, we’re a smaller company and it just kind of seemed, there’s a couple other groups out there obviously, and some of them deal… What my perspective was, was a lot of those deal with companies that were a lot larger. So, we kind of wanted to be with like-minded, and I know Oasis has always kind of branded themselves as we want to help a lot of people grow their business and do that. So, it was just kind of a combination of things.

Rob Stott: Tell me about CW and… I have to, Chris Warlick, is that right? Is that where the CW-

Carlos Warlick: Yeah. Carlos.

Rob Stott: You are very inventive and creative, my man.

Carlos Warlick: You know what? I had a company, and I actually didn’t want to name it that, but I had a company before. I’ve had basically, this is my third decade of working and as we mentioned before we started, I started my career in recording and in the music industry. I was a recording engineer and made a lot of records and did a lot of stuff and that industry kind of changed financially. So, I got into actually the twelve-volt world of cars and I had a lot of music producers that I worked with who I knew could help me, not help financially start my business, but could be my clients. Some big guys in the hip-hop world so I could get their cars in and we were getting custom orders and stuff.

Rob Stott: You were pimping their rides before it was-

Carlos Warlick: Yeah. So, we were doing that and we were doing cars, but we always specialized in higher-end because I had that background in recording.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome.

Carlos Warlick: So, I did that and that company, originally it was called Sound Master and then it eventually turned into CW Motorsports because we got into more motor sports and doing more stuff like you said, pimping the cars. And then when I started seeing, after about eight or nine years, I started seeing that business slow down because people, they stopped spending as much money on their cars, but I was always going to houses.

I would drop off their stuff and I’m like, “What’s this big rack?” They got Trinnov and all this stuff and a lot of stuff that we would see in the pro world. So, I had this idea to take on a change. So, it was an easy transition because of the corporation I had to kind of do an overnight, CW Motorsport, CW Technologies. Kind of like we’ve talked about at the show about not having audio video in your name, because we’re doing more stuff with lighting and different stuff.

Rob Stott: Yeah, absolutely.

Carlos Warlick: So, I really wanted to come up with a whole new name, but I didn’t want it seem like I changed my name because I’m hiding from people that are doing this. So it just, even with my bank and everything, everything just kind of was like, “Oh, CW Technologies.”

Rob Stott: Easy enough.

Carlos Warlick: It didn’t skip a beat, so that’s how it came about.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. I love that background story too because it does speak to everything we’ve heard at this show from not the Oasis team, but the Jason Sayens and Matt Bernaths and our keynoter, Mr. Tim Costello today. Talking about the-

Carlos Warlick: Predictive future.

Rob Stott: Right. And kind seeing the Gretzky quote, seeing where the puck’s going and knowing that you have to evolve as a business so you’re not afraid to step out of what you were doing and what you were comfortable with. And that, great example of it, man.

Carlos Warlick: And that was it. And like I said, my first 10 years working, I started right after high school, I got lucky and I got a job at a really good studio, started just picking up coffee and doing stuff, but it was for the top music producers in the world and that ended up landing me a job. By the time I was 22 or 23, I was working with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre and all these guys were making all these records and it all transitioned and business wasn’t really my focus. My focus was always having fun and looking at the art of doing the stuff.

Rob Stott: That’s incredible.

Carlos Warlick: But because of that, because of the change in the industries, I went to the cars which eventually led me to the homes, which has… I don’t feel like I could have started a different way with the approach that I have now with doing stuff. We try to do stuff on the kind of-

Rob Stott: Knowing that you clearly see where that puck is going, where do you envision this industry heading in terms of the technology in the home or do you think you’re going to be doing something else?

Carlos Warlick: Yeah, no, I mean, think it’s going to… I mean, the stuff we’re seeing now with the lighting and the lighting becoming digitally controlled and stuff that electricians are not going to want to deal with. With lighting, we’ve already got into doing the networks that we do or enterprise level networks that are better than… The networks that we put in personally in houses are better than what most small businesses have that are doing it because a lot of… So, I don’t know, just go into there.

But I think with the lighting and just taking over, I really believe there’s always going to be a market for, the luxury homeowner is always… I get the thing all the time where people say, “Oh, you could just buy this from Amazon or do this or Google or Amazon.” But I’m like, these people always, the luxury market always are going to want stuff done, whatever it is.

Rob Stott: Yeah, there’s the convenience, the everyday consumer, the convenience factor of that Amazon. Not only do they want convenience at that the luxury end, it’s that, it needs to work. And it needs-

Carlos Warlick: It needs to work. And the houses we do, they have somebody that not only washes their cars, that walks their dog, that does this, they’re also busy being successful in what they do. So, it’s like you have a housekeeper and a nanny and a window washer and the dog walker comes. It’s a whole schedule. So, they’re always going to want that, so that’s kind of where I’ve tried to focus, to specialize.

Rob Stott: It’s awesome. Let’s focus on today. What’s working well right now for CW Technologies and what you guys are doing?

Carlos Warlick: I mean, I think what we’re doing is really solving the problem. I like to say we’re problem solvers. We like to say, “Oh, we do home automation or we do this,” but we have to kind of look at the customer and see what they need. Not everybody wants and also needs movie theater, but then some guys do in the screening room or whether it’s a basic TV, we try to solve… Still stay at the high end but solve issues of somebody wants a $5,000 65-inch TV and the same guy that can buy a hundred of those only needs a $1,500 one, which is still a nice Sony TV. So, I think just kind of solving problems for that without just looking at the dollar amount because in the end I think that gives you more longevity and trust with the clients.

Rob Stott: Yeah. Well, so you’ve been here, you mentioned it, January, first Oasis Summit. What’s the early group experience been like for you? What have you been getting out of being a member?

Carlos Warlick: This is the first experience. Besides giving Jason a hard time, it’s been great. I mean, everything’s been great. Hank meeting Hank and Andy and the guys and I think everyone’s been really welcoming. The other members in the group have been great. And as you saw on the floor, a lot of guys kind of hanging out with, I kind of tend to do that wherever I go, but hang out with people like I’ve known them forever.

I think I’m kind of quick at being able to judge people in a positive way and there’s a lot of positive people here. And also, again, I try to also just learn from the guys that have been doing it, focus on just this industry longer and just kind of pick up on what they’re doing and what’s right and just adapt.

Rob Stott: Looking ahead now, what excites you about being a member down the road from now? What are you looking forward to getting out of this group and your experience?

Carlos Warlick: I mean, I think besides picking up more stuff from the guys like Jason and Matt and what they’re helping and doing with companies, but also just streamlining stuff. Because I think being smaller and you can still be smaller but be really effective. Things like dealing with the vendors in the group or say our future ready solutions, they’ve solved a lot of problems for us because dealt with individually AV Pro and everything they sell is really good. But to get everything under one roof from them, and if we need technical support or need to have one of the guys call in, we know that they have that level of support. So, probably streamlining and doing that, which ultimately leads to being more efficient, more lean.

Rob Stott: No, it’s a lot to learn here. A lot to learn. It’s cool to see, you mentioned it, right? Between the action that’s going on out there, the meetings that are happening, so much learning going on with the group, of course on the Oasis side, but watching you guys, the relationships bloom, and-

Carlos Warlick: It’s fun, it’s fun.

Rob Stott: It’s cool as hell, man.

Carlos Warlick: It’s really fun. And like I said, at every tech summit I’m always at CEDIA and now ISE. And seeing all that, it is just great and it is great meeting the people from the actual manufacturers and the vendors because that’s the power in it, which helps us with our clients. When there is an issue, because there always will be an issue of some sort, to be able to know that I can call this guy or I have this inside and I can expedite this or stuff can happen. So, it’s kind of a two-way street. We support them and they support us.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome. Well, hey, we appreciate it. I know I’ve taken up more of your time than I said I was going to.

Carlos Warlick: That’s fine.

Rob Stott: But we want you to get back out there and have a good rest of the show, but we appreciate it, man. Great chatting with you, Carlos.

Carlos Warlick: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Rob Stott: Look forward to catching up down the road.

Carlos Warlick: Yes, likewise.

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