I recently met with a group for the first time and one of them said “ Good to meet a fellow Foreigner fan”. To my puzzled look, he pulled out a copy of my book and pointed out I had invoked their hit, Jukebox Hero in the preface. The next guy told me he loved the sax solo in their number Urgent.
So, I told him a bit of folklore around the song. The band was recording in New York in late 70s when they heard the famous Junior Walker was performing that night a few blocks from the recording studio. Junior had never heard of Foreigner, but the group promised a pretty good payday for one song. They played the raw track for him and asked him to improvise a solo. After a single listening, he amazed the group by cutting one of the most memorable sax solos in rock history in one take....
In the namesake movie, the Kate Beckinsale character defines serendipity as a “fortunate accident”. That chance meeting revived Junior’s career and rocketed Foreigner to rock stardom.
Nothing fortunate about the accident in Japan, but as I interview a number of companies for my next book, I am hearing tech supply chain executives scramble to minimize disruption – Japanese suppliers provide an amazing array of electronics and other parts - to their businesses. The adrenalin is palpable in their voices. It gives them a chance to rethink parts, suppliers – innovate in new directions.
Last year during another accident I wrote “The mysteries of physics at the bottom of the ocean should attract another group of brave scientists. Environmentalists say this is a wake up call. As an engineer, from a very different perspective, I say yes it is - for a new world of discovery.” Indeed, I blogged later about BP’s use of satellite imagery, wave gliders, asset tracking sensors during the spill.
In our text books, supply chains are perfectly synchronized. Our forecasts are pretty darned accurate. The reality is how we react to bumps in the road – fortunate and unfortunate – is increasingly where we earn our paychecks.
Helps to fine tune those serendipity sensors!