Few things put research on the map like commercialization. While there are many ways that research can make impact, one sure way is to create a new product class. Often the more novel the research the more difficult the route to commercialize. One learns quickly the value of startup companies and patents when the driving research concept is novel enough to make the big companies hesitate and even ridicule it. The current success of MEMS timing products makes this hard to believe, but this was the state of MEMS-based timing and frequency control around the year 2000 and up through 2001, when I founded Discera with Rick Snyder (who years later became Governor of Michigan).


Discera was the very first company to commercialize micromechanical resonator technology for timing and frequency control applications. Discera dared to commercialize MEMS-based timing when the vast majority of onlookers dismissed the technology as “not stable enough” or “will never make it past 20 MHz”. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned from Discera is that life can be fun when people doubt what you are doing. Indeed, while sometimes annoying, naysayers can play an important role in maintaining entrepreneurial drive and preventing stagnation. In my humble opinion, If there are no naysayers, the research or product is probably not worth doing. None of the companies now in the MEMS-based timing space would be here if Discera had succumbed to critics and naysayers. Click the above link (coming soon) for a historical account of the formation, success, and acquiring of Discera.

One thing is for sure: There would be no MEMS-based timing products without the initial patents. (Don’t ever let anyone tell you that patents are not important. They are indispensable if your product is truly novel.) Click the following link for a list of my patents.