The unremarkable

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The unremarkable
With all of today's ballyhoo about miracle cures, vaccines, wonder drugs, and whatever amazing things they're cooking up for us next, sometimes it's the littlest unmentioned things that really make the difference. Take for example one of the most important miracle compounds in the world. This amazing invention has literally saved millions of lives. It is so powerful that 175 years ago, when it was again introduced to the physicians of the day, after being forgotten, it's application would eventually save millions of mothers and children's lives. And even further back in time, this same miracle compound made possible the coloring of clothing. It's certain that Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples benefited from it. Today, this same concoction is still saving lives—millions, upon millions of them every single day. What is it? Soap. The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon. A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC, and that's as far back as someone had taken the time to write it down. It's likely some concoction of the substance was employed well before that. The point of this post is simple. So much of what moves us forward is unremarkable. As in yesterday's post about the invention of the microphone, what we rarely talk about is the invention of something as unremarkable as, say, wire. Wire! All that knowledge of its conductivity, finding the right materials, how to shape it, insulate it, affix it, and produce it had to be accumulated before we could play with our hifi systems. It took me a few decades to learn the unremarkable craft of designing by ear and, every decade following, my unremarkable knowledge has gotten greater—and sharing that accumulated data with you, our designers—and they with me, and you—creates an even greater treasure trove of process and mastery of the art we so depend on. Even if it may be unremarkable. The next time I squirt hand soap into my wet hands, I'll say a small thank you for it.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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