How ‘One Thing’ Made National Instruments Into a Billion-Dollar Company
Forty years after starting National Instruments Corp., co-founder James Truchard can trace the company’s vast success back to a single idea.
In 1976, while developing automated equipment for a sonar application, Truchard and his small engineering team at the University of Texas saw a need for an interface between test instruments and computers. Their solution -- a general purpose interface bus (GPIB) -- gradually evolved into the cornerstone of a business.
”The main thing we carried with us was a new way of doing instruments,” Truchard told Design News. “It was a singular idea -- the one thing that all of our future decisions were vetted against.”
Today, Truchard looks back on it and draws a parallel to the 2013 book, “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.” National Instruments' initial concept was a small domino that knocked over bigger dominoes, he said. In 2014, the “singular idea” resulted in $1.24 billion in revenue based on business in 50 countries.