"We choose to go to the moon in this decade. Not because it will be easy, but because it will be hard. And because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because the challenge is one, we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.” — John F. Kennedy, Rice University September 12, 1962
That speech represents the onset of the greatest example of peacetime cooperative partnership this country has ever seen. It was a partnership based on positive achievement not only for our country but for all mankind.
Companies like Lockheed, North American Aviation, IBM, and thousands of others put aside their differences and came together to achieve in less than eight years the literally groundbreaking goal of putting a man on the moon, then bringing him back safely to earth. And of course, in July 1969, the United States did exactly that; with five months to spare no less.
Now I call on our whole industry to follow that great example of achievement and do the same thing today. We need to come together in partnership to achieve great things.
We must put aside our differences, abandon our adversarial relationships, and come together in the spirit of partnership and active cooperation to develop strong and open partnerships that will free us from the burden of competition and salve us with the balm of cooperation. This leads to the comfortable liberation of working together to accomplish great things. These are accomplishments that are beyond us as individuals but possible as partners.
When it comes to building new and exciting electronics products, we must work together in this new and re-invigorated spirit of partnership.
The engineers and designers must open their doors and their minds to the fabricators, who then must do the same to the assemblers and the builders. In turn, we must all do the same with our vendors.
And perhaps the greatest and most effective partnerships will be with our competitors. Once again, I’m referring to the original example of partnership when the space program’s competitors came together for a great and powerful common cause of putting a man on the moon. The primary companies were all competitors who likely fought tooth and nail for contracts, now had to open their “vaults” to one another in a spirit of true cooperation.
As I have said before in this column, we need to open our hearts and minds to one another, and work together in trust to make our industry, the country, and the world a better place. If we agree to all work together as friendly competitors rather than hated competitors, we all benefit.
Not one of us in our industry can do everything for everyone; certainly, none of us are experts in everything. But if we can combine our areas of expertise, we can accomplish anything.
I have felt the spirit of cooperation the past few months as I have indeed watched competitors come together and start cooperations and partnership as they work on trying to accomplish things that neither of them could have done alone. Here are some things I feel encouraged by:
- PCBA and PCB companies work together toward developing complete solutions
- Two PCB companies met and checked out one another’s capabilities to decide which ones they could share to make them both stronger companies
- Webinars and seminars where designers and fabricators demonstrated how they were so much stronger as partners than as individuals
- Designers finally reaching out to fabricators asking for their opinion and their knowledge when it comes to the very best and most economical ways to design PCBs for manufacturing
- Laminate vendors join forces with fabricators to find better ways to come up with more viable ways to control impedance or thermal management
- PCBA companies working with OEMs and the component companies to combat the slow down and short falls of chips and other component companies, looking to find workarounds so that they can continue producing their end products on time
These are all positive signs that, like in the 1960s, companies have opened themselves to cooperative partnerships in all areas of electronics.