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Re: [TowerTalk] FCC Chaurman needs to be a ham

To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] FCC Chaurman needs to be a ham
From: "Jim Brown" <>
Reply-to: Jim Brown <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 16:32:46 -0600
List-post: <>
On Sat, 22 Jan 2005 16:15:33 -0500, Bob T. wrote:

>Product knowledge is secondary, and really not all that 
>That's why you see stuff like the head of Pepsi, going to Disney,
>whose head in turn goes to GM. 

Let's re-state that. Product knowledge (or a knowledge of the 
business) is not a requirement for GETTING HIRED. It CAN BE an 
absolute requirement for DOING IT WELL and MAKING GOOD DECISIONS. 
How many stupid corporate reorganizations and mergers have you 
heard of? If you look carefully, you'll find far more bad ones 
than good ones. How often do these mergers result in the good guys 
getting let go and divisions falling apart? I'd bet a bunch of us 
have worked for companies where it has. My wife works as a 
consultant to pharma companies, and she sees it ALL THE TIME!

25-30 years ago, I sold pro audio to broadcasters. I knew all the 
sharp engineers in town, there were still some guys owning the 
stations (or at least running them) who knew something about 
broadcasting, both technically and programmatically (although the 
transition to the Monopoly-gamers was already in full swing by 
then). Over the next decade, ALL of the good guys disappeared, 
replaced by guys who can't tie their shoes. The last Owner in town 
(Chicago) who actually knew anything about radio, built it from 
the ground up, and ran it with his wife for 40+ years, sold it a 
couple of years ago and retired.  The only qualification now for 
owning a station is the ability to con a bank into loaning you the 
money, and the willingness to "pay" an absurd sum to buy it. Tell 
me that any part of broadcasting is better now than it was 40 
years ago.  

I've spent a fair ammount of time over the past 10 years managing 
my personal investments, and that means learning a lot about how 
these companies work, AND HOW WELL THEY SUCCEED. A bunch of those 
mentioned in this thread DON'T. 

Let's talk about some technical companies that ARE run by 
engineers, and are DAMNED sucessful BECAUSE of it. Ever hear of 
Dolby?  Ray Dolby, an ENGINEER, still runs the company, and it is 
one of the most successful brands in the world!  I still see him 
in the technical papers sessions at AES conventions, both in the 
US and in Europe. Ray gave the invited Heyser Memorial lecture 
about 3 years ago and told about how his company grew, poured 
money into R&D, and grew some more. Several of their most 
profitable products took 5+ years of heavy R&D, with a lot of 
frustration and poor progress in the early years of each. Most 
non-technical managements would have pulled the plug or sold off 
the division. 

Ever hear of Intel?  One of the great brands in the world, and 
they have always been engineering managed. Our son-in-law has 
worked in their marketing area for 15 years or so. He knows next 
to nothing technically, and that may be true of lots of their 
marketing folks -- but the guys making the decisions are heavy 

And then there's this guy Gates. As I recall, he started out as a 
nurd, and has managed to make a few fairly smart business 
decisions over the years. 

All of us know engineers who have their heads buried in labs, who 
have no business sense, no political awareness, maybe are short on 
social skills, and couldn't manage a three-car funeral. But there 
ARE some sharp engineers who are also good managers and 
businessmen, and who have good political sensitivies. And one of 
them SHOULD head the FCC. 

Jim Brown  K9YC


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