My friend Mark Levinson, the man not the company, is a visionary not an engineer. In fact, I doubt Mark knows how to design anything electronic yet his namesake adorns some of the best loved products in our industry’s history.
I find this fascinating because many people I run into seem to believe every nerd running a high-end audio company is something of an engineer – else how could that person lead the charge to create cool products we all want to own?
An engineering mentality isn’t required – in fact many time it’s a hindrance. Knowing too much sets up walls and rules that keep people locked inside boxes that are unimaginative.
The best visionaries I have ever met are simply frustrated power users. They know what they want, how it should feel and look when it’s done, what purpose it should fulfill and why it needs to exist. In many cases it’s the frustrated user that simply gets fed up not being able to do something so they go do it themselves.
Satisfying an itch to make something that perfectly fills a need no one else is thinking about is the essence of a visionary – the term seeming like such a lofty title when in fact, they are nothing more than a frustrated user.
We all benefit from the frustrated user that goes out and builds something that scratches their itch.