In all the iterations of our website in the last 22 years, one thing has remained pretty constant: getting content from engineers that really don't like to write is a constant struggle. It may not surprise you that Al is one of them.
When we first started Danville Signal, it was just Al designing our first-generation dspstak and dspblok boards. So I started a complimentary web development business. My plan was to understand how to use this new thing called the Internet to help us grow our business. If any of you reading today were one of the 300+ people who responded in newsgroups in 2005 to help me with my statistics research project on "How engineers search on the Web," thank you for that. You helped me get an "A" in my MBA stats class.
Yet, despite all I learned about how to structure a web page to optimize search results, it was still like pulling teeth to get the real meat of the content to put into our pages. That content had to come from Al. Not only did Al dislike writing, he was also busy. "Busy designing stuff", he'd say. "Later this week", I'd hear on the second pass. Engineers who don't like to write are very good at finding reasons not to write.
Eventually, I learned the tricks to increase my chances of success. One trick was to ask a lot of questions and then write the first draft for him to edit. Al knows his subject matter and he's good at explaining things. If I started the article, it was much easier to get him to edit it. If I wrote it wrong, it was easier for him to fix it. Eventually, I'd have the content I needed. And the chance to begin again.
Another tactic that works is to find the story that resonates with him and then let him tell it. Al is a storyteller. He's good at setting up the backstory, explaining why he knows what he knows, adding in the pieces that build credibility or clarify our strengths, and then he shares it all with the unwavering confidence of a person who knows what he's good at and what he can deliver. He reminds me a lot of an iceberg ... there's the chunk of ice you see above the water and then there's all the experience and knowledge below the water that you cannot see. The breadth and depth of the iceberg are bigger than you thought.
Those of you who've spoken with Al know he likes to talk. It's probably his favorite thing, behind designing products. He loves to talk so much that we are leveraging that enthusiasm to launch a number of live Zoom events this year. We may even get him to try a podcast or two. While we are at it, we will be asking Emilson, our senior software engineer, to create videos covering DSP Concept's Audio Weaver software. We are going to allow him to speak as little as possible and he won't have to write anything at all. Thankfully, he can redo them as many times as needed.
Beginning again is fun. 2021 is a whole new year. A new product design builds off the last one. One conversation starts a new relationship. A new website is the opportunity to try new things. It's my excuse to use a final trick to extract the knowledge out of our engineer's head and get it out into the world a bit more in 2021: keeping it short and sweet.
So whether it's a live Zoom event, an instructional video, new product release updates, or industry info we think is relevant to our world, we'll try to keep it short & sweet and worth your time. Stick around, we hope you'll learn a thing or two, interact with us, and enjoy the conversation.
One of the best parts of beginning again is that you never really know where you'll end up.