Synthesizer innovator Robert A. Moog dies at 71 Synthesizer innovator Robert A. Moog dies at 71

I remember when I first encountered a Moog synth. My grade school was hosted at a huge suburban Christian church around Atlanta, and the music minister there was also our music teacher. One day he took us into the cavernous “sactuary” and pulled the vinyl cover off of a space-age contraption with knobs and plugs and dials and what seemed to me an absurdly small keyboard — somehow the smallness of the keyboard next to the piano beside it registered just how futuristic and new-paradigm this thing was. I must’ve been eight or nine.

The teacher went on to play with it and show what it did. I was blown away. Since then I’ve been fascinated with all such things, though I’ve never bought one or even played one. Still, it was one of those childhood moments that’ll never leave me.

Once I heard an interview with Moog on NPR and jotted this quote down:

I don’t design stuff for myself. I’m a toolmaker. I design things that other people want to use.

This seems to me to be quintessential Design thinking: the fact that a guy who innovated something so futuristic and unconventional managed to remain committed to the principle of “use by others.”

Sleep well.

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at