[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!