Rate of change

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Rate of change

When we look at progress we often use two metrics as yardstick of change: rate and magnitude. How quickly have we gone from one point to the next and how big was that change?

For example, when we look at major magnitudes of change, how long did it take to go from Edison wax cylinders to the modern LP? 70 years (1878 to 1948). 

Now, what happened in the next 70 years following the introduction of the LP? A much, much smaller magnitude of change though the same rate of time. The modern turntable and cartridges are mere refinements relative to the magnitude of change between a wax cylinder and an LP.

There are plenty of other examples of major magnitudes of change: Daguerreotype to film, film to digital, cathode ray tubes to OLED, and so forth.

We are constantly working on developing new products that exceed the performance of those that have come before us. The rate of those changes to an existing technology remain about the same, while the magnitude diminishes until a new technology emerges.

The farther back in time we go the easier it is to recognize changes in magnitude. An Audio Research SP3 preamplifier compared to a modern StellarGold or BHK preamp is a huge leap relative to something we designed only a few years ago.

At the end of the day it seems to me the rate of change happens pretty much like clockwork until a new technology launches. Then, the clocks all get reset again and we start over.

*thanks to AGB for this riff

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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