Dr. T isms now posted on YouTube


Dr T isms…now with crowd-sourced entries

Dr. T has provided us with the a set of short videos where he describes a collection of his management wisdom.  They are called Dr. T “isms”.

New: You can help “crowd source” new “isms” that you may have learned at National Instruments.  Scroll down to see the seven additional Dr. T’isms and fill in the comments form with your contribution or comments and we will update the list. You can also post them in the LinkedIn thread.

Employees and customers of National Instruments may recall many of these, where “The Genius of the And” is just one.

We’ve put teasers in the titles of the videos, so it gives you an opportunity to guess what the “ism” in the video is before you watch it.

Also, feel free to add examples of these “isms” in practice in the YouTube comments or in the comments on this nihistory website. And you may even recall some “isms” that are not in the following list!

Click on the videos in the list and enjoy!

  1. Genius in Fortune Cookie
  2. AND vs. OR
  3. Where should you start?
  4. The ambitious goal
  5. The … is the instrument
  6. Understand other Viewpoints
  7. Learn to fish
  8. Turtles take risks
  9. Understand Customer Needs
  10. Timely advice from mother
  11. The Will to Succeed
  12. Frugal?
  13. Trigger Happy
  14. Pessimist or Optimist?
  15. Complexity of Markets: Why?
  16. How not to play soccer
  17. Any Road will take you there
  18. How to Fell a Great Oak
  19. The most important stakeholder
  20. Where are the future customers?
  21. The Big and Little “I” of Integration
  22. PCID?
  23. Improve dumb luck chances
  24. Ecosystem
  25. Big Data: Is it a New Concept?
  26. The time for wine
  27. Few, simple rules
  28. Five Reasons for Success at NI:
  29. *How to conquer the Castle
  30. *How to beat the competitors
  31. *What are the hardest plans
  32. *They wanted a better BASIC
  33. *Extending TQM the NI Way
  34. Importance of Quarterly Earnings? to List

Crowd sourced Dr. T “isms”:

Contribute in the Comment box below with any Dr. T’isms you can recall!

  1. The Decisions Invariant Solution” (posted on Linked-in by Bob Mitchell:  6 months doesn’t go by without me telling someone this one (and giving Dr. T. credit for it in the process). As an engineer tasked with starting the new VXI product line in 1988, I ran across multiple engineering problems that I did not know how to solve. At first, I was the only software engineer on the project (when my boss quit 6 weeks after I started NI). When I asked Dr. T how he solved the toughest engineering problems that he didn’t know how to solve at first, he said “Look for the decision invariant solution”. My first reaction… “say what?”. It doesn’t sound like it makes any sense until you parse it out. You look to take actions that don’t require you to make decisions on what you don’t know or understand yet. Most problems have a common set of issues that you have to solve regardless. Take action on those first and the rest of the solution will expose itself as you go. I have used this in all facets of business and personal life. Thank you Dr. T.It also helped that since he didn’t know software, he asked Jeff K. to help, who sent Steve Rogers to help me. Steve was one of the best software engineers (and person in general), I ever met.
  2. The drivers are the ball-game” (posted by Carsten Thomsen): I consider this a corollary to “The Software is the Instrument”, because without good drivers, the software has no connection to the real world. This integration with NI’s own hardware and relevant third party hardware is the foundation of a truly useful architecture.
  3. “Good strategy is beating the s… out of the competition”  (posted by Carsten Thomsen): A great reflection of pragmatic, down-to-earth action oriented thinking.
  4. “Don’t get greedy” (posted by Carsten Thomsen): Dr. T. gently chided me with this statement, when I mentioned that with its strong grip on the GP-IB controller market, NI could easily raise controller prices.
  5. “If you can’t make margin on your hardware, you’d better find a software friend” (posted by Carsten Thomsen): Thus the combination of hardware plus associated software could make the goal of 75% gross margin.
  6. “I don’t like flying coach” (posted by Carsten Thomsen): and Dr. T. explained: “It would cost the company millions of dollars explaining and discussing with employees why only executives could fly business class.”
  7. “Don’t pull rank” (posted by Carsten Thomsen): I remember at a convention in Weisbaden, Germany, I was rooming with Dr. T, and in the morning he called American Airlines to hear if an upgrade was available on the flight back to Dallas. When they said “no”, he quietly said “thank you” and hung up.  He wanted to see how NI’s vendors treated all employees, with no favoritism, and for this reason, the company travel agency was instructed to not put a VIP flag in his record.

The 35 videos will Autoplay in this YouTube Playlist. Click in the upper right hand corner of the YouTube screen to see the entire playlist and select any individual video.

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