Meet John D. Eisenfelt

A person with principles

​John D. Eisenfelt

John D. Eisenfelt was an intelligent boy. In primary school nobody could get a hold on him. Being a second generation farmer from East Prussia, he had a different perspective on things. John D. was sometimes bullied, but he was mostly right or people agreed with him after having had a discussion with him.

In everything he did, John D. used some basic principles, such as: ‘You only know if someone is your friend when you quarrel with him’. So John D. had a fight with everyone at least once. He reckoned that those people who managed to come ‘on speaking terms’ with him again were his friends.

During high school, John D. had an eye for people. He studied them from a distance slowly realizing that he was dealing with unique individuals who in many ways resembled each other, but at the same time showed characteristics that sometimes attracted him, yet at other times not at all. People with an intelligent and positive attitude became part of John D’s focus group. He wanted to get in touch with them.

John D. particularly wanted to get in touch with one person: Sandy. But how? John D. tried to empathize with her, think like her and after thorough preparation he dared to go to Sandy and ask her about her passion for astronomy. Sandy was pleasantly surprised by this question. She could share her passion with someone! John D. kept on asking questions and gave her tips. After many of these conversations John D. and Sandy got married. All this happened because John D. was genuinely interested in her passion for astronomy and kept on asking questions.

Twenty years later John D. and Sandy are waving their three children goodbye as they are leaving for high school in the morning. By that time ‘the Principles’ of John D. Eisenfelt have become legend in the United States. They were applied in various fields of science. “It’s not what it is or what it does, but what it contributes” he once said during a speech at a prestigious university. This statement often formed the basis for a whole new perspective, a new way of looking at all kinds of more or less entrenched businesses.

John D. was also a visionary. John D. had predicted in the 1950’s that computers would connect to one another to allow the exchange of information, products and services around the world. This would not only make markets transparent, it wouyld also allow customers to easily compare vendors and buy from anywhere, while suppliers would have the ability to offer products and services worldwide. In the 21st century, competition would intensify, growth markets would mature faster, companies would increasingly resemble each other and customers would ultimately become the boss. Really understanding these trends and quickly responding to current and future needs and creating lasting relationships with the client are the ingredients for creating a company with a distinctive portfolio and a sustainable business model.

His chief achievement, according to John D. Eisenfelt himself, were not his visions or principles. His work had only one goal… asking the right questions. Hence he always ended his speeches with:

If you have a problem, try to find the question, not the answer

This is how the first principle of John D. Eisenfelt came into existence.