This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.10.
Few component manufacturers have a more colorful backstory than Yorm. Named for the famed racing pilot Gotlieb Yorm, the company brought his revolutionary shield design to the masses in 2822 and successfully spun it into a manufacturing empire. Today, Yorm remains one of the best-known manufacturers of competition-grade components in the UEE. At least part of this fame is because it embodies the colorful, eccentric and outlandish personality that made the pilot famous.
No one knows where Gotlieb Yorm was born or raised. As surprising as this may be in our day and age, biographers, investigative journalists and fanatical fans have all tried to uncover his origins, but failed. This lack of hard evidence led to the popular theory that he was raised as an indentured servant in a Banu ship souli. For many, that theory would explain his unique skill set, deep understanding of ship design and complete disregard for anything that came before. Gotlieb refused to comment on his past, preferring to remind people that, “my ship doesn’t have a rearview mirror, so why should I?”
Gotlieb first made a name for himself in 2796 on the underground racing circuit in Baker. Piloting an old Aurora, he won his first race in commanding fashion and immediately garnered attention from racing enthusiasts for his eccentric and outgoing personality. Whenever asked what he hoped to achieve, his answer always remained the same — to win the Murray Cup.
Adel Fansekar only needed to watch Gotlieb race once to know that he was the real deal. Famous for her eye for talent as well as a massive bankroll, Adel had backed successful racing teams for decades, yet none had achieved the ultimate goal of winning the Murray Cup. Gotlieb turned down her initial offer to finance a racing team, claiming that he was doing just fine on his own. His blunt dismissal shocked Adel, who was convinced it was a negotiating tactic and returned with an even larger incentives package. When Gotlieb rejected the second offer, Adel asked him point blank what it would take to work with him. The answer was simple: autonomy. Gotlieb supposedly said, “I’ll always take your money, but never your advice,” and with those words their partnership was sealed.
Properly financed and in full control of his team, Gotlieb quickly earned a reputation as a racer who would do anything to shave a few seconds off his lap time. Race aficionados reveled at his unusual ship modifications and flair for dramatic finishes. Yet for years, a Murray Cup championship stayed elusively out of reach.
Gotlieb’s popularity, however, grew. He became a household name in 2814 when he began racing completely nude, claiming that clothes were nothing more than unnecessary weight. It wasn’t long before the Safety Commission intervened and required all racers to wear flight suits. In search of another advantage, Gotlieb focused on his ship’s shield, since his strongest Murray Cup race was Blitz, which allows combat up to the point where an opponent’s ship becomes disabled but not destroyed. After losing the 2816 Murray Cup Blitz title by less than a second, he famously ripped off anything he deemed unnecessary from the shield generator. When his chief designer noted that the shield could now only fend off a few shots, Gotlieb replied that’s all it needed to do. If he couldn’t navigate out of targeting range within a few shots, then he’d lose the race anyways.
Little did Gotlieb know that this decision would not only revolutionize racing, but pave the way to achieving his dream.
Less is More
Racing with his new streamlined shield, Gotlieb Yorm finally won the 2817 Murray Cup Blitz. Meanwhile, Adel was both ecstatic and observant of the pilot’s popularity. She recognized the desire of other racers and ship enthusiasts to embrace Gotlieb’s “Less is More” philosophy. She approached Gotlieb about mass marketing his shield. He agreed under three conditions. First, that Adel manufacture the component herself and not license it to another company that probably wouldn’t do it justice. Second, that the shield not reach the market for five years, so he’d maintain his competitive edge and have a chance to develop newer designs for his ship. Finally, that all he’d have to do was lift a pen to sign the agreement, then sit back to collect the royalties.
Adel agreed again to Gotlieb’s terms. She later claimed that this five-year grace period was a blessing in disguise. She’d financed and run multiple racing teams, but never delved into component manufacturing. For years, Adel kept her plans quiet while undertaking copious research on the industry. Slowly, she poached respected managers and consultants to execute her vision and made them sign an NDA that stayed in effect until the product launched.
Adel’s meticulous planning led to Yorm’s first shield coming off the production line a little over four years after her deal with Gotlieb. Though the pilot had insisted that he didn’t want to be involved past providing the initial shield design, she wanted to give him the chance to weigh in on a product that would bear his name.
To Adel’s surprise, Gotlieb became engaged in the process. He made a handful of valuable suggestions based on his experience, including advocating for the use of more expensive, but lighter, materials for the piping system. When asked what he thought about various aspects of the component, Gotlieb would always respond the same when he was ultimately satisfied: drawing a giant happy face. Adel liked his response so much that she asked him if they could use it. It’s been the company’s iconic logo ever since.
Yorm’s first shield generators became commercially available in 2822. Propelled by the cult of personality around Gotlieb and the fact that the shield was his exact, approved design, demand for the shield was astronomical. A lot of other companies might’ve been overwhelmed with such a popular debut product, but Adel’s careful planning meant that they were ready. Yorm shield generators had been coming off production lines for close to six months and could be hauled wherever needed.
Adel carefully scaled Yorm over the following decades to manufacture a wide range of competition-grade components. Though Gotlieb never personally designed or even consulted on any of their subsequent products, all were built following his “Less is More” philosophy. Adel’s hard work and vision turned Yorm into the successful company it is today.
Yet, the journey was not without its mistakes. For a brief period in the early 30th century, the company, under the leadership of Silvio Halbrook, attempted to expand its reach into hull plating, but a series of bad design decisions, mismanagement and manufacturing issues almost sank the company. After Silvio’s ouster, Bao Ingram took the reins and returned Yorm to its roots, competition-grade components.
Yorm has returned to its previous glory under Bao’s control. It remains popular today among racers and those who prioritize performance over all else. Those that love the company claim its logo perfectly represents how they feel when flying with Yorm components.