Technology writer Robert X. Cringely visited RTLS start-up Q-Track Corporation as part of Cringely's 2010 (Not In Silicon Valley) Start-Up Tour. From left to right, Q-Track CEO, Jerry Gabig; Bob Cringely; Q-Track VP Engineering, Bob DePierre; and Q-Track CTO, Hans ("ÆtherCzar") Schantz.

Earlier this summer, noted technology writer Robert X. Cringely embarked on a cross-country tour to visit promising start-up companies  with exciting stories.  The project, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, aims to help America rediscover entrepreneurship. Cringely’s tour will be the basis of a television series to air on a major cable network next spring. Over 400 startup companies were nominated, and only 24 will be featured. Now, 10,000 miles later, the Cringely 2010 (Not in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour is nearing an end. Yesterday, Cringely and his film crew were in Huntsville, Alabama, visiting the Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) startup where I work, The Q-Track Corporation (Facebook).

Not having heard anything since we filled out Cringely’s questionnaire in June, I had assumed that Q-Track did not make the cut. Then on Tuesday – out of the blue – came an e-mail requesting a visit on Thursday. This actually worked out well: just enough time to rearrange the schedule, but not enough to get seriously stressed and over-prepare for the occasion. The visit included a couple hours of interviews with Q-Track’s founders as well as a tour of our facilities and a demonstration of Q-Track’s Near-Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER®) technology in action.

With the tour running longer than originally intended, Cringely only spent an afternoon with us. And regrettably, Mrs. Cringely had to abandon the tour to get their children back in time for school to start, so we did not get the opportunity to admire or sample her muffins. But one great benefit of being near the end of Cringely’s tour was that Cringely was full of fascinating anecdotes of the other exciting startups he’s visited.  It’s an honor to be included among such illustrious companies. I look forward to watching Cringely’s show, learning more about the novel technologies, and seeing the stories of how they came to fruition.


Hans Schantz is CTO of The Q-Track Corporation, and a co-inventor of NFER® technology. His prior work experience includes stints with IBM, the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, The ElectroScience Lab of the Ohio State University, and Time Domain Corporation. Author of The Art and Science of Ultra-wideband Antennas (Artech House, 2005), his forty U.S. patents include antennas, RF systems, RF-based location systems, and related inventions. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a member of the Institute of Navigation, and an amateur radio operator [KC5VLD]. Schantz earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds degrees in Industrial Engineering and Physics from Purdue University. Dr. Schantz blogs at ÆtherCzar and is @ÆtherCzar on Twitter. His wife, Barbara, invented The Baby Dipper® Bowl. Hans and Barbara have two sets of twins: girls aged ten, and boys six years old. The views expressed are the author's and are not necessarily the views of his employer, clients, investors, sponsors, or customers.

  4 Responses to “Robert X. Cringely Visits RTLS Startup, Q-Track”

  1. Wow! Congratulations! That’s the big time.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hans Schantz, Hans Schantz. Hans Schantz said: New: "Robert X. Cringely Visits RTLS Startup, Q-Track" – [...]

  3. Wow! How cool is that? Robert X. Is the man. I love his work.
    I will look for the show so I can say to my kids, “See him (Hans)? I knew him back when he was Greg!” to which they will no doubt respond, “Sure Dad. That’s nice. But he is on TV and you are on the couch, so pipe down so we can learn from someone really smart.”

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