Episode 1 — Jumping Off

In this episode we discuss jumping off into a new design effort. What do you do when you don’t know where to start?

  • We discuss the need for engineers to take a greater leadership role in society. (See the Forbes’ opinion piece: Engineers: Our Government Needs You. While we did not discuss this article, as it had not yet been published when we recorded the episode, it seems somewhat apropos.)
  • The “messy” nature of design is covered, and we laugh about the neat, linear nature of the engineering process, as portrayed in textbooks.
  • Jeff shows his advanced age by referencing an Opel GT, which was produced between 1968 and 1973, and featured a bump where the carburetor stuck up into the hood.
  • A TED talk by Tim Harford is cited as Jeff and Chris talk about having to work through design problems via trial-and-error.
  • A happiness curve for the design client is painted in words, with the associated moral that frequent communications are vital to a successful design effort.
  • Jeff addresses why pi is the “magic” multiplier for time and effort estimates.
  • A hot-selling book in the start-up field is Eric Ries’ tome, The Lean Start-Up. Projects are encouraged to try out a “minimal viable product,” or MVP, as quickly as possible.

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Thanks to 4ElevenImages for the jumping picture

Practical insights for the engineering crowd