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Odd Question

k0wa@swbell.net

I am a history buff and I like to read historical accounts.  I've been reading
about how some ham radio manufacturers got started.  I wonder if there is an
"official" historical document/story/narrative about how Elecraft got started
the history from inception to now.

Odd...I know.  But, I find them all interesting.

Lee - K0WA



 In our day and age it seems that Common Sense is in short supply.  If you don't
have any Common Sense - get some Common Sense and use it.  If you can't find any
Common Sense, ask for help from somebody who has some Common Sense.  Is Common
Sense divine?

Common Sense is the image of the Creator expressing revealed truth in my mind.
-  John W. (Kansas)
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Re: Odd Question

David Pratt
Lee - There is an excellent PowerPoint presentation which gives a lot of
background about Elecraft and the guys who run it.
http://www.elecraft.com/manual/Elecraft_Slides2.ppt

73 de David G4DMP

In a recent message, Lee Buller <[hidden email]> writes
>I am a history buff and I like to read historical accounts.  I've been reading
>about how some ham radio manufacturers got started.  I wonder if there is an
>"official" historical document/story/narrative about how Elecraft got started
>the history from inception to now.
--
 + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +
 | David M Pratt, Kippax, Leeds.   |
 | Website: http://www.g4dmp.co.uk |
 + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +



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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

wayne burdick
Administrator
In reply to this post by k0wa@swbell.net
Lee Buller wrote:

> I am a history buff and I like to read historical accounts. I've  
> been reading
> about how some ham radio manufacturers got started. I wonder if  
> there is an
> "official" historical document/story/narrative about how Elecraft  
> got started
> the history from inception to now.

Hi Lee,

Here's my account.

* * *

Elecraft grew out of an extended conversation Eric and I were having  
about
whether a "modular" transceiver could be designed that would emulate the
very popular do-it-yourself PC. The idea was to have a basic radio  
that could
be customized as needed by the user. Could this lead to a successful  
startup?

We knew there were many risks. But both of us had issues with our jobs  
at
the time, so we dreamed up a company name and proceeded to give up our
nights and weekends in pursuit of this idea.

Eric and I collaborated on the first design--the K2--which represented a
synthesis of our two philosophies. I had recently designed other QRP  
kits,
including the NorCal 40A, Sierra, and SST. I wanted the K2 to be easy to
build and operate, small in size, very power-efficient, and have a
clean, visually-appealing design. Eric was a DX enthusiast and
consequently wanted the K2 to have excellent receiver performance and
"big-rig" operating features.

We discussed the design for weeks, mostly by e-mail (since we live an
hour apart), but also during the occasional walk on the beach. At one
point we suddenly realized that what we were proposing to design was the
"ultimate Field Day rig," a true dual-purpose (home/field) radio. In
fact we had done Field Day together for several years, and took note of
what we really wanted: bullet-proof receiver; internal battery; and an
internal automatic antenna with two antenna jacks (for two orthogonal
long wires). The year before starting the K2 design, we operated FD with
a Sierra and two antenna tuners and an A/B switch--we were committed to
cleaning up this act!

In October, 1997, my wife Lillian helped me build a foam core mockup of
the proposed K2 design. I drew photo-realistic color renderings of the
front and rear panels, printed them out, and glued them to the foam.
We even had early K2 PCB artwork glued to the interior surfaces. The
entire assembly was held together with sewing pins. It still sits on a
shelf above my lab bench.

On October 20th, Eric and I announced our intention to start Elecraft at
Pacificon, a major California hamfest. The room was packed, and my guess
is that by now, probably 60-70% of the 150 people who were in that room
bought K2s. We showed off the mockup and took lots of questions.

The way we introduced the name of the K2 was something of a joke. Having
design the Sierra and spawned something of a rash of rigs named for
mountain ranges (by NorCal and other QRP groups), I swore I'd never
name another rig after a mountain. So we suggested naming our new rig
after the millennium: the Elecraft "2K". Since this was a QRP crowd, the
irony was not lost on them--that's the model of a famous high-power
linear amplifier! So we said, "OK, let's reverse the characters--K2.
OOPS, another mountain...."

 From that moment we started working nonstop on the design, and,  
frankly,
compromising our day jobs. Our design skills were very complimentary.
Although I had been designing radios for some time, my degree is in
Cognitive Science, so I focused on the overall packaging and
user-interface scheme. I also started writing firmware for the several
microcontrollers to be used. Eric's degree is in EE, and he's meticulous
about measuring performance. We each prototyped different parts of the
circuit, and after many phone calls and e-mails, met approximately in
the middle. The basic design was completed in Spring, 1998.

One thing that really can't be overstated is how important receiver
performance was to both of us, but especially Eric, Mr. DX. While I was
completing the PCB layouts and chassis mechanical design, Eric was busy
duplicating the ARRL's test lab. So, at about the time one rig was ready
for test, we had a means of verifying performance and making final
changes. Later, the ARRL tested a K2, and confirmed our excellent
results. (At that time, the K2 had the best close-in dynamic range ever
measured by the ARRL lab.)

We then sold 100 K2s as "Field Test" units, a strategy that has paid off
time and again as we've released new products. The K2 was into full
production early in 1999. An unsung heroine was Eric's wife, Lerma, who
helped get our act on the road -- to Dayton and beyond. She was (and
still is) our most dedicated roadie, taking orders, keeping us wallowing
in healthy snacks, and not letting us forget when it was time to go
do a talk.

By that point, Eric and I had both quit our other jobs. Eric, who had  
been
a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for over a decade, started
focussing on business issues. He pretty much ran things at our
headquarters, originally in Aptos. I chose to work at home (Belmont,  
closer
to San Francisco) and do most of the design work. This arrangement is
perfect for both of us: I get plenty of quiet time to think about design
issues, and Eric enjoys the excitement of day-to-day business
operations. He likes to "design the business."

The K1 design was again a collaboration between us, but by then our
style of interaction was set: We would spend a lot of time brainstorming
together, then I'd go off and build a prototype while Eric handled
operations. Finally, we'd come back together to do testing and solve any
lingering problems. (I kid Eric that we're the Lennon and McCartney of
radio design. He still wants to know which one of us which.)

I thought of the K1 as my "baby," in that it allowed me to come full
circle from some of my very early multi-band QRP designs (See "The
Safari 4," in QEX Magazine, Oct/Nov/Dec 1990). The idea was for it to be
a baby brother of the K2, optimized for lightweight portable operation,
CW only, and yet with the same "look and feel" as the K2. We also
figured we needed an entry-level rig.

We have grown considerably since then, adding new engineers and support
staff so Eric and I could ditch some of the many hats we each wore  
when we
first started. Key early additions included Lisa Jones, our tireless  
office
manager; the intrepid Paul Russell in purchasing; and Gary Surrency  
(quite
the electronics wiz) in customer support. Sometime later Bob Friess,  
N6CM,
joined the team, helping us with the 100-W amp for the K2, as well as  
creating
our line of transverters and most of our mini-modules. Bob is an  
expert in
high-power and high-frequency RF design.

A major milestone in our history was the KDSP2 option for the K2. Lyle
Johnson, KK7P, became known to us *after* he had mostly completed this
highly versatile DSP unit. He reverse-engineered the auxBus protocol  
and made
the KDSP2 behave as if it were a KAF2, which plugged into the same spot.
He showed it to us, and we immediately adopted both the product and Lyle
himself.

Lyle's knowledge of DSP would help propel the K3 forward. It had
actually been on the drawing board for a long time. But a funny thing
happened along the way to the K3: the KX1. I was a little leery of  
jumping
right into the K3, which we knew would be a mostly surface-mount design.
So we had a bit of fun in 2003 and created a multi-band backpacking
rig that had *some* SMDs, but was still mostly through-hole.

(For more on the KX1, see  http://www.elecraft.com/KX1/N6KR_KX1_History.html.)

The T1 autotuner, another test vehicle for new fabrication techniques,  
was
of this same vintage. The T1's optional control cable for the FT817 was
the most difficult things I'd ever built, with a dozen 0402-sized  
parts packed
onto a fingernail-sized PCB inside a mini-DIN connector. After that  
trial,
I was ready for anything. Bring on the SMDs!

The K3 design evolved rapidly with Bob Friess and Lyle on the project,  
and
we began serious work on it in 2004. The stakes were high, and our  
goal was
to beat the K2 by a wide margin. Eric was instrumental in refining the  
feature
set. He also scaled up our lab gear, since even testing such a radio  
would
prove challenging (due to its high dynamic range). While Lyle and I  
dug in on
system architecture, Bob prototyped the RF/IF strip, including the 10-
W and
100-W amp modules. Packaging was a major challenge; I had to design  
everything
from scratch, including the knobs, display, switches, etc. The  
learning curve
was steep, and we were all back to wearing a lot more hats. Lyle and I
settled into firmware development (MCU for me, DSP for him) in 2006,  
and by
2007 we were ready to commit to a production schedule.

We had a fateful meeting about production early in 2007 with our PCB  
assembler
in Monterey. I'll never forget the look on the face of the owner when we
told him what we were going to do. He said, "Wow. This is really big for
you guys, isn't it." Yes, it was. The commitment to parts inventory  
alone
was pretty staggering. We all signed up that day (not quite a blood  
ritual,
but that's how it felt), opened our wallets, and prayed.

Of course we had such great customers, and such enthusiastic field  
testers,
that we were pretty sure the risks were worth it. Somehow our core  
focus group
of about a dozen VIP contesters and DXers managed to keep the project  
secret
right up until the last minute, and we caught everyone by surprise  
when we
announced the K3 later in 2007.

Clearly there's a Part II to this story featuring many of our more  
recently
added staff and newer products. But for now, back to my bench.

73,
Wayne
N6KR










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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Jim Brown-10
On 4/20/2011 2:44 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> Here's my account.

VERY interesting, Wayne.  That fills in an important gap for me -- I had
not realized that Eric had the serious EE background that he does.  But
that also makes another point that I've long felt about being a good
chief executive -- to do it really well, you need not only a solid biz
background, but also a solid technical understanding of every aspect of
the business you're trying to run.  Clearly, he has all of that -- one
of the things that has impressed me the most about Elecraft is a near
complete absence of dumb business or marketing decisions!

73, Jim K9YC
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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Alan Bloom
Elecraft reminds me of what Hewlett Packard company must have been like
in the early days.  Two engineering buddies start a company in their
garage.  One (Dave Packard in the case of HP, Eric in the case of
Elecraft) gravitates toward the business end of the enterprise while the
other (Bill Hewlett, Wayne) concentrates on the engineering.

I wasn't around in the early days of HP, but maybe someday when Elecraft
is a multi-billion-dollar corporation I'll be able to say that I knew
Eric and Wayne way back when.  :=)

Alan N1AL


On Wed, 2011-04-20 at 15:51 -0700, Jim Brown wrote:

> On 4/20/2011 2:44 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> > Here's my account.
>
> VERY interesting, Wayne.  That fills in an important gap for me -- I had
> not realized that Eric had the serious EE background that he does.  But
> that also makes another point that I've long felt about being a good
> chief executive -- to do it really well, you need not only a solid biz
> background, but also a solid technical understanding of every aspect of
> the business you're trying to run.  Clearly, he has all of that -- one
> of the things that has impressed me the most about Elecraft is a near
> complete absence of dumb business or marketing decisions!
>
> 73, Jim K9YC
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>


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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

P.B. Christensen
>  I'll be able to say that I knew Eric and Wayne way back when.  :=)

I want to make sure they remember me at the time of their IPO.

Paul, W9AC

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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Bill K9YEQ
In reply to this post by Alan Bloom
Alan,
I am still waiting on them to go public so I can get a few shares.  :-)

73,
Bill
K9YEQ


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Alan Bloom
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:14 PM
To: [hidden email]
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Elecraft reminds me of what Hewlett Packard company must have been like in
the early days.  Two engineering buddies start a company in their garage.
One (Dave Packard in the case of HP, Eric in the case of
Elecraft) gravitates toward the business end of the enterprise while the
other (Bill Hewlett, Wayne) concentrates on the engineering.

I wasn't around in the early days of HP, but maybe someday when Elecraft is
a multi-billion-dollar corporation I'll be able to say that I knew Eric and
Wayne way back when.  :=)

Alan N1AL


On Wed, 2011-04-20 at 15:51 -0700, Jim Brown wrote:

> On 4/20/2011 2:44 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> > Here's my account.
>
> VERY interesting, Wayne.  That fills in an important gap for me -- I
> had not realized that Eric had the serious EE background that he does.  
> But that also makes another point that I've long felt about being a
> good chief executive -- to do it really well, you need not only a
> solid biz background, but also a solid technical understanding of
> every aspect of the business you're trying to run.  Clearly, he has
> all of that -- one of the things that has impressed me the most about
> Elecraft is a near complete absence of dumb business or marketing
decisions!

>
> 73, Jim K9YC
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net Please help support this email
> list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>


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Elecraft History

N7EDK
In reply to this post by k0wa@swbell.net
Thank you Wayne for that wonderful story and background on Elecraft ! While I don't have the background , experience and understanding of  radio electronics that so many of your customers here have, I just knew Elecraft was something special.
You and Eric and your whole staff are nothing short of great, as are your radio's ! I have yet to build one, but own a K1, KX1 and have a K2 being built for me in it's final stages. I love the KX1 the best so far, but can't wait to get my hands on the K2 !
I don't see a K3 in the near future, I want to get use to the K2 and come to understand it completely first.
Thanks again for the history lesson, and outstanding company, as my kids say....you guys rock !
72/73 de Ed N7EDK
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Re: Odd Question

Nr4c
In reply to this post by k0wa@swbell.net
This has probably been mentioned, but there is some history of the company
on the website.

...bc  nr4c

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Buller [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:16 PM
To: Elecraft Reflector
Subject: [Elecraft] Odd Question


I am a history buff and I like to read historical accounts.  I've been
reading
about how some ham radio manufacturers got started.  I wonder if there is an

"official" historical document/story/narrative about how Elecraft got
started
the history from inception to now.

Odd...I know.  But, I find them all interesting.

Lee - K0WA



 In our day and age it seems that Common Sense is in short supply.  If you
don't
have any Common Sense - get some Common Sense and use it.  If you can't find
any
Common Sense, ask for help from somebody who has some Common Sense.  Is
Common
Sense divine?

Common Sense is the image of the Creator expressing revealed truth in my
mind.
-  John W. (Kansas)
______________________________________________________________
Elecraft mailing list
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Subject: Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Edward R Cole
In reply to this post by k0wa@swbell.net
If you didn't cut n paste n save this?  YOU should.

I first saw the K3 at our own little hamfest (maybe 50-people) when
N6TR showed it off.  The dual receiver and low phase-noise receiver
impressed me for application to eme.  Tree answered many of my
technical questions.  At the time I had no idea I would/could ever
own one.  The Flex-5000 caught my eye around the same time.  I was
the first? ham in the world to get the new SDR-IQ (serial-002) in
Jan. 2007, so SDR's were very much in my mind.

What a story!  I think there are many of us who thought about making
the perfect ham radio...but?  Nice that "someone(s)" did!


73, Ed - KL7UW, WD2XSH/45
======================================
BP40IQ   500 KHz - 10-GHz   www.kl7uw.com
EME: 144-1.4kw, 432-100w, 1296-testing*, 3400-winter?
DUBUS Magazine USA Rep [hidden email]
======================================
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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

N5GE
In reply to this post by Bill K9YEQ


Not being public may be one of the reasons they are so successfull.  Outside
stockholders can make life miserable for companies like Elecraft.

Many privatly held businesses award uotstanding employees stock as rewards for
their service.

Tom, N5GE

On Wed, 20 Apr 2011 21:08:45 -0500, "Bill (K9YEQ)" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Alan,
>I am still waiting on them to go public so I can get a few shares.  :-)
>
>73,
>Bill
>K9YEQ
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [hidden email]
>[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Alan Bloom
>Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:14 PM
>To: [hidden email]
>Cc: [hidden email]
>Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Odd Question [Elecraft history]
>
>Elecraft reminds me of what Hewlett Packard company must have been like in
>the early days.  Two engineering buddies start a company in their garage.
>One (Dave Packard in the case of HP, Eric in the case of
>Elecraft) gravitates toward the business end of the enterprise while the
>other (Bill Hewlett, Wayne) concentrates on the engineering.
>
>I wasn't around in the early days of HP, but maybe someday when Elecraft is
>a multi-billion-dollar corporation I'll be able to say that I knew Eric and
>Wayne way back when.  :=)
>
>Alan N1AL
>
>
>On Wed, 2011-04-20 at 15:51 -0700, Jim Brown wrote:
>> On 4/20/2011 2:44 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>> > Here's my account.
>>
>> VERY interesting, Wayne.  That fills in an important gap for me -- I
>> had not realized that Eric had the serious EE background that he does.  
>> But that also makes another point that I've long felt about being a
>> good chief executive -- to do it really well, you need not only a
>> solid biz background, but also a solid technical understanding of
>> every aspect of the business you're trying to run.  Clearly, he has
>> all of that -- one of the things that has impressed me the most about
>> Elecraft is a near complete absence of dumb business or marketing
>decisions!
>>
>> 73, Jim K9YC
>> ______________________________________________________________
>> Elecraft mailing list
>> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>>
>> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net Please help support this email
>> list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>>
>
>
>______________________________________________________________
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>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
>This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
>Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>
>______________________________________________________________
>Elecraft mailing list
>Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
>This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
>Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html

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Amateur Radio Operator N5GE
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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Bill K9YEQ
My comment was tongue in cheek.  I don't expect Elecraft to do anything but
keep offering great stuff to its niche.  Just want them to keep up the great
business of making the stuff I have always wished I could have at a
reasonable price and let me be part of the building process.

73,
Bill
K9YEQ

-----Original Message-----
Not being public may be one of the reasons they are so successfull.  Outside
stockholders can make life miserable for companies like Elecraft.

Many privatly held businesses award uotstanding employees stock as rewards
for their service.

Tom, N5GE

>Alan,
>I am still waiting on them to go public so I can get a few shares.  :-)
>
>73,
>Bill
>K9YEQ
>

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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

WA2SI
In reply to this post by k0wa@swbell.net
As a K1, K2/100 and prospective K3/100 owner, I want to thank you for that historical background of Elecraft. There's no doubt that Elecraft owners enjoy a very special relationship/bond that the Yaesu/Icom/Kenwood crowd will likely never know. As always, take care es...

Vy 73 de Bert WA2SI

PS. My 10 year old son recently became WA2CJC and has inherited my K1. His first contact was with HC2SL on 10m using my K2/100... CW, of course. Love that mojo! BTW, his 13 year old sister became W2SSC on the same date.

"...and all the pieces matter."
-- Det. Lester Freamon, BPD

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

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OT--Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

w7aqk
In reply to this post by k0wa@swbell.net
Some private companies may do that, but not many, and not that much.  There
are significant potential problems to doing that.  The most obvious is to
avoid diluting family/closely held control, which may not be a problem if
such awards are minor.  However, it also exposes the company to problems of
how to deal fairly with these shareholders, since there is not active market
for the stock.

A much bigger problem is that, if you get too many shareholders (and it
doesn't take all that many), you can become subject to the need to file with
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  That can be quite onerous.
This is a big incentive for companies to "go private"--to avoid the need to
go through all the extra compliance, etc.

The most common way to get around all this is to issue what is called
"phantom stock", or "shadow stock".  These are merely certificates that
entitle the holder to share, at some usually defined rate, in dividends and
stock value (value being determined by formula).  There are typically no
voting rights, and it's not real stock ownership, thus no capital gains
benefit when you cash out.  Since it's not real stock, there are no SEC
rules to worry about.

So, you usually have to look pretty hard to find a private company that uses
real stock for bonuses or other compensation.  Those that do, do it probably
only for a handful of critical employees.

Dave W7AQK




-------------------------
Tom, N5GE said:
Not being public may be one of the reasons they are so successfull.  Outside
stockholders can make life miserable for companies like Elecraft.

Many privatly held businesses award uotstanding employees stock as rewards
for
their service.

Tom, N5GE

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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

Guy, K2AV
In reply to this post by N5GE
I certainly agree that stock speculators have no interest in the long
term outcome of a company. Being private does help large established
companies avoid the whipsaw of investors who can do real damage when
stock prices vary.

An example of this is SAS Institute, the largest privately held
software company in the world with two decades of double digit growth
until 2010, including the two prior recessions, when the worst
recession since the great depression held them back to only 8% growth.
 Their strategy in downturns is to pour on the research when competing
companies are laying off and go cherry-pick talented people out of
work.  3+ billion a year and over 20,000 employees worldwide is the
result. SAS and it's owner have been on a cash basis for years, and
having cash to spend in a downturn has proven very useful, allowing
them to expand when acquisitions are cheap. They keep employees, with
a ridiculously low turnover rate far below the industry norm, due to
the owner's attitude that the employees are his main asset.  They've
taken the careful conservative path to a 3+ billion per year company.

What SAS and Elecraft have in common is private ownership, running on
a cash basis, staying within one's means, significant technological
innovation, purposeful interaction through their technical support
methods with a loyal customer base who know they have real input into
what comes next, and real dedication to the purposes that uncovers.

I'd say Elecraft is keeping damn good company.

73, Guy

On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM,  <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> Not being public may be one of the reasons they are so successfull.  Outside
> stockholders can make life miserable for companies like Elecraft.
>
> Many privatly held businesses award uotstanding employees stock as rewards for
> their service.
>
> Tom, N5GE
>
> On Wed, 20 Apr 2011 21:08:45 -0500, "Bill (K9YEQ)" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>Alan,
>>I am still waiting on them to go public so I can get a few shares.  :-)
>>
>>73,
>>Bill
>>K9YEQ
>>
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: [hidden email]
>>[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Alan Bloom
>>Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:14 PM
>>To: [hidden email]
>>Cc: [hidden email]
>>Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Odd Question [Elecraft history]
>>
>>Elecraft reminds me of what Hewlett Packard company must have been like in
>>the early days.  Two engineering buddies start a company in their garage.
>>One (Dave Packard in the case of HP, Eric in the case of
>>Elecraft) gravitates toward the business end of the enterprise while the
>>other (Bill Hewlett, Wayne) concentrates on the engineering.
>>
>>I wasn't around in the early days of HP, but maybe someday when Elecraft is
>>a multi-billion-dollar corporation I'll be able to say that I knew Eric and
>>Wayne way back when.  :=)
>>
>>Alan N1AL
>>
>>
>>On Wed, 2011-04-20 at 15:51 -0700, Jim Brown wrote:
>>> On 4/20/2011 2:44 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>>> > Here's my account.
>>>
>>> VERY interesting, Wayne.  That fills in an important gap for me -- I
>>> had not realized that Eric had the serious EE background that he does.
>>> But that also makes another point that I've long felt about being a
>>> good chief executive -- to do it really well, you need not only a
>>> solid biz background, but also a solid technical understanding of
>>> every aspect of the business you're trying to run.  Clearly, he has
>>> all of that -- one of the things that has impressed me the most about
>>> Elecraft is a near complete absence of dumb business or marketing
>>decisions!
>>>
>>> 73, Jim K9YC
>>> ______________________________________________________________
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>>> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
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>>> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>>>
>>> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net Please help support this email
>>> list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>>>
>>
>>
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>
> ______________________________________________________________
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Re: Odd Question [Elecraft history]

wc1m
In reply to this post by N5GE
There are a number of reasons why going public profoundly changes companies,
often for the worse, but I would rank the influence of "outside
stockholders" as fairly low among them. In fact, in the case of many
privately-held startups, it's pressure from a handful of outside
stockholders that keeps management on its toes.

I think the most common problem for any growing company, public or private,
is size. Once you get to about 100 employees, the management structure has
to change in a big way. When that happens, the entrepreneurial spirit,
everybody-knows-everybody camaraderie, focus on quality, focus on the
customer, and can-do attitude tend to give way to approval hierarchies,
competition for position within the hierarchy, focus on compensation versus
job satisfaction, focus on numbers instead of quality, petty personal
agendas, and so forth. Maintaining the positive aspects of the previous
culture and hiring people who fit in with it become much more problematic.
One reason this is a characteristic of public companies is that a company
has to be relatively large to go public these days.

This is not to say that there aren't other negative aspects to being a
public company. First among them is the market's relentless focus on
short-term results. Management is expected to generate ever-increasing
returns and never miss their quarterly projections. This results in
sacrificing long-term goals to please the market, and sometimes "financial
engineering" or even cooking-the-books to make the numbers. This attitude
filters down the org chart and infects the employees such that many of them
are focused on the wrong things.

I'll admit this is a somewhat exaggerated description, and some public
companies have managed to figure out how to avoid these pitfalls to some
extent. Some do it through brilliant management, some by hiring only the
best and brightest, some by insisting that the long-term is more important
than the short term. But even in those companies, something precious that
smaller entrepreneurial enterprises have is lost.

Having been through a complete startup-to-exit cycle with my own software
company back in the '90s, and having spent 15 years coaching, managing and
investing in other teams doing the same, I have to say that I much prefer
the small company environment. The real trick is figuring out how grow while
preserving the good things that made you successful. From my observations of
the way Wayne and Eric conduct themselves and run Elecraft, I have great
hopes that they will be among the few who figure it out.

73, Dick WC1M

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 9:06 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Odd Question [Elecraft history]



Not being public may be one of the reasons they are so successfull.  Outside
stockholders can make life miserable for companies like Elecraft.

Many privatly held businesses award uotstanding employees stock as rewards
for
their service.

Tom, N5GE

On Wed, 20 Apr 2011 21:08:45 -0500, "Bill (K9YEQ)" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Alan,
>I am still waiting on them to go public so I can get a few shares.  :-)
>
>73,
>Bill
>K9YEQ
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [hidden email]
>[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Alan Bloom
>Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:14 PM
>To: [hidden email]
>Cc: [hidden email]
>Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Odd Question [Elecraft history]
>
>Elecraft reminds me of what Hewlett Packard company must have been like in
>the early days.  Two engineering buddies start a company in their garage.
>One (Dave Packard in the case of HP, Eric in the case of
>Elecraft) gravitates toward the business end of the enterprise while the
>other (Bill Hewlett, Wayne) concentrates on the engineering.
>
>I wasn't around in the early days of HP, but maybe someday when Elecraft is
>a multi-billion-dollar corporation I'll be able to say that I knew Eric and
>Wayne way back when.  :=)
>
>Alan N1AL
>
>
>On Wed, 2011-04-20 at 15:51 -0700, Jim Brown wrote:
>> On 4/20/2011 2:44 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>> > Here's my account.
>>
>> VERY interesting, Wayne.  That fills in an important gap for me -- I
>> had not realized that Eric had the serious EE background that he does.  
>> But that also makes another point that I've long felt about being a
>> good chief executive -- to do it really well, you need not only a
>> solid biz background, but also a solid technical understanding of
>> every aspect of the business you're trying to run.  Clearly, he has
>> all of that -- one of the things that has impressed me the most about
>> Elecraft is a near complete absence of dumb business or marketing
>decisions!
>>
>> 73, Jim K9YC
>> ______________________________________________________________
>> Elecraft mailing list
>> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>>
>> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net Please help support this email
>> list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>>
>
>
>______________________________________________________________
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>
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>
>______________________________________________________________
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>Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
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>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
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