My first sale

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I designed, built and sold my first stereo system when I was 17 years old, but at the time I had no intention of making that sale. No, the sale was one of the worst moments of my young life. The story unfolds.

My father had built his own stereo system for the family home. As the head of the McGowan household he was able to leverage the hall closet for a subwoofer cabinet, the living room ceiling and walls to mount homemade speaker cabinets on and he also dictated what could and could not be played on that stereo.

When he first installed the system the family delighted in having music playing in the home. As it was the 1960's there really wasn't much in the way of portable radios or other sound sources people had for music. You either had a console stereo system or a separates "Hi Fi" setup like we did or you didn't have music. So just as it was with the novelty of color television, when it was first introduced, anything played on the new stereo system was wonderful to hear.

My father had an album collection of perhaps 25 or so. Most of them Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie. Great music by anyone's standards but limited in the number of albums we had and the choices they offered. My parents listened primarily on the weekends and occasionally in the evenings; so 25 albums went a long way. Not for me. First thing I did when I got home from school was to crank up the tunes as loud as I could and enjoy that moment of musical freedom before the others came home. It was sheer bliss. That is until I got bored with the music and bought my own albums.

One of my favorites at the time was the Jefferson Airplane. I loved the music and I thought Grace Slick was hot. I was 17 years old after all. I was excited to share this music with my father. He had previously been unimpressed with the Al Hirt album I bought, calling Hirt "a technician without any soul". Surely my new found Airplane members had soul. We probably made it 10 seconds into the first track when my pop silently walked up, removed the needle, sleeved the record and said "this is crap. Don't ever play it on the stereo in this house again." And that was that.

Time to build my own stereo system.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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