The Lean Startup is an influential business book by Eric Ries that seemed to really make waves through the software industry and beyond. The premise, reduced to just one sentence: build a “minimum viable product” to get early feedback from customers to avoid the risk of a long development process that results in a polished product that no one actually wants. Being somewhat familiar with the concepts of lean manufacturing, I thought I would see if some of the ideas could be applied to physical product development.
Friday, April 15, 2016
In Zero to One, author Peter Thiel makes the case for unorthodox thinking in order to build the future purposefully by creating companies so good they can effectively reap the benefits of a monopoly for a long period of time, potentially decades. He argues that the path to making money long-term is to make a product at least 10x better than the so-called competition and not get trapped in the traditional thinking of making incremental advances on existing products. The all-electric Tesla Roadster, for example, was in a league of its own when it launched and created much better opportunities for Tesla than if they had made something to compete with the Honda Civic.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Making Things Move by Dustyn Roberts is well described by its subtitle "DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists". I picked it up at the library to see if there were any fun new pieces or tricks I could learn from as an engineer. Highlights included the parts about the internal workings of stepper motors and a trick on how to drill a hole in the center of a shaft without a lathe. So while there were some cool new tidbits, it was mostly just fun to see all these topics in one place and easily approachable for new people.
Notable covered topics:
Notable covered topics:
- The six simple machines
- Material types, properties, and tolerances
- Fastening and joining
- Forces, torque, power, work, energy sources
- Intro to hobby motors and servos and their control
- Bearings, gears, screws, springs, cams, linkages, and motion conversion
- Lots of example projects bringing these concepts together
Saturday, November 21, 2015
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman was my first foray into studying industrial design, rather than the mechanical design techniques I am accustomed to. The number of complimentary concepts and issues definitely makes this book useful for engineers. It was updated with modern examples in 2013 after 25 years of success, and incorporates topics from many of the author's separate books and articles.
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