Audio Everywhere was born February 2012. It all started when I was working out at my gym and wanted to hear the TV. I walked up to the front desk and asked how I could hear the TV. They said that I needed to get on the treadmill and plug in. I replied that I had already done my cardio and wanted to go over to the weight machines. The guy at the desk said, that’s all right; the jacks in the cardio gear are probably broken anyhow. (Later I learned from the maintenance man that he replaces 20 jacks on cardio equipment every month.) Holding up my iPhone I said, why can’t I just hear it on this? “Great idea,” he said, “but no.”
“Great idea.” I was on the lookout for a great idea. I had been living and working in Silicon Valley for 15 years and had done many things over a long career. I had been a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at M.I.T., a visiting senior researcher at Hitachi Central Research Lab in Tokyo, Director of Electronics Technology at DARPA, and a Group Vice President and later CTO of a Fortune 500 company. I had started a systems company with my father and brother. I had, well, you get the idea. Lots of stuff, but I had never done the Silicon Valley start-up thing even though I was here. Thus, for the previous year I had been on the lookout for my next adventure so when the guy at the front desk said, “great idea,” I was primed. That would be my “new thing.”
Little known fact: I am mentioned in a footnote in the New New Thing by Michael Lewis. My 15 ms of fame?
At my next workout I walked over to the free weights area and there were a bunch of jocks sitting on benches with ear buds in their ears watching a game on TV. But there was no connection between the ear buds and the TV. I am thinking, this is not that hard to solve. (Like everything else, “not that hard” means not too hard to get a prototype working. It is always hard to build a robust product.)
Later I am out on the town and walk into a sports bar. There are 50 or so screens and about a dozen different shows, and music coming over the speakers. No one can hear their show. This is a second great application for Wi-Fi Audio—I am getting pumped. Patent applications followed soon thereafter and the game was on. With Audio.