Electroacoustics AVP Case Study

Day 62 Week 9 Q1  Friday, March 3, 2023

This one is a real oldie from well before I coined the Actionable Vantage Point. I am sure I am not the only one here who, in the middle of their college years, had to make a decision about what to study and what to become.  The problem was not a lack of interest or direction. It was the opposite. In this part of the world, we have the resources for people to explore many more options than in some places less fortunate than big cities in the United States.

My problem was the tremendous ease of changing my major multiple times. I had a scholarship, so tuition was not a problem. The issue was many, if not most, subjects seemed and still seem fascinating.  I felt like I could go to college for a long time and never graduate, but this is not reasonable, although I did manage to spend a few extra years in academia.  Some people never escape and just keep studying.

The problem is that you have a kaleidoscope of perspectives until you choose a direction, or a direction chooses you. In my case, a caring and concerned parent put a 1300-page guide to careers on my desk and told me to pick one when I was nineteen. Since I liked books and reading and respected my parents, I sat down and started at the beginning. While working my way through the E’s, I encountered a word I had never heard before. Electroacoustics was a field that combined music, physics and engineering, three of my favorite subjects. This was so exciting that I decided to become an electroacoustician even though I did not know what they did. 

From that moment on, I took every single course I could find in airborne and underwater acoustics, vibration theory, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, electronics and music. Music theory and music performance and music composition.  It took another eight years, and I earned degrees in physics and engineering and a few interesting jobs, escalating to influential positions at Bose and Apple. 

That moment years ago changed my not very actionable vantage point (AVP) from investigating many topics and fields to a useful Actionable Vantage Point that has persisted for fifty years!  During these years, there were several careers, but they were all sound-centric and all based on using technology to in some way create or deliver or process music.

This single word became an actionable vantage point, becoming a career and eventually an extremely satisfying life.  I probably would never have discovered this word without a thirteen-hundred-page book being slapped down on a desk. And it literally changed my entire life. It was so powerful that years later, I realized we could create for ourselves an Actionable Vantage Point whenever we needed to clarify our direction by simply seeing where we are now and where we want to be later.