Where are your BIG HEADS?

I am Steve Day.  With a wide range of experiences, I have decided to accomplish three things for the foreseeable future.  First, create a blog and an online presence promoting “all things design.”  Design is a simple word that means:

Definition of Design

transitive verb
1:  to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : devise, contrive design a system for tracking inventory
2  a : to conceive and plan out in the mind he designed the perfect crime.  b : to have as a purpose : intend she designed to excel in her studies.  c : to devise for a specific function or end a book designed primarily as a college textbook a suitcase designed to hold a laptop computer
3  archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
4  a : to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of … a curious woman whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage … — Oscar Wilde.  b : to draw the plans for design a building designing a new bike
intransitive verb
1  : to conceive or execute a plan
2  : to draw, lay out, or prepare a design was trained to design for homes and offices

Secondly, to continue offering my own personal services as a principle product and business designer and product developer.  Third, point to a specific conversation that I had many years ago.  I was at Marconi PLC in Pittsburgh.  A friend of mine was walking down the corridor towards lunch.  As you may recall, FORE Systems was purchased for cash by Marconi.  When that happened, most of the wealthy founders and principles left the company.  My friend exclaimed, “There are no BIG HEADS walking around here anymore, [that is what is wrong with Marconi PLC.]”  It was a profound statement.

I believe that my most recent experiences led me to a conclusion that BOTH the ART and SCIENCE of Marketing have been displaced from most companies.  Once in a while, you see a company that really understands product development and marketing, and with that you see great things.  Take a look at these two lists, and you clearly see a trend of great companies ALWAYS having at least one BIG HEAD!

The 12 Greatest product designers and innovators of all time (Source:  http://startupguide.com/world/greatest-innovators/)

  • Thomas Edison. One of the most significant innovators and inventors in American history, Edison is perhaps best known for inventing the first long-lasting, commercially practical incandescent light bulb. He was the father of many other breakthroughs, including the first phonograph and the motion picture camera, and he was influential in developing the first economically viable way of distributing light, heat, and power from a central station.
  • Steve Jobs. The iconic American entrepreneur and founder of Apple will go down in history as one of the great innovators. As CEO of Apple in the 1980s and again in the late 90s and 2000s, Jobs played a central role in the personal computer revolution and in developing its key products, including the McIntosh, the iPod and the iPhone.
  • Nikola Tesla. A great inventor, engineer, and futurist, Tesla helped develop the AC electrical delivery system. Infamous for his wild experiments and colorful personality, Tesla ‘s creative work regarding the production and transmission of power was far ahead of his time.
  • Bill Gates. One of the great businessman/philanthropists of the last century, Gates founded and built Microsoft into an unmatched software behemoth before leaving to state the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, a multi-billion dollar philanthropic enterprise working to enhance global healthcare and reduce poverty.
  • Benjamin Franklin. One of the founding fathers of the United States, Franklin was a brilliant polymath, inventor, political theorist, scientist, statesman, and writer. He had a prodigious scientific mind, and his interests varied widely, but in addition to politics, he is perhaps best known for his experiments with lightning and electricity.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci. The original “Renaissance man,” Da Vinci is best known for his paintings (the Last Supper, the Mona Lisa) but he was also a philosopher, engineer, and inventor. He left behind him a collection of extraordinarily prescient drawings depicting future technologies (helicopter, tank, solar power).
  • Alexander Graham Bell. A Scottish inventor and engineer, Bell was awarded the US patent for the telephone in 1876. His work on telecommunications, aeronautics, and many other areas (he invented the metal detector) earned him a reputation as one of the great figures of the nineteenth century.
  • Sandford Fleming. A Scottish-Canadian innovator and inventor, Fleming used his engineering, surveying, and mapmaking skills to help build the transcontinental railways of the nineteenth century. He was also the inventor of worldwide standard time and the standard times zones used today.
  • Marie Curie. The first female winner of the Nobel Prize in 1903 (she won it twice in both physics and chemistry), Curie was a pioneering physicist and chemist who is known for her breakthrough ideas in radioactivity and her discovery of two elements.
    The Wright brothers. Orville & Wilbur Wright invented and flew the world’s first successful airplane in 1903. Their persistence, experimentation, and work on the principles of flight made them legendary inventors and innovators.
  • Galileo Galilei. The legendary Italian genius whose breakthrough ideas helped usher in the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century, Galileo is often called the father of modern science. Forced to defend his views of heliocentrism against the Roman inquisition, and spending most of his life under house arrest for heresy, Galileo has become an icon of scientific integrity in the face of religious dogmatism.
  • Richard Feynman. One of the great scientists of the twentieth century, Feynman’s breakthrough ideas in Quantum theory helped revolutionize that field.

At the same time, think about the next generation of great innovators and designers.  (Source:  http://startupguide.com/world/greatest-innovators/)

  • Mark Zuckerberg. The billionaire co-founder and CEO of Facebook is responsible for the most successful social networking website on the internet, born while he was studying at Harvard.
  • Dustin Moskovitz. A former co-founder of Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, Moskovitz left Facebook to found Asana, the web-based productivity software.
  • Blake Ross. The pioneering founder of the Mozilla Firefox project, the successful open-source browser, Ross also worked at Facebook as head of product.
  • Matt Brimer. Brimer is the co-founder of General Assembly, a global education company that provides entrepreneurs with opportunities and education in technology, design, and business.
  • Jay Kimmelman. Kimmelman is the co-founder of Bridge International, a nonprofit designed to bring low-cost high quality education to those living on less than $2 a day.
  • Ben Rattray. Founder and CEO of change.org, the online petition site focused on social change. Rattray has been named one of Fortune’s 40 under 40 rising young business leaders.
  • Leila Janah. Janah is the founder and CEO of Samasource, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect poor women and youth to the digital economy and “harness the untapped potential of the world’s poor.”
  • Daniel Epstein. Co-founder of Unreasonable Institute, a “boot camp” for social entrepreneurs from around the world, Epstein offers successful applicants the opportunity to connect with mentors and potential investors and access the resources to make their dreWams a reality.
  • Pete Cashmore. Founder and CEO of Mashable, Cashmore is responsible for one of the most influential blogs and one of the world’s largest websites.
  • Elliott Bisnow. Bisnow is the founder and CEO of Summit Series, an innovative conference series for entrepreneurs based in Utah.
  • Jack Andraka was only born in 1997, but by the age of 15 he has already changed the world with his innovation. Andraka has developed a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer during early stages when there is a much higher likelihood of a cure. His inexpensive method, which could save countless lives, won the 2012 Gordon E. Moore Award, the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
  • Eesha Khare is another impressive young innovator, who at the age of 18 created a tiny device that could charge a mobile phone in 20-30 seconds—a revolutionary technology she calls a “super-capacitor.” She won the 2013 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award for her invention, and plans to use the prize money to pay for her tuition at Harvard and continue her work as an inventor.

Where are your Big Heads, and if you don’t have any, what are your going to do?

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