Way back in 1972, an inventor named Andreas Pavel created the stereobelt. It was the first portable audio cassette player, but no one seemed to have any interest.
The story goes that Pavel talked to major companies like Yamaha, Sony and Philips. Each had the same message: “nobody wants to walk around with headphones on their ears.”
These days, mobile music is a booming business. A promotional section of Nokia’s website gives a timeline:
1976: Marantz releases the Marantz Superscope, the first of what would later become known as a boomboxes. It included an AM/FM tuner, cassette recorder, and “stereo matrix” (wide effect) through its 2-way, 4 speaker system.
1984: Sony releases the first portable CD Player, the Discman D-50. The release of the D-50 sparks huge public interest in CDs as an audio format, causing the CD industry to experience dramatic growth.
2006: In the first three months of the year, Nokia sells over 15 million MP3 capable mobile phones, making Nokia the world’s leading supplier of MP3 players. The Nokia 3250 is the first of the XpressMusic series of mobile phones, which goes on to sell tens of millions worldwide.
So what about Andreas Pavel? Didn’t he come up with the idea first? According to a New York times article, not only did this man deserve credit but he finally got his just desserts:
Mr. Pavel invented the device known today as the Walkman. But it took more than 25 years of battling the Sony Corporation and others in courts and patent offices around the world before he finally won the right to say it: Andreas Pavel invented the portable personal stereo player.
He persisted, warning Sony that he would file new suits in every country where he had patented his invention, and in 2003, after another round of negotiations, the company agreed to settle out of court.
Mr. Pavel declined to say how much Sony was obliged to pay him, citing a confidentiality clause. But European press accounts said Mr. Pavel had received a cash settlement for damages in the low eight figures and was now also receiving royalties on some Walkman sales.
Failure is the secret to success. Everyone tried to tell Andreas Pavel that headphones were a stupid idea. But he persisted, and even when other companies tried to sell them, he took them to court. It may have taken 25 years of failure but Pavel finally found success. If no one likes your idea, that just might mean you are well ahead of your time.
No related posts.