Squeezing turnips

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If you take a turnip, put it in a vice and squeeze, no blood comes out. In fact, your efforts are rewarded with not much more than mashed turnip pulp which, I learned, holds little sway at a bank. In my newly formed company Infinitizer, circa 1973, I had convinced a local friend to invest $10,000 in the venture on the promise we would build the world's first polyphonic synthesizer and get rich selling them to musicians. That was a lot of money back then, in fact, it's still a lot of money today. We were emboldened by our first customer, musician Walter Carlos, who had agreed to buy the first one. Development had been going well, the digital keyboard up and running, the note selectors designed and communicating nicely with the notes pressed and we heard actual chords playing through speakers. I had met a local contract manufacturer who seemed perfect to build Infinitizer instruments. His shop was well equipped and all he lacked was the funds necessary to buy parts and begin building. I was 25 years old, idealistic as hell, working as a disc jockey, scratching a living out as best I could. But times were tough for Terri and I, and I became expert at turning utilities back on, climbing telephone poles to reconnect the cable TV, and flipping the electric meter upside down so it ran backwards, reducing what we owed. Like I said, times were tough. $10,000 was more money than I had ever seen and I figured it would be best if I hadn't any access to it, for fear I might spend it on living. As an idealist that believed in the good of all men who had pure hearts, I fancied myself an expert judge of people. Oh, the ego of youth. It would take great pain and Terri's guidance to humble me, but I was soon to be rewarded with much of both. Over Terri's strong objections, I handed the entire lump sum of $10,000 to my sub contractor and said, "there you go! Let's build these puppies." My wife just shook her head. 6 months later I sat in a Santa Maria courtroom with an attorney I could not afford, holding a judgment against a now penniless sub contractor. I had never heard the term squeezing blood from a turnip, but its meaning was now stingingly clear. I kept the only prototype of the Infinitizer in the garage for another year until one of our five cats knocked over a lamp in our living room, setting the house on fire, burning it to the ground. Terri and I escaped with nothing more than our clothing. All that was left to us was in the garage; which was burned to the ground two days later by vandals. My new partner in Infinitizer, Stan Warren, pulled up in his VW bug and offered his extra bedroom for us to stay and, within a week, the name of the company went from Infinitizer, to PS Audio, and the rest is history.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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