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The Hidden Structure of Scaling

Organizations, organisms, and communication networks all have similar growth dynamics

3 min read
Illustration by Greg Mably
Illustration: Greg Mably

illustration by Greg MablyIllustration: Greg Mably

Let’s envision a discussion among engineers. We won’t have to stretch our imaginations far: One engineer has proposed a new idea, and the others, typically, are finding faults with it. The engineer with the idea has rebuffed all the criticisms, until one of the critics plays her last card. “Yes—but does it scale?” she asks. There is an ensuing silence.

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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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