The Age of the Heroic Inventor Is Over

Today, business disruptors get the attention that hardware innovators used to

2 min read
Illustration: Dan Page
Illustration: Dan Page

imgIllustration: Dan Page

Everyone knows the great electrical inventors of the past, such as Alexander Graham Bell of the telephone, Marconi of the radio, and Edison of the incandescent light. But few know who invented the transistor, laser, integrated circuit, optical fiber, stored-program computer, GPS, or Internet. Yet these are probably the most significant inventions of the last century, and I wonder: Why this disparity?

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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
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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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