"I thought my ideas for products were better than those the company was pursuing"
Fred, I believe I know which was one of those companies. I know others who left that company for similar reasons and also started their own companies. I worked at one of those startups, Azonix, in the 1980s.
Azonix was making data-acquisition and control systems using ADC modules in I/O cards ion a chassis.
Azonix now makes industrial computers and is now out of the measurement business.
Congratulations, Fred. My admiration for you goes back to our first contact many years ago. Back in the 1970's, my company had a contract to build data-acquisition equipment for a drug company in New Jersey. We bought several of your ADC modules and they provided excellent value for the price. And they provided results that excedded our client's expectations (and ours). Nicely done. Thanks for sharing your experience and offering advice for today's entrepreneurs. All the best. Jon Titus
Hi Fred, congratulations for running the company successfully for 40 years! It is indeed very difficult to do so but you have done it!! Some of the key take aways from your story: You had a passion to do something better, had good ideas, did not give-up during difficult times, efficiently utilized all the opportunities you created and those came along, you & your team were technically smart, "honest and straightforward"; Thank you for the tips about being cautious about the bankers, lawyers, and large companies. Any big challenges so far, which might made you thinking to give-up for a moment?
"Starting a business is still easier to do in the US that it is overseas," says Fred Molinari, president of Data Translation. (I spoke with him prior to attending the panel discussion.) "We don't have a lock on brains," he notes, "but we do have a financial system that's open to new opportunities." Molinari says that overseas financing is hard to get and that many firms must come to the US to get venture capital.
I first used data acquistion boards (DT, of course) whilst a grad student at Northwestern in the late 80s.
At the time it was a PC, DT board, Turbo Pascal software, and custom electronics from a wiz in the electronic shop. That experience has resulted in me building and setting up test systems for the majority of my career.
Hadn't heard from them in a while, was happy to jump on their site and see that they are still have competitive offerings.. Don't know why they fell off of my radar... They're back on it now.
An acquaintance from my past brought this to my attention thinking your reference to "Bob Servilio" was referring to me. I forwarded the article to my 5 brothers and sisters and they all recalled that my dad, Bob Servilio, was very proud of bringing your company into the Bell Labs community. For many reasons it was a relationship he was always proud of and spoke fondly of it quite often. Dad always tried to help people achieve their goals and when he recognized a quality, hungry little company like yours, he took pride in making this known to his colleagues.
Anyway, so glad that Data Translation is still alive and kicking after all these years. I wish you and your company continued success.