Going against the grain
How frightening it is to go against the grain, to stand out with an independent thought that few share. Sure, some of us like to be the odd man out, the prickly pear, the outspoken critic. But, for the most part, we seek acceptance and approval for our ideas. When I was deep into writing my memoirs I faced this fear head on more than a few times. Do I present myself as people expect me to be or as I am? And how deep do I go? What if you read about me and you don't like me anymore? These are deep-seated fears that give most of us heartburn. Many of the products we have designed over the years have gone against the grain: no power switch on the front panel, passive RIAA, passive current to voltage converters, hybrid amplifiers, class D amps. I could go on but writing them now seems anticlimactic because many have become mainstream. I remember quite vividly when we launched the HCA-2 class D hybrid power amplifier at a time when the few class Ds of the day were thoroughly reviled. We were not only successful with that product but because it went against the grain and because it was a great sounding amplifier it worked. If you go against the grain you risk a splinter. But if you always run with the smooth and accepted, you risk being lost in the melee of the average, the unnoticed, the mundane. We don't set out to be different, but we also don't have any interest in being the same.
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