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Just Some Electronic Communications History

This is a blog about David Sarnoff. (Wikipedia) I am guessing that you might not know the name, but his story includes a wide spectrum of accomplishment. I am only going to hit a few highlights, which is why I have attached his Wikipedia entry.

His resume included leading the electronics company of RCA as well as the TV broadcast company of NBC.  And, he was a Brigadier General in the reserves. It’s not his titles that I find interesting, it’s some of his accomplishments.

He was the first person to quantify television with Sarnoff’s law, which states that the value of a television broadcast network is based on its number of viewers. Seems simple…that if there are no viewers, the programming has no value.

At the age of 20, he installed and operated the wireless equipment on a ship to be used for fishing and hunting. He ultimately used that technology to relay the first remote medical diagnosis from the ship’s doctor to a radio operator on land. A diagnosis of an infected tooth.

His background included being responsible for many advancements for radio and television. It makes me ask “what if he hadn’t done this”. That’s why the following story from radio history grabs me.

On the night of April 14th, 1912, Sarnoff was at the desk of the wireless station at a Department store in New York. History tells us that the ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg. Almost immediately, the ship began transmitting distress signals.

It was radio to the rescue. he began sending out news of the disaster and ultimately contacted the ship Carpathia,  It was the only ship nearby the Titanic that was equipped to receive the radio signals. It picked up survivors from the Titanic and then began to return to New York. Sarnoff used radio to compile the names of the surviving passengers and forward the good news to their families. He credited that event as bringing radio into the forefront.  Without radio, perhaps there would have been no survivors.

It is again another reminder that one person can make a difference.

 

And for pic o’ day, these are great days for a walk. Right?

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Some Communication

During the Civil War, it was not unusual for newspaper reporters to cover the war by sending stories back to be published, while at the same time bringing news from home to the soldiers. A good form of communication.  Here’s a form of bad wartime communication as described by attorney Paul Luvera.

     President Franklin Roosevelt sent ambassador Winant to meet with Russia’s Molotov during World War II. In presenting Roosevelt’s message he opened with a few words of his own. He said he was going to “talk turkey on this issue.” Molotov interrupted with: “Turkey? What does Turkey have to do with the Baltic states?” The ambassador tried to explain patiently that “talking turkey” was merely an American expression meaning to talk seriously, but the suspicious Molotov could not or would not understand, and the meeting ended without any useful discussion of the presidents message. The ambassador never regained Roosevelt’s confidence after that.

     In our work as lawyers, I have heard the following simple communication rules:

Be calm; Be slow; Be nice.

Pretty good reminders for life. I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Napolean

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