Engineering Roles

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!

14 replies on “New Podcast with Chris Gammell”

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.. 🙂

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…

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!

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.


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…


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!

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