The challenge was the suit
One day Felix Baumgartner was so nervous that he panicked and left his training camp in the United States. At the next airport he broke down and cried,5 letting himself fall, not into space, but in an ocean of frustration. What happened? The suit was the problem. He never had to use a suit before.
He had made many jumps, and many were incredibly spectacular. He jumped from the Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro,6 from the Panama Bridge (Puente de las Américas), and from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.7 The pictures of his jumps went around the world and made him famous, long before he planned to jump from space.
But this time was different. He required much more equipment than before. Jumping from space would submit his body to a new environment - an environment where no human could survive without complicated equipment.8 But he had a wealthy sponsor who got him anything he needed: experts, specialists and the best equipment. He didn't have to compromise. He was given a suit specially designed for his mission. Other astronauts had to use standardized suits.
So what was the problem?
At previous jumps, he was fast. That was one major attribute he had. He could make riskier jumps because he could react fast. He could handle any critical situation he might face. He couldn't just let himself fall. He could move freely, act and react whenever he might see it as necessary. This was his strength, but now he had to jump wearing a monster of suit, which made even the smallest movement difficult or impossible. Everything had to be planned, organized and tested in order to make this few-minute long jump a success.
In an interview Felix Baumgartner described the feeling that whenever he entered his suit, he was horrified.9 He had to close the helmet and face a silence of nothing. He could not hear or talk, and besides minor activities, he couldn't move. But Felix Baumgartner had to practice often in his space suit. This situation had to go on for several hours, again and again, until the day he could not continue. He panicked and ended up crying at the airport.
So what now?
Felix visited a psychiatrist who told him he had to change his point of view.10 He explained that the suit had become his enemy, that he felt hindered him in his action and gave him a horrible time. But that was only a limited view, because without the suit he couldn't do his jump. It was impossible without it. So the psychiatrist suggested that Felix become friends with his suit. He would need to give up the negative view about the suit and understand that the suit was there to protect him from the harsh environment of space. He would have to accept the fact that the suit would keep him safe and create an environment in which he could survive that jump.
In Search of Quality addresses key questions about quality — everywhere. Quality affects everything in our lives: accounting, standardization, production, product development, internet, media, government, non-governmental organizations and trade — the list goes on and on. Quality is everywhere and affects everyone on this planet. Quality was a concern even in the days of Aristotle and John Locke, but especially in today’s competitive world, nobody can afford to ignore this important area. You'll learn things like:
- Why airplane windows are round
- Which was the most expensive cup of coffee in history?
- How regulations affect small businesses
- How quality control has changed everything
Many people fear the consequences of quality measures and have difficulties understanding this truly unique business — a business that is not appreciated by everyone.
In exploring the history of quality, this book provides fascinating knowledge about the major developments of quality and its business. And . . . it shows that quality is anything but boring, by highlighting some of the quality challenges people and organizations faced over the years. Those challenges were often reported in the media as quality scandals, but after the media lost interest, were often quickly forgotten. However, they do have a common core that connects technologies, people, organization and scandals.
This book explores that connection in fascinating detail.
RONALD KOLB IN THE PROFESSION OF QUALITY
Quality can be found everywhere. This knowledge shaped Ronald Kolb’s professional career all over the globe, especially during the astonishing development of Asia’s economy. Asia lifted its economic class to become the world’s main manufacturing centre.
After beginning in Indonesia, Ronald Kolb lived and worked in Taiwan, China and India, gaining experience in three of the most populated countries of the world. During the fast development of the continent, quality played a major role.
The author experienced the industrial development from several sides. Products produced needed to be certified and their factories needed to be audited against international standards. Ronald Kolb also gained experience by both being profit-loss responsible for divisions in several countries and as a Global Representative for Quality. Besides experiences in the field of Quality Management, Product Certification, Safety Testing and Laboratory Accreditations, he was involved in the certification of hotels and the organization of 3rd party inspections.
Since Ronald Kolb moved to Hong Kong he has been engaged in developing and managing quality-assurance divisions for trading companies, where the increasing quality demands of the First-World countries created huge challenges.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” ~William A. Foster