This month marked the end of an era in Acoustics. Dr. Bruel worked right up to the end, celebrating his 100th birthday with over 100 people and attending the March meeting of the Danish Acoustical Society before passing on April 2nd, 2015. He celebrated his 100th birthday with a style and flair that was his trademark throughout his life. “A Great Acoustician is Quiet” is a short post about my personal experience with Dr. Bruel in 1995.
Dr. Bruel truly changed the world through acoustics by developing products ranging from the first commercially practical measurement microphones to advanced ultrasound machines and photo acoustic gas analyzers. During my early years as an instrumentation engineer working at a consulting company, I remember taking apart one of those gas analyzers. Coming from an electrical engineering background, I didn’t know anything about Bruel and Kjaer, but immediately realized that it was a work of art inside with beautifully designed circuit boards, pumps, tubing, and mechanical components. My first thought was either these people are geniuses or they are completely crazy. When I joined Bruel and Kjaer a couple years later, I found out they were a bit of both. One thing I learned during my 15+ years at Bruel and Kjaer was that change through evolution can be more powerful than so-called “market disruptors” which attempt to be more of a revolutionary change. Another company that changed the world was Lockheed Martin and the post, “Learning to Run a Company in One Afternoon,” provides a glimpse into the management philosophy behind the Skunkworks division that created breakthroughs such as the U-2 surveillance aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the stealth bomber.
Of course, today Apple is the primary example of evolutionary change. The post “The Changing World: Part 3 – Walking the Razor’s Edge of Change” uses the Apple Watch as an example of walking the razor’s edge of change. The watch is a major risk, but surprisingly many people in the high tech world see Apple as lagging behind the cutting edge of technology. Android phones have had NFC payments (Apple Pay) and the equivalent of the Apple Watch for years. However, these products have not gained popular acceptance. Google has even tried the revolutionary approach with Google Glass and the backlash was severe. People wearing Google Glass began to be called Glass-holes. An upcoming post will explore how it is possible for “the cutting edge” can be such a relative concept.
Other topics this month included DEWESoft’s excellent free training resource called “PRO Training,” the surprisingly popular “Creativity, John Cleese, and Taylor Swift,” and the hopefully humorous “Wardley’s Scale of Corporate Desperation.” If you are hearing “culture eats strategy for breakfast” around the office, you might want to polish your resume. Finally, as monthly recap bonus, National Instruments is in the middle of a webinar series on “Sensor Measurement Fundamentals.” Some of them sound like a marketing person reading from a script, but if you can live with that, the material itself is excellent.
As always, feel free to send ideas on topics of interest. Research interests, niche technology sales and marketing problems, training, and social media questions are all welcome suggestions for future posts.