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What do you Hope for in partners?

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Hope, partner, Santana

While I was helping get the Intel card up and moving through IBM, our specific challenge was to build something that had multiple processors.  The idea was to demonstrate that with more than one processor, you speed things up faster than waiting for the silicon to get faster.  While we had lost the funding for the full solution, building a card for the PS/2 was well within our scope and budget, and we were lucky.  In my networking, I had found a guy in another Scientific Center that had built almost exactly what we were looking for.  Again pre-everything, at least I could correspond with him through our internal email system, and he was flying in from Winchester England.  I was standing at the White Plains airport to pick him up, and he got off the plane with his very thin metallic briefcase (remember those?). “Mike?  Welcome! Where is your luggage?”  “This is it. Let’s Go!”

… how he fit the hardware and the clothes for a week in that briefcase I never understood, but we were off to meet with some of the US-based engineering team to talk through his design approach.  It was amazingly simple and straight forward, and the mechanical and electrical design documents were very complete.  While very skeptical that 1 guy could do all of this on his own, we were able to convince our partners that this was likely the best shot we had.  We proceeded to start the process of turning the design into something that could be built in our fabrication facility.  They were used to building Space Rated, and full MIL-SPEC hardware…where they could charge 200,000 – 500,000 for each computer.  Just SLIGHTLY outside our price target … 

Nothing like a Platinum initial album to rachet up the pressure on the follow-up album.  Many artists first are amazing – because it took them 10 years to put it together.  Cranking out the next one, in less than a year, with a lot of people now watching causes many second albums to be less “great”.  Carlos had put together the right partners after changing out a few partners during the recording of Santana 1, and now they had played together in many concerts and were able to quickly put together an album that would ultimately be 207 on the Greatest Albums List. They also featured cover art that was amazing, a painting called Annunciation by German-French painter Mati Klariwein, one of his first paintings upon arriving in the US in 1961… and hung on many young men’s walls from the obvious references 😉 

Luckily our leader had been building “commercial” hardware with a trusted vendor just outside of Pittsburgh, and soon we were visiting them to get bids on both fabricating the circuit cards, but also assembling the finished products.  Their quotes are 2 orders of magnitude cheaper… and that was exactly what our Division President wanted – for OUR facility to get that capability in place – to be that “lean” to use a modern team.  Reluctantly they agreed to match the price, and we were forced to have the cards built “in house” but we held the ground on the external vendor building the circuit cards, a decision that would eventually cause the partnerships to be strained.  Our first copy of the design was produced, and I carried it and an engineer with me to Winchester – outside of London, for the initial debug. 

The US engineer was NOT excited to be “chosen” for this assignment and kept asking “where can I get a hamburger?” – literally being the prototypical Ugly American. I had to interface between him and Mike so that neither would kill the other, and prevent any Hope of transferring the knowledge back to our team. As we continue to think about Hope, what is it that you want.need in a partner… and have you ever written that down?  I hadn’t, and this was a great awakening for me to realize that it is SO critical to success to have partners that are easy to work with AND share your outlook on the Hope and the future.  Here in my partners I had one interested in change, and one was not.  The song for today means literally “Do you feel my rhythm?” – a Tito Puenta tune that Santana recorded because “it was easy to dance to”.  What is the rhythm that you want to have partners align with… and Oye Coma Va?  

 

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