When I was a child, my grandfather encouraged me and filled my mind with many stories of inventions, scientific discoveries and achievements that changed the world — especially inventions and discoveries by Scots and Scots-Americans, such as the telephone, bicycle, anesthesia, penicillin, and the founding of Carnegie Steel and the Bank of England. He told me, “You’re a McGregor, you are part of the Scots-American Inventor Imperative; it’s your duty to invent things that make the world better and create ease. The world is counting on you.” I took this to heart, and it started me along a creative path to make a difference in the world.
Overcoming “a failure to Communicate (remotely)”
We take our ability to communicate using the internet for granted today, but in 1998 there was no Skype and no Google Hangouts. At Placeware, my team pioneered web conferencing, enabling people from all around the world to ‘meet’ and collaborate in a new way. Placeware’s Web Conferencing grew to $10M yearly sales in 2 years, which led to an IPO filing and acquisition by Microsoft. The product lives on to this day, and connects over a million users a day.
Prescience: Products that know what you want to do before you know what you want to do
My mission is to transform our relationship to technology and how software is designed. At HP, I created a new product development method (SWIFT, a forerunner of today’s Agile Development methods) which shortened development time by up to 70%. I also was recognized for my pioneering work inventing Prescient Agents that raised the bar for application usability for the entire computing industry. This work made things better for both engineers and the users of technology.
Don’t turn a deaf ear
I’m also passionate about ears. My daughter and I have childhood hearing loss, and my father has hearing loss due to age, as many will. Ear specialists are reporting hearing loss in younger and younger clients due to the increased use of earphones, often for hours a day. Current mass-produced poorly fitting ear gear contributes to hearing loss; people will turn the volume up to to hear their music or phone call over the noise around them. Custom fit ear gear naturally blocks out the surrounding noise, the lower volume prevents ear damage, and it’s comfortable and secure.
I’m currently developing technology so custom fit ear gear can be made at retail locations, and at a low cost. This can bring custom fit ear gear to all people, bringing comfort and protecting their hearing. Local production also creates local jobs, and eliminates the environmental impact of shipping products long distances, stocking warehouses and stores, and excess packaging. Custom fit products are those we love best so lets make everything more customized, right at the point of sale.
I’m always looking for ways to use technology to make people’s lives easier, and make the world a better place. I love the challenge of bringing business, technology and dreams together to invent a new future.
One of my favorite recommendations is from Mattison Fitzgerald who is an entrepreneur, fine artist and landscape architectural designer:
“Scott is the dreamer you want on your dream team.” — Mattison Fitzgerald, start-up founder
Who inspires you?
Everyone dreams, but not equally. The discoverers, inventors, and entrepreneurs, are dreamers of the day, who don’t merely dream, but also dare to do. I am curious: who are people that inspire you to rock the world?
Please share yours inspirations with me.