At the beginning, there was an organization chart. The speaker assumed that we would all share his enthusiasm for this chart--perhaps because his own name was at the top. The rest of the talk flowed seamlessly from the organizational structure we had been shown. The project being reviewed was partitioned beautifully into the designated departments. There was a crisply defined set of system requirements, which melded into a flowchart of milestones and schedules, every one apparently being met, and a series of chronological bullet points describing major decisions. It was all a great success for the person named at the top of the chart.

I was suspicious. It was a talk I had heard many times before. There is probably even a template in PowerPoint for such a talk. "Insert name of project here," it says. Or perhaps the dreaded paper clip pops up and says, "I see you are trying to prepare a project review."

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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.

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