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Episode 51 — Product Development

Saturn V ConstructionIn this episode we talk about product development with electrical engineer Dave Young, who is an author, educator, and small business owner.

  • Brian has been fortunate enough to be involved in new product development for much of his career.
  • Many firms try to avoid a technology push, in which a novel technology is introduced to the market. However, some authors claim that technology push can be a winning market strategy.
  • An alternate marketing approach, known as “market pull” or “product pull,” is to wait for consumers to request a particular product and allow that demand to “pull” the product into the marketplace.
  • Our guest is Dave Young, who previously joined us on The Engineering Commons for an episode about STEM Education.
  • Dave’s interest in engineering deepened as he tinkered with “X10” home automation modules as a teenager.
  • We learn from Dave why it is always important to turn off one’s soldering iron when suspending work for the evening.
  • Carmen and Dave share a common view on writing code; they would prefer if someone else was doing it!
  • Dave is a co-founder of Blue Stamp Engineering, a summer program which encourages high school students to build projects about which they are truly passionate. Programs are currently active in New York, Houston, San Fransisco and Denver.
  • Our guest is also a frequent contributor of articles to the electronics community known as Element 14.
  • In addition to articles about entrepreneurship, Dave likes to write about Cadsoft Eagle, an electronic design automation program.
  • According to Dave, element 14 is the place to go to ask questions about the credit card-sized computer board known as Raspberry Pi.
  • First-time engineering entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of believing that building a “better mousetrap” will automatically lead to economic success.
  • The term complex sales refers to the process of dealing with the many requirements of selling to a large enterprise.
  • Dave has been running his consulting business, Young Circuit Designs, since 2010.
  • To get product development started, Dave enjoys sitting down with a client and having a “fun conversation,” in which all manner of product ideas are considered, without regard to practicality.
  • Dave will return to the client with a “menu” of between 2 and 10 product concepts that he thinks merit further consideration.
  • It’s hard to guess which ideas will take off in the marketplace; Dave says he would have never guessed that the Snuggie would become a great success.
  • Clients of our guest’s consultancy are located across the United States, and have come from as far away as Nairobi.
  • In Dave’s work, the intellectual property (IP) typically belongs to the client.
  • One of Dave’s clients is BrewJacket, the company bringing the Kickstarter-funded Lager Jacket product to market for home-brewers who can’t keep their lagers cool enough during the fermentation process.
  • The Peltier effect can be used to move heat across an electrified junction of two dissimilar conductors.
  • Carmen expresses his concern over worts being put to waste while testing the Lager Jacket product.
  • Dave has developed a double-kettle brewing system where he and a friend can boil worts at the same time.
  • Carmen is thinking about one day entering a beer recipe in an annual contest held by the Raleigh Brewing Company.
  • Dave recently posted an article about making custom Arduino boards.
  • Our guest’s advice: “Always do awesome stuff!”
  • Dave can be reached on the web at Blue Stamp Engineering and Young Circuit Designs. He posts on Twitter as @DaveYoungEE and @BlueStampEng. Additionally, there is a Facebook page for Blue Stamp Engineering.

Thanks to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for the photo titled “Manufacturing the Saturn V Instrument Unit (Archive: NASA, Marshall).” Podcast theme music provided by Paul Stevenson.