one year

I had a meeting Friday morning with a man who does Silicon Valley liaison for Australian startups.

“I first came here to visit SGI when I was working at a manufacturing company called Wormald,” he said.

“Wormald, huh?” I said. “Did you know Robin Chalmers?”

“Of course I knew Robin!” He said that Dad was the first management theorist he’d met, and described Dad’s model of companies plateauing when their products were commoditized, and needing to find new products their factories could make in order to achieve new growth. The Innovator’s Dilemma, in other words, but worked out from scratch five years before that book was first published.

I remember having the same conversation with Dad myself. It was in the early 1990s, which was probably Peak Dad. I was at uni, flailing around, trying to figure out who I was and what I was going to be. He was running the factory, building the fire systems for the Collins Class submarines and thinking deeply about Australian manufacturing and competitiveness. We talked endlessly about everything: astronomy, Cantor’s diagonal argument, Christianity, geopolitics, John Donne, Martin Gardner, maths. He was unbelievably patient with me, and loving and funny and thoughtful and silly and wise.

I’m very grateful for the reminder of what he was like then, even if it did hit me like a bullet in the chest. I miss him so much.

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