It’s all about me, me, me

Today’s Guardian (and reprinted in Spain’s El Pais) features an article about Cambridge which mentions Team and some of the work we have been doing for one of our clients, Organox, on a liver transplant system. It starts off with a quote from me:

“Under the beams of a 13th-century barn conversion, senior consultant Jonathan Oakley stands back to allow his cutting-edge handicraft to be inspected. If it passes clinical testing, the unit will be able to artificially sustain a transplanted liver for up to 24 hours. It is a feat that even Oakley, who has been working in the laboratory for almost a quarter of a century, admits was “quite a challenge”.”

It’s about 25 years since I last had my name in the paper, and it’s an odd feeling for an engineer who’s more interested in building stuff than talking about it. What makes it doubly strange is seeing what I’ve contributed to from another person’s perspective. As I read it, the text seemed to make it sound as if I’m some sort of mad scientist who’s been beavering away alone for 25 years on a rehearsal for Frankenstein’s monster – “it’s alive! ALIVE, I tell you!! Ha ha ha!!!!” Actually, like so many of these things, it’s been a huge team project. The core idea came from the client, and everyone (including me) has contributed something to turning it into reality.

Mention of Charles Cotton’s name in the same article emphasised this. He and I both worked for Sinclair Research, though I doubt he’d remember a new graduate like me. But the same thing worked there too: I’m willing to bet that few people know the names of the true developers of the ZX80, ZX81, Spectrum and QL, but everyone knows the name of Clive Sinclair. Rightly so, because we wouldn’t have done what we did without him.

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