Noise has become more and more endemic and we do not realise how pervasive it is till we hear, and experience, silence—pure, blissful silence.
One man who set out to prove that silence can be heard, and relayed sounds appreciated more, is Dr Bose. 50 years ago Dr Bose founded the company which still bears his name and today is the leader in all things acoustic. One of his aims was to invent a gadget that would eliminate all sounds. People thought that he, a Professor of acoustics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, was dreaming, or worse. He was in fact dreaming, as only when one dreams can one challenge the old and discover the new. And Dr Bose proceeded to deliver noise-cancelling headphones and also produce some of the most effective technology to experience all sounds. Today the trail-blazing professor has passed away but his company thrives on and the company’s products are still worldwide hits.
Bose the company is still a believer in going beyond the limits of what humans think is possible and still churns out products that make our hearing experience more meaningful, giving music and anything connected to aural experience a truly memorable feel.
That is Bose and its founder in short—too short to do them proper justice but all you need to do is experience some silence or some music delivered by anything Bose.
Bose Europe came to Malta, to the Westin Dragonara, to hold its annual business meeting and discuss products, their marketing, new ideas and new markets. I met Marc Jourlait, Vice-President Bose Europe, to discuss what got them here and his impressions of Westin and am truly bowled over by his passion, his knowledge and most of all by his friendliness.
“I just fell in love with this island, the history, the people, the heritage, the food,” are his first words, quickly followed by a long appraisal and praise of the Westin Dragonara. He makes it clear they are here not just to have fun but mainly to work, to find new energy, to discuss strategies and the future. Of course to do all this they need to feel that the hotel and the destination are superb, they need to be revitalised and energised. And the Westin offered all this and more.
To Marc the ideal hotel is one that does a lot while seemingly doing nothing. Everything is done to perfection with no hassle. Marc pointed out two things which impressed him. The day they arrived he was heading over 150 people who had just flown in and wanted to get to their room as easily as possible. Hitting reception in such huge numbers can be quite overwhelming. However, at the Westin all was seamlessly and silently done—in a few minutes all the Bose delegates were wafted to the comfort of their room. “Impeccable start to the trip,” is how Marc describes this.
Another instance which impressed Marc was when the Westin staff had just a few minutes to prepare the finishing touches to the conference room before the President and CEO of Bose was to address the delegates. Marc explains it all in telling detail: “He—the President/CEO of Bose—was getting his speech ready in the conference room. So we asked the staff who were placing bottles and arranging some items in the room if they could do it slightly later. Not the most demanding of requests but one which could cause undue confusion to their timed and timely schedule. The feared domino effect of changes in schedules—which cause unending disruption—could have come about by what seemed a minor, petty request. The Westin staff did not even discuss it with their superiors—they just disappeared and reappeared when we told them to, still managing to complete it all in time. That is seamless, silent service. Perfection!”
I ask Marc what brought Bose to Malta and the story that followed was truly riveting. Marc’s 12 year old son, Jack, was assigned a school project: each student in his class had to prepare a presentation about an EU country and Jack picked Malta, a country he had barely heard of. But his research, conducted with his parents’ help, led to the whole family being enthralled. The Knights of Malta were the main attraction, as well as the fact that such tiny islands boast an unbelievable history spanning over 7000 years, with buildings older than the pyramids.
This gave Marc the idea of holding their meeting here and his team’s research concluded that Malta and the Westin Dragonara were the right choices.
Marc describes himself as a total geek who worked for Apple where he met the legendary Steve Jobs. He then did a stint at HP and he has now been with Bose for over 5 years. He is immensely fascinated by anything technological and he considers what Dr Bose did absolutely incredible. He was lucky enough to meet him and was amazed by what a humble and interesting man he was.
Marc talks with passion about the science of the ear, and how versatile it all is. Sounds—just like colours— are all the same but our perception of them is personal and different. The sole aim of Bose is to make our aural experience that much more enjoyable. Be it the sound of food being cooked, onions frying, the sound of a guitar, of water lapping, of the most intense orchestra, or the deafening roar of silence in the background, Bose wants us to experience it exactly as it really is.
Marc has a number of passions—work, family, food, travel and his own silence all fascinate him. He loved Malta and the Westin Dragonara. So we can easily conclude that both these are truly special.