Attention-Getting Language

Multitasking requires more than a new mindset; it needs new words as well

3 min read
illustration of person's eye.
Illustration: Brian Stauffer
You never expect 100 percent of people’s attention. You learn to take 80 percent.

When the cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman were researching personality types in the 1950s, they coined the term hurry sickness to describe the tendency to perform tasks quickly and to get flustered when encountering delays. By 1959 they had refined this to the now-classic term type A personality, a key element of which was a ”harrying sense of time urgency.”

Nowadays, this has a familiar ring to all of us. That’s why some folks say we live in a type A culture, or an accelerated culture. This acceleration has also affected the adjectives we use to describe the world. The rat race is no longer merely fast paced; it’s amphetamine-paced or even meth-paced (meth is short for the stimulant methamphetamine).

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less