From Oingo Boingo's mid 80's album "Boi-ngo"
My revelations - have lost control
My better judgement - has gone away
Our evolution is full of holes
Has something gone astray
(Tell me where our friends go)
From "Where Did All My Friends Go
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound?.. That age old question comes to mind for me at times this year in so many ways. A couple of weeks ago a major VP for a big AT company and I discussed just who and where former friends and colleagues have gone in just the last year. If you remember a while back in 2006 I wrote a piece on what the fallout may be when everyone in the industry decides that they can build a Video Magnifier. And now the survivors of a great sales war are starting to emerge from their bunkers and examine their losses. The results of which are still being played out every company quarter. And it's a reason for why your software upgrades come in little envelopes instead of big boxes with manuals. Everyone, I mean everyone, is having to make changes or cut costs.
Think about this for a second. We saw more movement in management and ownership in this field in 18 months than we had seen in .. well years. Humanware, Ai Squared, Freedom Scientific and Kurzweil Educational Systems all saw changes in ownership. Enhanced Vision and Optelec have seen management changes. But sadly I don't believe some companies have taken their fingers off their chess pieces just yet.
Amongst the general day to day operations stuff that goes on behind the scenes there is two more forces at work that are silently stalking the famous names in our industry. Retirement and it's old friend "Burn Out". Over the last year or so a few names in my Contacts Folder needed to be edited from Professional to Personal. And each time I made the changes I thought hard about the knowledge and experience we were losing in our wierd wild world of Blindness technology.
Don't get me wrong change is inevitable. I am a Vista fan as you know. so I don't fear, resist or deny changes. I just think that we are at a crossroads and it's always good to stop and look at the map every once in awhile and see where we have been before we venture further to where we haven't gone. And a moments reflection for those who drove this old bus there is worth a mention time to time as well.
I salute those who started the mailing lists, the forums, the podcasts and the web sites. I honor those who stood in the hot stinky convention halls of old. Who drove, rode and flew all over our great nation to demonstrate their products to 1 or 100. I pay my respects to those who sat in the bars, answered outlandish questions or who towed the party line on the rumor of the month. To sum up.. I will miss your banter, advice and direction as I stumble forward through the field you have all created. For I have many more miles to tred before I reach the same plateau. And the trip just got a little less familiar without my tour guides.
"Where Did All My Friends Go.."
Link to the lyrics of this song..
Link to the album on sale at Amazon..