The (High) Definition of Success | Ami Miron ProfD'89


Ami Miron

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Ami Miron learned a simple but significant lesson by the time he was 20 years old: if he worked hard enough, he could achieve more than he imagined he could. And in the cable television and broadcast world, he certainly did, leading the team that developed the U.S. standard for high-definition television (HDTV).

Miron, who was born in Israel, traces this to his mandatory military service. He graduated first in his class from the Israel Defense Forces Officers Academy and was recognized for distinguished service as a captain in the Israeli Army.

“The military let me, at age 20, be in charge of a battalion, where I had to be responsible for all the needs of my unit in war and peace,” he says. “This background helped my leadership, organizational skills, and my confidence in achieving stretched goals.”

Lessons learned from serving in the military contributed to a successful technology career that spans 35 years—from his start with Philips Electronics to his current endeavor helping entrepreneurs develop successful ventures—and includes winning two Technology and Engineering Emmy awards.

Miron earned his professional degree in electrical engineering at Columbia in 1989, taking classes at night while working at Philips Electronics as manager for VLSI video systems. Although he completed all course work for the PhD, he left school without doing a dissertation to accept a promotion at Philips to vice president for television systems and worked on HDTV.

That decision proved fruitful for more than just Miron.

His ensuing technical achievements are as visible worldwide as they are anonymous, at least to those outside the realm of electrical engineering. Miron could be the answer to a trivia question or even a series of them.

At Philips, he developed and patented the first picture-in-picture technology for televisions under the Magnavox brand. He devised a system to solve the problem of ghost images on television screens, which the FCC adopted as the nation’s standard. He was later a member of the team that developed the U.S. standard for high-definition TV.

In 1993, Miron joined General Instrument Corporation (now Motorola) as vice president to lead advanced technology and new products for the cable TV market. He left Motorola four years later and founded MoreCom Inc., a software networking company that provided digital entertainment and Internet content to televisions. It was later sold to Comcast.

Currently, Miron is the founder and president of AM Partners, based in Philadelphia. He works with entrepreneurs, start-ups, venture capital, and universities. He serves on the board of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, is senior adviser at Wharton Small Business Development Center, and is on the Upper Dublin School District strategic planning committee.

Miron earned his BSc in electrical engineering from the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. He came to New York to earn an MS from what is now Polytechnic Institute of NYU, before coming to Columbia Engineering.

Miron says his graduate work at Columbia “was instrumental in convincing the Philips management that the immigrant can be successful.”