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Leaving Apple, Pursuing a Dream

There are few people who leave a solid, productive career at Apple to start their own company.  Todd Beauchamp is one of the few, leaving Apple to fulfill the dream of starting his own company, In2Technologies.  That company has just come out with a consumer electronics home theater product called Unity, and it has already won an award for innovation.

Todd is a highly accomplished acoustic engineer. After working on projects for the US Navy, he joined American Technologies Corporation, ATC, in 1998.  At ATC, he was responsible for research and development of their advanced, cutting edge audio technologies.  Todd is the co-inventor of one of those, LRAD – Long Range Acoustic Device, which is one of the first devices  ever to project a concentrated beam of sound waves. It is used for hailing and signaling, and in the military and commercial sectors as a non-lethal deterrent.  It became famous for when it was used against pirates by the Queen Mary and other ships, and will be present with security forces at the London Olympics this summer.

At Apple, he ran the audio lab for the accessories group, responsible for anything connected to the iPod or iPad, and he worked on the final acoustics of the first iPhone.

He was responsible for the ubiquitous white Apple earbuds, the company’s highest shipped product ever at over 200 million units.

Todd completed two years of the Team, Management and Leadership Program in 2011 in San Jose. Kimchi Chow interviews him on his experience of the program and how participants can get the most out of it.

How did you come up with this business idea, and in which quarter?

The idea came from a dream I’ve had since 2004. I then faced some hurdles during that time, so I stopped. When I was in my 2nd quarter of Team, I brought this back as my project, and I pursued it throughout my 2 years of being on Team. Each quarter I reached a major milestone to fulfill my dream.

My project is about a product called Unity, a new home theater platform. It provides a great way for people to enjoy their audio & video everywhere in the world. As you know, music and  movies are a huge part of our culture, and cultures throughout the world. I see an opportunity to provide a way for people to connect with their music & video.

 When did you make the transition to creating a company that is now internationally  recognized?
In  April  2011  I  completed  the second year of Team and left Apple at the same time.  I started my own company and brought this product to introduce to the world. Now I have a small team working with me. We just won a 2012 Innovation Award from the Consumer Electronics Association. We were named number 8 of the top 20 companies in the world in innovation for 2012. There are about 30 articles written & published in Fortune Magazine, Business Week, USA Today, Fast Company, CNET, Home Theater Magazine (June 2012), etc. All that press has potentially reached 30 million viewers as of today.

You shared with Team San Jose recently that you want us to do a project that’s worth doing. A project that will impact thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people, for several generations.

Unity Home Theater System and Tv Stand


 What do you suggest we do to get in touch with that big vision, since most us tend to propose small projects that impact only our personal lives, or at most impact less than a hundred people?
Most of us when we come onto Team, we still see the world as we have to do things by ourselves. When you take on the Team Design Statement of “Building teams and teamwork in any situation”, what seems impossible when you do things by yourself will be possible when you build team around it. We have so many concerns that are getting in our way that keep our project small. One suggestion is to write down all of your concerns about your project on paper. Play the “what if” – let your mind wonder, “what if all of these concerns were gone?”  What would be  possible if you now create what you’re going to do from nothing. The most important part here is getting connected with the outcomes- visualizing the experience of people, the positive impact of your project in people’s lives. When you connect with the positive impact, it will help you deal with your concerns and get them out of the way. You will know when you connect to a project worth doing when you feel very emotional about the impact it can bring.

Once you connect with the impact, use the Team 1 & Team 2 Design statements to build teams and cause leaders around the world to fulfill that dream, and it will become a reality.

What is the process that you used to overcome the challenges or concerns that you’re facing while building this company? Could you give us some specific examples that worked for you?
My old way of my being would be to fire people who don’t perform, and find someone new. My new way of being is to re-empower team at all times, so that we as a team will get the dream fulfilled. By having the project that’s worth doing, it pushes me to use all distinctions from the Landmark Forum to the Communication Curriculum- when-ever or whatever is appropriate, to move the conversations forward and be successful. 

Understand that every person on this planet   has   a   story about the world that can get in their way. Once in a while, their story pops up and they are not at their top performance. This understanding allows people to be in their humanity. Just be with them, recreate the experience, and re-empower them.

Looking back on your journey, you were in the Team, Management and Leadership Program for 2 years. What are the top 2 or 3 things you would recommend team members get developed in so that they get the most out of this program?
Play the game that is worth playing in each quarter. Get every bit of coaching possible until you are touched, moved, and inspired by the game you are playing – your project.

Get coaching on connecting the dots between your project and your Development Opportunities, and take on all the Accountabilities for the Communication Courses. On each session of your Development Opportunity, look at your project and ask “Where am I stopped in my action items?” Then, bring those concerns to your coach, and bring it to each Development Opportunity session. Use each Development Opportunity as a place where you are trained and developed in the area you are stopped in project, so that you can have a breakthrough  and  are  able  to  move

what you’re doing forward. Take every opportunity to be accountable for something no matter how scary it is. The more you can take on, the more you grow, and that’s why you are on Team!

It’s not about what we have to do or to work at when we are taking on accountability, it’s about giving things up! Giving up the identity of who you think you are, and the conversation  “you are not good enough.” Just give up the poor and crappy listening we have of ourselves. When you give this up, your natural leadership will show.

In what way did the experience for being on Team transform your life?
With my company last week- rather than firing people who hadn’t performed, my old mode of operating, I re-empowered the whole team to play at a level that’s worth playing at.

With my family,  I have learned to master the distinctions from Landmark Education and bring those distinctions to effectively remove 35 years of anger & anxiety between two members of my family in just one conversation.

Todd’s company product, Unity, can be seen here:

Interviewed by Kimchi Chow, San Jose
Transcription and writing by Lindsay Tappero, San Jose
Alumna; writing also by Michael  Pettingale, Seattle
Edited by James Marchand, NY