Reading Robert Scoble' s latest post, on how small teams can make a big difference within large companies, I thought about... the Agilent Mini-OTDR. This little box, which is not as sexy as the iPhone of course, was the GameBoy of his kind at its release back in 1996.
To make it short, this product was a breakthrough-paradigm shifting optical tester, inventing a brand new category - the so-called handhelds - for a brand new type of end-users : the fiber optics installers. Almost 12 years after its release, the Agilent Mini-OTDR is still the reference, as the two main competitors JDSU and EXFO (ever heard of those names ? ;-) even do copy & paste - including the naming system.
What's the link with Scoble' s post ? Small teams. The Mini-OTDR has been defined, designed, and engineered by a 6-people team, within the HP Optical Communications Division group (aka Agilent Photonic Test Division or something like that as of today). Take Scoble' s text, replace "Microsoft" by "HP", "Yahoo" by "EXFO" and you get the same picture.
Who said "Less Is More" ?...
post-scriptum : the hands carrying the Mini belong to my dear buddy Dieter *John* Gustedt, the guy who made the Agilent Modular Network Tester real.