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Charting the Course to Success
If you are a couch potato, then there is a certain probability that you hear about Garmin for the first time. Meanwhile, it is a large and very successful corporation included in the index of the "five hundred key US companies" S&P 500…
Garmin was founded by two people, an American and a Taiwanese, who worked together in the eighties as electronic engineers in the American aircraft industry. In those years, Gary Burrell was the deputy chief of the engineering department at King Radio, which produced, among other things, radio navigation systems for aircraft. A new employee came to his department – Dr. Min Kao, who previously worked in several companies that worked with the US Army and NASA, on new technologies in this industry – navigation using satellite signals.
It was obvious to colleagues that the technology had a great future, including a commercial one. But management thought otherwise – it was busy reorganizing the business in connection with a series of acquisitions by larger companies.
Tired of persuading, Gary and Min in 1989 took all their savings, borrowed from friends and acquaintances, raised four million dollars – and opened their own company with a dozen engineers as employees.
The timing was right. The GPS system has just entered the second phase and has become available for civilian use. The army portable satellite receiver, which entered service just a year ago, weighed ten kilograms with batteries, and its interface was absolutely not user-friendly.
However, they failed to become pioneers – it took a year to develop their product, and during this time something appeared on the market. But this did not prevent commercial success – the first model of the company, the universal navigator for ships and aircraft ProNav 100, was so popular that it even dragged the company into a small copyright scandal. The competing company launched the product under the Navpro brand and threatened to sue for too similar names. I had to rename.
It is because of this curiosity that Garmin got its name – the new name was made up of the names of the founders. And then – the story of success and steady business expansion. In the 1991 Gulf War, American soldiers initially used their own money-bought Garmin GPS navigators – a contract with the army was not long in coming.
The company boldly entered new markets, and sometimes even created them. In 2003, they began making runners 'runners' wristwatches that keep track of their runs – well before the fashion of smartwatches and fitness bands. And in general, the company quickly realized that their main product – GPS-navigation – could be sold to a wide variety of customers, united only by the desire to travel, and that very specialized products could be offered to different segments of this market.
And now Garmin sells GPS navigators for a wide variety of conditions – combined with satellite phone and rescue beacon, built into dog collars and diving watches for golfers and cyclists, mobile homes and motorcycles, solutions for ordinary users. , for business and for the military … In addition to navigators, the company also produces a variety of sensors, as well as specialized computers for cyclists, wrist ballistic computers for shooters, marine sonars and radars, and even a bow sight with a laser rangefinder!
But, developing all these new directions, the company did not forget about where the founding fathers once started. Garmin manufactures avionics (aviation electronics) devices – from a specialized tablet that works out of the box and simply attaches to the steering wheel, to multifunctional control panels that are built into the cockpit, integrate with radars and autopilots – also from Garmin.
The latest model even has an emergency fully automatic landing – just press the red button and the autopilot will find a place to land and make it. This is a very useful function – a rich pensioner, the owner of a small airplane, may well become ill in flight, this has already happened many times.
However, Garmin products are found not only on small private jets, but also on more serious business aviation jets. In other words, the company, which began its journey practically in the garage in the eighties, today – as it should be in archetypal history – has become world famous, and its creators have taken places in the list of billionaires of the Forbes magazine.
Where did you take us, Hero Susanin?
It was necessary to tell in detail about the company's success story in order to explain how well they know how to make money. Garmin designers and engineers make quality devices so that buyers are willing to overpay for a brand with a good reputation. The company offers products tailored to specialized needs in order to enter niche markets. The leadership does not forget that the military pays well and that the investment in innovation pays off.
Finally, Garmin is well aware that just selling one product is not enough – you need to create an infrastructure so that customers can happily buy related products, additional accessories and subscribe to paid services that will make their lives more convenient.
For example, the flyGarmin service for updating aviation databases and the Garmin Pilot app, a multifunctional flight planning tool. Route routing, real-time weather forecasting, aviation-specific warnings – as well as reporting, calculating fuel consumption, and syncing it all across devices.
In short, this application turns your phone or tablet into a complete electronic flyer pad and greatly facilitates the navigational work necessary if the flight is anything more difficult than the entertainment at the flying club on weekends.
In Western countries, it is much easier to buy a private jet, get a pilot's license for it and fly on it than in Russia, and the number of such aircraft is, accordingly, much higher. This leads to the fact that it is necessary to somehow combine aviation realities, designed for professional pilots with long training, with the fact that they can also be used by amateur pilots. In practice, each pilot decides for himself how much he needs to learn aviation jargon and imitate professionals – and modern technology can greatly facilitate this task. But to do without them in which case it will be very unusual.
Garmin offers similar services to owners of boats and yachts, truck drivers and freight forwarding companies. A lot of fitness enthusiasts use their Garmin Connect service, which allows you to save, analyze and synchronize sports data between multiple devices – route, duration, heart rate graph. It also integrates with the popular Strava service – a kind of social network for runners, cyclists and other athletes.
And all these functions that many people need are processed on the company's servers.
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