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The Hush House Affair: Creative Destruction - Not a 'no Tell' Motel

by sanapalas
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The Hush House Affair is a true adventure story that could be a novel, but the plot might be rejected as fictional. A three-year journey of cliff-hangers, across five countries, results in a $49,000,000 U.S. government contract. It is a tale of Creative Destruction that gives the reader a window into how a government procurement agency rersponds when routine is threatened by a disruptive new technology. Creative Destruction is a term economists apply to the never ending process that replaces traditional products and methods with better means of accomplishing the task. We usually see only the results, the shiny and the new, but not the pain and chaos rooted in the battle between the old and the new. The book describes the replacement of an environmentally hazardous process with a more benign method. The author gives a view of the hidden struggle behind changing the U.S. Air Force's method of testing aircraft and engines. The complexity and viciousness of the battle are beyond imagination as the antagonists fight for their jobs in a dying industry. The story is born in conflict, but the convoluted end-game results in a $49 million contract with the US Air Force. 'Creative Destruction, ' a term, popularized by Austrian/American Economist and Harvard Professor, Joseph Schumpeter, to describe the process by which old products are replaced by new devices, ideas or methods. A more mundane expression of this idea is the 'buggy whip' analog: A whip for one's buggy is unnecessary when it is powered by a gasoline engine, and an industry disappears. The "Hush House Affair" chronicles a nearly four-year odyssey that spans five countries and replaces the historical use of water for cooling aircraft noise suppressors with an air-cooling technique. It is a head-on collision: Water cooling, with its columns of black smoke, acid rain and other operational undesirables, becomes environmen- tally untenable. Air cooling eliminates these negatives, and significant cost savings result as a bonus. In addition, the lawsuits brought by noise and acid rain are eliminated. Air, as a cooling agent, wins handily for many reasons. The protagonists engage in an explosive conflict on first meeting but combine their talents to engage in a classic Schumpeterian conflict with the US government: One industry is destroyed and is replaced by a new enterprise, producing a superior, environmentally more benign product, under a government contract. The battle is not easily won. The traditional industries fight back. Government agencies, steeped in comfortable operational and business relationships, indulge in an internecine rivalry. The new technology is often threatened but is rescued by fortuitous and almost mysterious happenings. When the contract is finally consummated, one of my principal adversaries approached me and extended his hand, saying, "Hey, no hard feelings. It was your general against our general, and your general won." He didn't understand how his team lost. You will. I hope you enjoy the blow-by-blow account.

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