Larry Fishman, founder and president of Fishman, stopped by “Breakfast of Champions” at The 2017 NAMM Show. There, NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond interviewed Fishman—the mind behind multiple groundbreaking products—to hear his insights on innovation.
After discussing the early days of his company, Fishman shared his process for developing new products and technologies.
“I have a process that works for me because I get bored really easily,” he said. “I watch some people work on projects, and they go, ‘OK, I’m going to do this and this and this and this.’ And they plan it out step by step. And it often takes weeks before they come to a conclusion. And if it doesn’t work, you’re really disappointed, and I hate disappointment.
“So for me, the process is, ‘OK, I want to make a new transducer.’ I’ll start on five probable designs at once. I get them all going on the workbench. That way, when I can find the quiet time, we can go in and really get the juices going. I can work on one, bring it to a certain point, find out if it’s working or not. If it’s kind of working but not really that satisfying, it gives me an idea. And I can transfer it to the next one. I keep doing this parallel thing. That way, at the end of my work session, I’m never disappointed. I didn’t spend three weeks on one thing that was a dead end.
“They kind of all mix together, and the ideas feed off of each other. And I think part of it is because I played improvisational music in jazz bands for so long that there was no fear of the unknown.”
Fishman also mentioned an unusual source of inspiration: the patent library. There, he often studies the latest patents to see where technology is heading and get energized by new ideas.
“For me, it gets me involved in an intellectual pursuit that absolutely shows me things that I would never see before,” Fishman said.