Jim Wohlford, Sanus: The Accidental Innovator
Like many notable businesses in the tech world, Sanus started out in a garage.
But even before the company got to that point, Jim Wohlford had a simple idea that proved to make a lot of sense.
It was back in the early ‘80s. Wohlford was studying for a master’s degree in psychology at the University of Minnesota and working part time selling AV at the local Sound Center to pay the bills. He had his eye on a career in education or social psychology, and viewed audio as a hobby. But for someone who began subscribing to Sound Review magazine when he was 10, it was a pretty passionate hobby. “I’ve always been an AV geek,” he said. “I’ve always been into this stuff.”
By the time he was at Sound Center, Wohlford had developed a keen ear for quality sound and a sharp eye for aesthetics. As he walked the sales floor, he couldn’t help but notice the poor quality of the speaker stands. Most were made out of plywood, cheap particleboard, flimsy laminates or vinyl. There was no thought behind the design. You couldn’t adjust the height and they vibrated when the sound was turned up. “The problem was that people didn’t think about the stands,” he said. “They just thought of them as a cosmetic.”