New Podcast with Chris Gammell

[Update: The podcast has a new home at The Engineering Commons!]

Chris Gammell, co-host of The Amp Hour podcast, kindly allowed me to join him in creating a podcast dedicated to engineering’s more philosophical issues. You can listen to our first session below:

[Update: You can download the mp3 file directly, if you prefer not using the SoundCloud widget above.]

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.

Chris and I would be quite interested to learn of your reaction to the podcast, and to learn where you think we should take future episodes. Thanks for your input!

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  1. Josh
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Good jobs guys! looking forward to future episodes

  2. RoelAdriaans
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    Soundclound looks nice.. But where is the MP3 download?
    Can’t listen to your podcast at my computer, usually listen in my car… But, I can’t.

    Please provide a mp3 file like every other good podcast does.. 🙂

  3. Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Congrats! I’m looking forward to hearing you and Chris talk about engineering as a whole instead of focusing on specific fields. Sounds like a good time. Starting the podcast in 3…2…1…

  4. anonymous
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Chris and Jeff,

    I am a long time listener of the Amp Hour and and looking forward to this new show you guys are putting out. I have a suggestion though. I use google listen to keep up with podcasts and one thing I like about the amphour is that the file is linked in on the rss feed so I can easily download it for later listening. Could you do the same for your podcast? I am not feeling the whole sound cloud embedded widget…

    Best Wishes and looking forward to this new adventure!

  5. RoelAdriaans
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the MP3!download starting in 3..2..

  6. Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Very interesting podcast guys.

    Most of what you discussed I thought yeah I have seen that and wish I understood it earlier in my career! Back then I just didn’t get, I wonder what I don’t get now….

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing more.


  7. Kenton
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Loved the first episode. I always loved electronics but went the mechanical route and I look forward to something a little more broad than the Amp Hour.

    I vote for the name: The Engineering Bay. It’s a reference to manufacturing facilities where real engineering is performed, such as the high bays in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA. But it’s also a place for collaboration, where broader engineering ideas and processes develop away from cubicles and management. It’s our safe harbor.

    And yes, it’s also a Starcraft reference…

  8. Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    When’s the next episode slated for? Also, where is the website for this new podcast?

  9. Jeff
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink


    New episode will be released tomorrow, April 18th. Check back here and I’ll have a link to the new website as soon as it is ready.

    Thanks for your interest!

  10. Jeff
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    The new podcast can be found at The Engineering Commons. Episode 2 was pushed out early in the wee hours of Thursday, April 19, 2012.

  11. Posted April 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Link to Eng Commons in the main post is broken.

  12. Jeff
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for catching the error, Vivek! Now fixed, I believe.

  13. Jeff
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Great start to what appears to be a promising show. Found you through the amp hour.

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