GreT ztory.....thanks for the share!
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Funny Jim Thiel anecdote.
It was the last day of the 1998 CES--things were winding down, we were all pretty tired, but nevertheless getting ready to tear down the room.
In order to 'kill the corners' of the room, we'd rented Ficus trees, silk leaves from a local company. They had just arrived to take them away, and we had a bunch.
Greg Evans who worked for me as Sales Director, had just gotten back from a 'beerthirty' run...Sherry and Dawn and I (I opted for red wine) were chillin', ready to 'spring' into action lol.
In walks David Chesky of Chesky Records. Looking, as he does at times, like Kenny G. he was there to give Jim some of his latest albums--a little late for the show, but what the heck, there's always next year.
David was known to recreate...and I won't say that there was a cloud around him when he walked in--I will say that his eyes were very 'unusual' looking and he had an air of controlled confusion.
As he walked in, Jim came from the back room--"Hi Jim", he says sounding like Carlton the door man from the sitcom Rhoda....
Then David looks in puzzlement at the men carrying the Ficus trees....and says, 'Wow Jimmmmm, did you brrring the treeeesss, all the wayyy from Keeennntukkkky?'
Jim for a split, thought he was kidding and laughed....and instantly realized what was actually happening.
So it went like this....
It's a timing thing, and I suppose written word doesn't do it justice but Lordy it was funny. Greg, Sherry Dawn and I laughed so hard it required bathroom breaks all around.
Thanks for reading guys (and girls maybe).
I may have met him, (probably did) but don't remember any specifics. Trying to keep this to folks I've known really well.
Of the people I was thinking about the night I wrote this, his name didn't come to mind.
I too admired his work and felt that the Mirage was always underrated. Very musical, and I think a bold design.
Thanks Rcprince and others for the kind words.
For most of us interested in topics or industries, it's kinda fun to hear the 'inside'.
I'm a big time basketball fan, UK of course as I grew up here. I read all I can, go to blog sites to discuss. In the process like hearing the background stuff. So, naturally, it occurred to me that I have 30 years of stories about some of the industry legends that others might find mildly amusing or interesting; like that story about David Chesky...I know it doesn't transfer as hilariously to paper (e) as it does in person, but we laughed soooo hard that night. Wow, what a memory.
I'll post more at some future time, as the spirit moves me.
Best to all,
I have a post to add to this...a Jim Thiel story...I placed it on the 3.7 THIEL original post but it was out of place there. It's a story which shows what kind of people Jim Thiel and Kathy Gornick are. Hope you enjoy.
It's fitting to me, that Jim's last design was a 3 series product.
My first ownership from him was the 03a, an equalized, 25Hz to 20Khz, loudspeaker of relatively diminuitive stature...then within a couple of years, the CS3, (Coherent Source 3) the 3, was for 3 way speaker.
This speaker was the one that put THIEL on the radar of the mags as well as the higher end audiophiles.
There's a great story about that speaker that I'd like to share with everyone. The story is illustrative of Jim Thiel and Kathy Gornik--how they view business and customers.
A review came out(this would have been circa 1984 fall) in which the reviewer complained about an 'upper midrange GLARE', which was mostly apparent when one stood slightly from the seated position.
Jim was always appreciative of magazines that published specs, as he was the ultimate 'spec' guy--but oftentimes he took issue with methodology.
I remember speaking to him about the 'glare' issue, which he at first said, (to me at least) why does it matter what it sounds like when standing/stooping at a strange height? Who's going to be standing like that? But then, his clinical side took over and he started experimenting.
After several of what had to be painful hours, he found a production error that was to create a seminal moment for THIEL, yet illustrative of what kind of people they are.
Back in those days, THIEL drivers were manufactured to thier specs (Jim would talk to Seas for example for weeks designing, sending drawings etc, and they would send samples to him). As it turns out, the midrange driver at that time was paper, coated with a viscus compound, a plasticized compound which increased the Young's Modulus, defined for this example as 'strength to weight ratio', in simple terms it increased the tensile strength of the driver while not increasing the weight significantly, allowing the driver to act in a more purely pistonic motion, punching the air without twisting. Sorry, but that's what it was.
Anyway, the company manufacturing the driver had put slightly, and we're talking microns of depth, too much of the compound on the driver, changing the response of the driver slightly from the prototypes.
Because of the nature of manufacturing in those days, before 'sample testing' and such, AND the slight alteration, it slipped by Jim's Q.C. efforts.
Understand this, this was back in the day...THIEL was just a struggling young company.
The 'change' in the output really didn't show up on a sweep, but at certain volumes would be apparent, but only when one stood in a crouched manner above the normal listening position...so it was WRONG, but an almost 'who cares' change that only an Absolute Sound listener might notice.(Kudos to the writer, who I can't remember, I'm wanting to say Anthony Cordesman, but not sure).
Anywho, THIEL needing the cash flow from the hundreds of pairs of already completed speakers, elected NOT TO SHIP the speakers out, creating a billing cycle--but chose to let them sit in the warehouse until replacement drivers could come in.
Think about this...a young struggling company, who was dependant on monthly billing cycles, had more than a couple hundred pairs of CS3's sitting idly in their warehouse waiting for almost 2 months for replacements--creating 60 days of delay. This WAS a 'make it, break it' moment for them and they didn't hesitate. The COULD have shipped, sent a 'oh gee' letter to all owners and replaced the drivers in the field, but didn't. They held the products.
How many people would do this in today's business world--in the 1984 business world? They did the right thing without anyone noticing or looking. What's the old saying, 'It's what you do when no one's looking that tells what kind of person you really are.'
Looking back those almost 30 years ago that that happened--knowing the pain that this action created for them financially, I can't tell you how proud I am to tell you that Jim and Kathy were two of my icons and heroes in not only just audio, but in the business world.
It's important that everyone know, when thinking of buying a product, what THIEL does when no one's looking.