Meet the HARMAN Luxury Audio Team
Name: Dean Little
Position/Job Title: Technical Training Manager (EMEA) – Luxury Audio
With HARMAN Since 2021
With Meet The HARMAN Luxury Team, our goal is for you to get to know us better. In each edition we feature a different member of the team, and this month it’s Dean Little, Technical Training Manager (EMEA) – Luxury Audio.
How would you describe what you do in your current role?
As Technical Training Manager, my role is multi-faceted. I work closely with the product managers and other training teams in the various regions to understand our latest products and technologies and how we can best convey the great products we have and how they work to our customer base. It’s all about allowing our team to better understand how to sell and bring our products to life. This can sometimes include taking a technical product or feature and breaking it down so that it is simple enough for all to understand whilst still being able to dig deeper for the more technical audience. Then, in liaison with our sales and account managers, I look at how we can best roll this information and training out across our many touch points such as distribution and retail. This may include written content and modules, videos, Webex sessions or live face-to-face sessions.
I also will be on hand at key shows and events to set up and demonstrate our products as well as be able to excite the audience as to why our products are the best.
What did you study in school? Did you always imagine yourself doing something like what you’re doing now, or did the fates just take you in that direction?
I always enjoyed math and physics in school. In a strange way, my career has brought me back around almost to a path that I considered when I was at school and choosing a potential career and studying options. I clearly remember sitting in a classroom discussing with my teacher what I wanted to do after I left school, and because I had already started DJ’ing at that time, I concluded that I wanted to be an audio engineer and that that would be my future. We discussed the best subjects that would help me achieve this, such as physics. I also remember using a presentation session within a music lesson to “educate” my fellow classmates about the intricacies of a remix and how they did it (although in hindsight I maybe shouldn’t have played the whole of the seven minute remix version to them).
All of this changed, though, when I was offered a part-time Saturday job in a local electrical retailer, and my path was changed.
How did your career path lead you to HARMAN?
As I mentioned, I was looking for a part-time job whilst I was at school and was offered a role within a local electrical retailer dealing in TV, audio and appliances, and I found that the world of technology excited me massively. After a number of years and some promotions, I moved to a larger retailer where I found myself becoming manager of their hi-fi department. This was great for me as it tied in with my hobby of DJ’ing and allowed me to understand how different a track could sound on better amplifiers and speakers and the difference in using improved connections and placement, etc. My career path was about to change again when I was attending a training course for a well known manufacturer. The course was very underwhelming, and the presenter just read from the slides, leaving me to feel that I could do this better, so I pursued a path in training within the electronics industry. I eventually joined the newly established training team at LG looking after TV and Audio. After a few years I was promoted to National Training Manager across TV, AV and Home Appliances (trying to make a washing machine sound exciting was an interesting challenge). Here I had the honor of being asked to develop the global content and training for the launches of innovative products such as OLED TV, 3DTV, 4K and 8K, as well as LG’s entries into multi-room audio and soundbars.
During that time, I also got the pleasure to spend a week working with a certain Mr. Mark Levinson, who had worked on some of our audio products, and his passion for the product and for audio shone through even on a sub £200 unit. After 15 years at LG, I decided that I needed a new challenge, but only if the challenge was still with a company that created innovative, market leading and amazing products. And so here I am at HARMAN.
What is the most important thing you have learned over your career?
Never stop challenging yourself. Whether this is achieving something that is not easy, creating a new direction or just striving to get to the next level, a challenge will give you focus and also a sense of achievement when you reach that goal and set the next one. Nobody is ever at the complete top of their game where they cannot challenge themselves!
Any other advice you would offer people just starting out in this industry?
Have a passion for the product and for audio.
If you truly enjoy these things, everything that you do and say from there will be more natural. A product will not just become a model number, SKU or box — it will become a key to a wider world and then you will talk about it and do your role in a new, enjoyable way.
What are you most proud of in your life?
From a professional aspect there a number of great highlights. These include being asked to be part of the global team that launched OLED TV to the world over 10 years ago and being awarded the Global Best Practice Gold Award in 2020, which was the first time the UK had won this award. However, being a father of three young children outweighs all of these. Seeing them grow into caring and thoughtful children is an amazing feeling and when they get a good exam result at school, score a goal in their football match or just do a great drawing in their drawing pad, I feel proudest and happiest.
When did you first realize you had a passion for music or audio? Was there any one song, band or movie that did it for you?
I was always a music fan and would annoy my parents by taking over their “record player” on the weekends to play my favorite music (although I can now understand how annoying Donald Duck’s Disco Album must have been).
I eventually got a twin cassette recorder and then my world opened up. I spent most Sunday evenings recording the chart countdown from the radio and then copying the cassette across by pausing to take out the DJ’s announcements. This was the time of Madonna and Wham, but soul music from artists such as Alexander O’Neal, George Benson and Luther Vandross as well as a new genre at the time called house music were where I really got into music. From here I started DJ’ing with my older brother and was over the moon when my parents gave me a twin deck DJ console with speakers for Christmas (not JBL unfortunately). Now I wasn’t taking over their turntable but was instead annoying them AND the neighbors with loud house music from my room. Although I continued to DJ for many years playing different genres of music, it was soul and dance music that kept with me throughout.
What current technology impresses you the most?
I love how technology keeps evolving and how things that seemed only “Star Trek” a little while ago are now everyday things. I think the whole switch to smart homes is still at an early stage and that it will develop so much more over the next few years across all areas of our life. A former colleague of mine is working in the hologram industry and seeing some of the things that they are now able to do with holograms is simply mind-blowing.
What’s your favorite music genre?
I am a fan of 80’s soul (e.g. Jam & Lewis and LA & Babyface ) and also all types of dance and house music.
The desert island question, of course. If you were marooned for eternity and could listen to only three albums, what would they be?
My answers to this change every day but I would currently say:
Hearsay – Alexander O’Neal
A Different Day – DJ Icey
Of Birds, Bees, and Butterflies – Late Night Alumni
You have the floor. In closing, tell us anything else you want us to know about yourself.
I am a football fan and support Chelsea FC (before they had lots money to buy players).
I have been at HARMAN for only a short time but I am loving digging deep and understanding these amazing products that we design, create and sell.