Jesse from many points of view
I work at Flow Research, a company I founded in 1998. Flow Research is a market research company dedicated to researching flow, pressure, and temperature products. We write market research studiers on flow, pressure, and temperature products. We also do research on other areas such as valves, controllers, and analytical products.
As president, I am in charge of selecting research topics, and of the actual research on the studies. I work with Belinda Burum and Norm Weeks on the research. We wrote over 50 market studies from 1998 to 2008.
Our first Flow Research studies were on temperature sensors and transmitters. After that, we did a series of studies on different flow technologies, including Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, positive displacement, and turbine. This culminated in a study incorporating all flowmeters in 2003. After completing this cycle, we did a study on gas flow measurement, and then started the cycle all over again. Beginning in 2005, we published studies on magnetic, vortex, ultrasonic, differential pressure and primary elements, and Coriolis flowmeters. This culminated in a second study incorporating all flowmeters in April 2008 (www.floweverything.com).
Department or workgroup
Key divisions at Flow Research include:
I was born in Grantsville, Maryland, a small Mennonite
community near Cumberland, Maryland.
When I was five, I moved with my parents to Harrisonburg, Virginia.
I lived there till I was 18, attending grade school, then Eastern
Mennonite High School (EMHS). In high school, my favorite subjects were math, history, and
journalism. I was on the high
school tennis and ping-pong teams.
After graduating from high school, I moved with my parents
to Washington, DC. Before
starting college, I worked at 1730 K St. NW in Washington DC for AT&T
as a mail clerk. I left this
job in 1968 to work fulltime in the McCarthy for President campaign. I served as office manager of the national McCarthy for
President campaign office at 815 17ths. St. NW in Washington, DC.
Beginning in 1969, I attended the University of Maryland.
While attending school I worked for two years as a research
assistant to Senator Eugene McCarthy.
I graduated in 1973 with Honors in philosophy.
In college I spent most of my time studying philosophy, and took 62
out of 120 hours in philosophy course credits.
I also learned to play handball.
After graduating from U. of Maryland, I attended
Rockefeller University in New York City for two years.
I was in the philosophy PhD program.
There I studied with Donald Davidson, Saul Kripke, Joel Feinberg,
and Harry Frankfurt. I also
attended courses at Princeton University.
I left after two years when the philosophy department was closed by
After leaving Rockefeller University, I took some time off
from graduate school. I spent
some time working for Maryland Action, a consumer organization in Maryland
that promotes lower utility rates. After
that I attended Computer Learning Center in Springfield, Virginia.
I took a fulltime 6 ½ month computer programming course, learning
Cobol, Fortran, Assembly, & RPG.
Beginning in 1978, I relocated to Massachusetts, where I
transferred to the philosophy PhD program at the University of
Massachusetts Amherst. I
spent six years at U. of Mass. Completing my PhD.
After 2 ½ years of course work, I moved to Boston to work
fulltime. I completed my
dissertation in three years while working fulltime at Commercial Union
Insurance Cos. and Wang Labs. I wrote my dissertation in philosophy of mind, proposing a
new solution to the mind-body problem.
I received my PhD in 1984.
After receiving my PhD, I continued working at Wang Labs
for another year. In 1985 I
left Wang Labs to teach technical writing in the English Department at
Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
I also served as coordinator for the graduate level technical
writing certificate program.
In 1986, I left Northeastern University to start my own
company, Idea Network. I
started Idea Network as a copying and wordprocessing company. This lasted about six months.
After six months, I began doing contract technical writing for
Siemens Energy & Automation in Peabody, Mass.
I worked for Siemens for 3 ½ years, until they moved down to
Alpharetta, Georgia. During
this time I wrote technical manuals and training guides for Siemens’
process control products, including their programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
Beginning in 1986, I taught philosophy at the University of
Massachusetts Lowell. I
taught more than 20 philosophy courses there from 1986 – 1994, including
Introduction to Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy and
Technology, and Logic. During
this time I served as coordinator of the technical writing certificate
program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
I also taught in the graduate level technical writing certificate
During this time, I also approached the Society for
Technical Communication (STC) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell
to jointly sponsor a technical writing conference. They agreed to do this, and we decided to call it the
InterChange Conference, a name that Olga Lauterbach came up with. The first InterChange Conference was held in 1989, and I
served as coordinator. This
conference was a big success, and future conferences were even more
successful than the first. I
continued to serve as coordinator through 1994, after which the conference
continued on without me. InterChange
just celebrated its thirteenth year in October 2001.
Beginning in 1990, I became bored with technical writing
and switched to market research. Unfortunately,
market research didn’t pay as at first, but I found it much more
interesting and exciting. I
decided to build on my knowledge of process control, writing my first
study on distributed control systems (DCSs).
I wrote this study for Market Intelligence Research Corp. of
Mountain View, California. I
wrote three more studies for MIRC, including test equipment and process
control. After this, I wrote
a study for Frost & Sullivan on nondestructive test equipment.
As part of this study I hand-tabulated 691 questionnaires received
as part of an enduser survey. I
concluded this study about the time that MIRC bought Frost & Sullivan,
retaining the Frost & Sullivan name but not the methodology. Unfortunately, MIRC did not retain the Frost & Sullivan
After leaving Frost & Sullivan, I approached Find/SVP
about doing a series of studies in process control. They agreed to do this.
My initial study was called The World Process Control Market, and
was published in 1994. After
this, I wrote a study of the world flowmeter market, the World Intelligent
Field Device market, and the World Controllers market.
The worldwide flowmeter study was the best and most successful of
these four studies, and included an extensive enduser survey.
After publishing the flowmeter study, my wife Vicki and I moved to
Erwinna, Pennsylvania to be closer to New York City, where Find/SVP is
located. I continued working
for Find/SVP until 1996.
In 1996, I moved back to the Boston, Massachusetts area and
began working for Automation Research Corp.
I was hired in 1996 as a senior analyst in flowmeters and other
field devices. While at ARC,
I wrote a series of studies, including European Pressure Transmitters,
Worldwide Vortex, Worldwide Ultrasonic, and Worldwide Pressure.
I also did a series of custom studies in gas flow measurement and
published a number of journal articles in flow and related topics.
I enjoyed working at ARC, and especially like the
opportunity to discuss my ideas and study topics with other analysts.
I also found the ARC methodology to be the most rigorous I had
encountered up to this point. I gained a new respect for the practice of serious market
research. In addition to
this, I made some very close friends at ARC.
I left ARC in 1998 when it became clear that the company was moving
in a different direction. I
wanted to do more and longer off-the-shelf studies in field devices,
including enduser surveys. Instead,
the company was moving more towards covering software and away from an
emphasis on off-the-shelf studies.
After leaving ARC, I approached a number of companies with
the idea of supporting a series of studies in process control and
instrumentation. I found a
receptive audience in Ducker Worldwide of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
After five months of discussion and negotiation, Ducker agreed to
support a series of off-the-shelf studies in flow and temperature topics.
At this point, I formed a new business called Flow Research.
I decided on Flow Research rather than Idea Network because it is
more focused on what I really do. I
found an office in Wakefield, Massachusetts and opened up on February 10,
The first project for Ducker Worldwide was a temperature
transmitter study. After
about a month, I decided to expand this to include temperature sensors and
make it a double study. This
required a great deal of additional work.
While there are only a few dozen temperature transmitter companies,
there are hundreds of temperature sensor companies.
Research continued through December 1999, requiring over 250
supplier interviews. Ducker
also did an extensive enduser survey.
In the end, I wrote a 640-page study.
With the temperature study complete, the next project was a
worldwide infrared study. I
finished this project in November 2000.
This study included both infrared thermometers and thermal imagers.
With this project complete, I began to focus entirely on flowmeter
Earlier in 2000, I took several trips around the country,
visiting a large number of flowmeter suppliers. I found that a number of people were interested in
understanding why users are selecting one type of flowmeter over another.
I decided to do a study that would compare different flow
technologies, to gain a better understanding of this question.
As part of this research, we would also do an enduser survey.
I did one worldwide flowmeter study in 1994, and found it
quite challenging to cover all these technologies in one study.
So I decided to divide the technologies into two groups.
One group, called the “New Technology” flowmeters, are the
newer flowmeters that have high accuracy and few moving parts.
These include Coriolis, ultrasonic, magnetic, vortex, and
multivariable differential pressure (DP) flowmeters.
The second group, called the “Traditional Technology”
flowmeters, have moving parts and/or higher maintenance requirements, and
are not as accurate as “New Technology” flowmeters. These include
positive displacement, turbine, open channel, thermal, and variable area
After a number of months of research, I realized that it
would not be practical to include five technologies in one study.
As a result, I decided to do one study on each technology.
Even so, these studies are between 400 and 600 pages long, so I’m
very glad that I didn’t decide to put them all together in a single
Watching the business grow has been very exciting.
I now have three people working at Flow Research.
Owning a business certainly has its frustrations, but it can also
be very rewarding. Our
business is growing, and we have been very successful in using the
Internet as a means to let people know about our company and products.
I have recently reorganized Flow Research to be a
subsidiary of Idea Network, the market research and publishing company I
started in 1986. I still love
the name “Idea Network”, and feel that it effectively conveys the idea
of a group of people who are linked together by common interests.
My idea is to create a group of mini-networks focused around a
specific topic, like flow, pressure, temperature, etc., and then to link
these mini-networks together into a larger “Idea Network.” To
implement this idea, I have created a total of twelve websites, including www.pressureresearch.com,
etc. I have also created several philosophy websites, including www.viewpointpluralism.com
After trying for several years to find someone to help me
build the flowlab, I decided I would just have to hire someone to set it
up. So I asked Tim Whitman to
design the flowlab, and put it together.
Tim did a great job of putting the flowlab together, using PVC
pipe. We achieved flow for
the first time on November 8, 2001. Our
first series of tests will be on primary elements.
I am planning to run tests to compare the performance of different
kinds of primary elements. I
am also hoping to find a new way to measure flow.
When I got my PhD in 1984, I found that philosophy teaching
jobs were very scarce. So I
decided to go into business in hopes that I could earn enough money to
promote and publish my philosophy of viewpoint pluralism.
This is finally beginning to happen after fifteen years, and I have
been able to publish my book Shades of Experience online at www.ideanetwork.net.
I am very excited about the ideas in this book, especially
viewpoint pluralism and self-expression. I am also trying to integrate
these concepts into my life.
I spent ten years doing technical writing, and now have
spent eleven years doing market research.
I got bored with technical writing, while I find that market
research is very exciting. I
think it’s the adventure of finding and comparing different markets, and
also the challenge of finding out information that is a well-guarded
secret at many companies. I
have really enjoyed creating an “idea network” of contacts and friends
that I have stayed in touch with for many years.
Being able to do this is one of the rewards of finding an area to
write about and sticking with it.
I think I am entering a new phase of my life: a phase of
integration. Having spent
many years developing my philosophical ideas in parallel to my business
development, I am now trying to integrate the two together.
I am also trying to move beyond pure market research into a new
phase of discovery. This new phase involves doing technical research,
mainly in flow. I hope that I
can make some new discoveries in flow.
In particular, I would like to discover a new way to measure flow.
I admit that my life is somewhat more balanced towards work
than anything else. Sadly, my
marriage ended several years ago. However,
I have decided to use this time to create the business I have always
wanted. While marriage has
its advantages, I feel that at times it is overrated as an institution. For now, I am enjoying the advantages of being single again.
In January 2002, Belinda Burum joined the company. This had a major impact on me, as we've been friends for many years. She brought a lot of experience in research and writing with her. Over the past year, we've worked together to build up the company.
In the summer of 2002, my main focus was on completing the positive displacement and turbine flowmeter studies. These were published in September 2002. They have done fairly well, although I find that the suppliers of traditional flowmeters are not used to having market research done about their products, and don't quite know what to make of it.
After completing the positive displacement and turbine studies, I completed the research for Volume X, The World Market for Flowmeters. This study was published in February 2003. It is a truly amazing study, because it includes all ten flow technologies. This is the first time since 1994 that I've been able to do a single volume on the entire flowmeter market. At the same time, we were able to publish updated versions of Volumes I - V, which we published originally in 2001.
In Spring 2003, I began to take racquetball a lot more seriously. I've started a racquetball website, called www.maracquetball.com. The idea is to have a site that is a resource for people in Massachusetts and elsewhere who play racquetball. I am hoping that this will also put me in touch with more players and clubs in the state, and elsewhere.
It was about a year ago that I moved into my new phase of integration. Unfortunately, I have been so focused on work for the past year that I haven't been able to build very much on this concept. I'm hoping now that I will be able to start focusing more on personal integration, and build on some of the concepts and ideas that I developed about a year ago. (June 1 2003).
Now it's five years later (June 5, 2008), and not much has changed, except that I've written an awful lot of studies in the past five years. Belinda has stuck with me and is actively helping with Worldflow, marketing, and research. Norm Weeks joined the company in November 2004, and has been very active in doing research for studies and for custom projects.
Today was a red letter day: I signed the contract for my book with Dick Morley: The Tao of Measurement! (See www.TaoOfFlow.com).
Philosophy of mind
CNBC, especially Squawk Box
New York Yankees & Washington Redskins
Thanks for taking the time to read through my bio.
Lately I’ve been trying to integrate the different
parts of my life together. I
feel that my life is segmented into too many different compartments. If I could somehow connect these compartments, I would
feel a lot better.
I wrote something that tries to do that.
It’s called Sink or Swim. To
read it, click here. Sink
or Swim: Reflections in the Sun.
Last revised: June 5, 2008
To read about my life from a different point of view, click here. Sink or Swim: Reflections in the Sun.