Saturday, May 12, 2007


Stan possessed the exceptional ability to drive technological challenges to their inevitable conclusion. There would be no speculation, suspicion or doubt; just proof, the naked answer to what was before just conjecture. “We will take away all the excuses”, he would say.

Stan had engineering spot on. He understood one could contemplate science and math until they were blue in the face; but at the end of the day, there wouldn’t be any value until something was realized. Stan preternaturally knew the silicon canvas to first principles. Bipolar, CMOS, PALs, ASICs, FPGAs they were all just technologies. Stanley’s passion was to build things for the keen end-value he saw; not simply because something was technically feasible.

We met in the early 1980s. Datacube was young and growing its offering of “frame-grabbers”, devices that could acquire and display frames of video images. These devices were being used in the first machine vision systems. A conventional CPU could not process the video data sufficiently fast and Stan was among the first to appreciate the opportunity to provide a solution. Stan saw the value in fast math and I knew some DSP. He said “Siegel, I’ll double your salary and make you a millionaire in a year”. He was true to at least one of those points.

Which reminds me of my favorite Stan aphorism: “Perception Is Reality”. Descartes and Kant may have noodled with this concept a bit; but Stanley really put it out of the park. Stan was his own gatekeeper between conflicting goals. On one hand there was the stark truth, frequently embodied in the practice of infinite iterative technology refinement. And on the other hand there was the charismatic entrepreneur needing to close a deal now. He used this insight to terrific advantage not just for himself, but unselfishly to those around him, to empower them and to protect them.

I’m blessed to have a quarter-century of “Stan stories” stored somewhere between by ears. My attorney reminds me to add that, when discussing these, I clearly state that I don’t recall these specifically and that this is only speculation. So we were all in this sushi bar and Stan said “You know, let me tell you…”.

Stan with Fredi, Bearsville, NY 1989

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