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Non-Euclidian Geometry


8/12/2007
By Mitch Schneider

Right parts + right place + right time = happy service professional, right? Not by today’s standards. Service professionals want more and you have to change your formula to give it to them.
 
Mitch Schneider

I’ve got a hunch that the one thing you never expected to find here was a discussion of physics and geometry. It doesn’t seem to have much, if anything, to do with the world we share.
And yet an argument can be made that these disciplines play critical roles in our everyday lives. After all, the basic operation of any vehicle we’re likely to see is all about thermal dynamics, fluid mechanics, electron theory, friction and inertia. Ask any first-year engineering student and they’ll give you more information about the magic that goes on all around us the minute we get into a car or truck, close the door, turn the key and start the engine, than we can absorb. But, that isn’t exactly where I’m headed.

I’d like talk about success in this industry and I think physics and geometry are a pretty good place to start. First, did you know that there are two basic schools of geometry: Euclidian and Non-Euclidian? One suggests that parallel lines will never meet and one suggests they may, if the external forces of gravity are strong enough.

I didn’t think the lines would meet, at least not until I did some “light” reading on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Most high-school kids today are still taught the lines won’t meet, yet Einstein’s theory — the theory that ushered in the Atomic Age — suggests they will (The ‘smart’ money is on the guy with the funny hair!).

Next, let’s take a quick look at Sir Isaac Newton and inertia: You remember, “A body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest.”

If you have any doubts about inertia just look at some of the people you work with. I’ll bet there are a few who are at rest and would like nothing more than to stay that way, at least until quitting time. And there are others who are a blur of perpetual motion!

Our worlds have been moving in parallel for as long as I can remember. We’ve coexisted with little or no “real” contact, our paths never crossing except in the most superficial ways. The theory that allowed those conditions to exist is slowly being replaced by a far more useful one; a theory that not only suggests our paths might intersect some day but one that demands they must. As we journey through time and space, we’re seeing evidence of this new theory every time we meet and try to better understand each other in the context of the world we share.

The same theory that suggested you could afford to remain at rest in the past, at least with regard to your relationship with the service dealers you serve, has been challenged. Once upon a time, having the “right” parts at the “right” place, at the “right” time and at the “right” price was enough. That formula will not work as effectively in the future as it did in the past. Service professionals are looking for more today. They are looking for more and will respond to the distribution partner who gives them what they are looking for. Just ask anyone with a successful service center program.
To succeed, we’re going to have to stay in motion, searching for new ways to interact on a much more intimate basis, just as we are going to have to learn what to do and how to act when we are successful. The gravitational forces are just too strong to act otherwise.

When objects stay in motion and parallel lines bend in space, a number of leading scientists will tell you that some pretty dramatic things can occur, like light “bending” and time “warping.”
When it happens in our industry the results are no less dramatic, profound or exciting.













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