Earl Bakken was eight years old when he saw the movie Frankenstein and became fascinated with the connection between electricity and life. He went on to invent the wearable external pacemaker and co-founded Medtronic in 1949. In 1967, he hired Manny Villafaña to head the company’s international sales division.
In 1972, Villafaña started a competing pacemaker firm, CPI. Medtronic sued, and a year later, CPI was barely hanging on. Villafaña called his former boss and invited Bakken to meet for a drink in Minneapolis. They talked, and without any further legal advice, Bakken agreed to drop the suit.