Product Focus – Turning Core Competency into Value

The internet is littered with articles about how to properly spin an existing and popular product or service into a new product or service. The idea is obvious: create a new revenue stream by tapping into new markets. Maybe it’s a popular children’s toy and the plan is to create a Saturday morning cartoon about it (ignoring, … Continue reading

Sales Rampage – The Mistake of Selling Products that Don’t Exist

It seems obvious that you shouldn’t sell products that you don’t make (as an original equipment manufacturer). And, to be clear, I don’t mean products that you’ve developed through partnerships or complimentary equipment. At a previous job I worked as the lead motion control engineer for a company that sold capital equipment valued in excess … Continue reading

“Growth Hacking” in Engineering

The term “growth hacking” was introduced to me a few months back by an older post on the Sean Ellis’ blog “Startup Marketing” called Find a Growth Hacker for your Startup. After reading through it again, I’m finding that most companies I’ve dealt with are lacking a “growth hacker” in their engineering department. This is the person … Continue reading

The Ellsberg Factor – Output versus Outcome

In Michael Ellsberg’s book The Education of Millionaires he outlines an important distinction between two metrics of productivity: output and outcome. Now, as it turns out, “output” is not a strong indicator of engineering ability, nor is it a strong indicator of project progress. In fact, focus on output instead of outcome is a strong indicator of … Continue reading

Last Week at Work – A Quick Review of Accomplishments

Well, today is the first day of the last week at my current job. I’m currently the lead motion control engineer for an international company dealing in capital equipment with price points well above $10 million. It’s a decent gig where I felt like I did a lot of good, but the company is in dire straights … Continue reading

“Across the Board Cost Reduction” Done the Right Way

One of the best cost reductions you can perform is improving the efficiency of your engineering workforce. Engineers are a fixed or growing cost investment which makes their maximum utilization much more valuable than cost reducing a motion controller that might decrease reliability or performance, especially in low-volume capital equipment sales. Leverage your best resources … Continue reading

Obsoleting Bolts – The importance of a lead engineer you trust

Presumably, if you’re in the business of manufacturing mechatronics equipment, your company has a mechanical engineering group. Imagine, if you will, that you assemble your mechanical group and inform them that they are to no longer use bolts in their designs. After a few stunned looks some senior members of your team protest: “you’re joking,” … Continue reading