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The "wrong kind of snow"
became a joke phrase in Britain, as media misquoted a railway executive saying "we are having particular problems with the type of snow".
Railways in Britain and continental Europe had various problems in the past decade with environmental conditions that had not been covered in design and testing. In one case certain leaf-moisture combinations caused slippery rails, even though trains had been tested with contamination on the tracks.
Dry snow turned out to be a worse problem than wet snow, as its light particles were blown into more remote locations in the trains or sucked up by cooling fans with downward facing intakes, turning into wet snow inside where the electronics are. (That's questionnable design regardless - some type of separator should have been used.)
At the other side of the weather extremes, trains had to slow down due to rail distortion from greater expansion than designed for, due to high ambient temperatures.
My point in telling these tales is the challenges of ensuring that all environmental conditions are considered in design, and of finding or making realistic test environments.
(I know, people in the interior of North America might offer their range of cold snowy winters and hot summers for testing. ;-)

Why Motivation by Pizza Doesn't Work

Users make your product work, but....

There is good news in businesses.

An example of thinking about a limitation of technology
Here's a great example of someone thinking smart about a challenge, by observing what is different about a particular situation. Correcting for drift of an inertial position sensor.
In measuring location of moving objects, “inertial” sensors are often used. They measure motion by sensing accleration or speed and integrating with time to calculate distance travelled from a known point. (While today GPS is popular, signals from the satellites can be blocked by dense materials, wire mesh in building walls, and tree foliage.)
The accuracy of inertial sensors depends on achieving low “drift” – an erroneous output level even at rest. (The medical condition of “tinnitus” may be a crude parallel – hearing sounds that aren’t there.)
The inventor recognized that the foot of a person walking stops moving forward at one time in each step s/he takes, thus sensor drift can be checked - unlike an airplane, for example, which must move continuously.
(Of course much hard slogging is needed to make sure the method works, both in detail work and ensuring there isn't a fundamental barrier to using the method.)

Smart thinking about combining online shopping with retailers
The Sitka company, makers of surfboards and clothing for colder conditions, wanted to offer online shopping without competing with retailers who sell their products. So they found an e-commerce service that facilitates retailers bidding on an order based on geographic proximity to customer. (the article)
Seems real smart!
(I don't know the details - obviously shipping cost is a key factor for surfboards and wet suits.)

Retailers get some defense from federal government
Canada's federal government proposes to strengthen laws allowing citizens to arrest thieves.
(Safeguards are needed to prevent mis-use by people like Marxist activists who think that mob action is justified against businesses, who they believe are guilty of stealing from people, and from abusive managers.
That belief comes from Marxist exploitationt theory which is based on a "fixed-pie" view of life that is rooted in views of humans as uncreative immoral beings, except as a collective. And some store managers threaten people who complain about a service or unsafe store conditions - many business people actually believe in exploitation. The purpose of the law is to protect honest individuals, the rest will fail in the marketplace.)

First ask Why.
The link is to a review of a book that appears to make good points about how to achieve loyalty from employees and customers.
Sounds more fundamental than the usual advice.
“Loyalty, real emotional value, exists in the brain of the buyer, not the seller,” ...

Old not necessarily better
"I believe the finest instruments in the world are being made today - they just aren't old yet." says James Ham, who makes symphony instruments like string bass, violins and cellos.
Of course easier access to wood from around the world, and modern materials for other parts, as well as to shaping tools, better knowledge of physics, and computer computation, are available if needed.
But it's knowledge that counts, and Ham has enough to design improved shapes and make large instruments lighter, which players of the bigger ones should really like.
- (Reference Senior Living Magazine, December 2010)
A question is the time involved, which the maker hopes to get paid for. My impression from reading of Ham and others is that there are enough professional musicians who want quality that the best instrument workers can make a living.
(Why the old is best/new is best dichotomy? Ask Keith.)

Failure modes - an example
A homeowner flushes the toilet, then some time later finds hot water gushing out from the bottom of the tank in the back of the toilet.
She calls for help, which fortunately arrives quickly.
The water leak is too hot for either person to safely reach the toilet water shutoff valve at the wall. So he shuts off the water going into the hot water tank, then can shut off the toilet valve as only cold water is coming out at that time.
What happened? Why would hot water be gushing out of a toilet that is only plumbed to cold water?
Additional help concluded that the element was shorted to ground thus always on, so was boiling water with enough pressure to overcome the cold water pressure into the house. Flushing the toilet allowed that hot water to go through plumbing into the toilet tank, melting the standard plastic tube that connects the toilet shutoff valve to the toilet tank.
How could that mishap be prevented?
Click on this link for more details and educational comments.

Too many keys?
For the security needed today, one could have a pile of keys for all the individual locks one needs, on top of the usual residence and vehicle keys.
I've noticed the availability of easily keyed locks, and resettable combinations.
Locksmiths can rekey many locks by disassembling them, but at today's labour rates that gets expensive. Some have the MasterLock settable padlock, a good idea that is sensitive to over-doing the impact needed to set it to the specific key.
Combination locks are available that can be set or reset to a particular combination.
(BTW, new vehicle dealers usually have the ability to key a replacement lock cylinder to match existing ones, and of course today have to reprogram the "transponder" keys.)
Now come padlocks that you can set to match your vehicle's key. Nifty.
Note that these aren't high security locks (and see a locksmith if you need a quantity of locks using the same key, they can supply them), but are useful.
Another example of people trying to earn by helping people.

Rising from the ashes
What do you do when your manufacturing plant burns down?
The people of the Dana components plant in Fredericktown Ohio faced that challenge in 1998.
Before the ashes cooled, a phone company set up service and a sister company provided computers. Employees worked to salvage what could be from the ashes, and brought equipment from home (who would have thought some had a sand-blasting machine?). Other Dana companies provided some production equipment. Customers showed up to help.
Dialogue with customers established priorities of what to restart making.
Production resumed 72 hours after the fire, no customers had to shut down.
- (Reference "Diesel Progress" magazine of October 2000.)
That shows what people can do, working together. What conditions facilitate that? Keith knows.

Empowering people
Ted Miller of Matrix Aviation has a sound approach:
"When you come in and empower employees, accountability goes with it. That brings mixed feelings; happy that they've been empowered, yet concerned with the responsibility.
Each team member needs ethical and business standards to guide them.
The people who make decisions, who go forward and learn new things, deserve the credit."
- (Reference "Avionisc News" magazine of March 2011.)
Keith can elaborate on how you can achieve what Ted Miller did..

Someone did The Right Thing
Sor some reason unknown to me the door lock knob on a small washroom in a hospital was oriented in a "counter-intuitive" way. So someone took care of it.

Downstream Consequences
I've recently seen or read of several examples recently of a failure causing consequences far beyond what most people might expect. A few:
- The heating element in a water heater failed, and stayed on because the failure created a path from input power to case ground (thus bypassing the thermostat). The pressure of steam from boiling water pushed very hot water back into the cold water system, causing the inlet line of a toilet to melt, flooding the floor and the furnace below. (Newer water heaters and installations have more overheat protection and a backflow preventer, perhaps use of plastic plumbing depends on those features.)
- The automatic sprinkler system in a metal plating plant quickly extinguished a fire. But the sprinklers ran for hours, overflowing vats of acid, which ran into adjacent businesses. They remain closed weeks later. (Why weren't there fume hoods on those vats, which might have shielded them from the sprinkler water?)
- And the big one of 2011, the Daiichi nuclear power plant near Fukuhama Japan. The plant withstood the earthquake that was well beyond what it was designed for, but either the electrical controls or fuel tanks for its backup diesel generators did not withstand the tsunami that was well beyond what the plant was designed for. The reactors were all shut down, but without coolant circulation fuel rods overheat and react with water, creating explosive hydrogen gas. Claims that the accident is equivalent to that caused by negligent operation of the badly designed Chernobyl nuclear plant seem to be nonsense, but Daiichi is a reminder to think about the full impact of a failure against the consequences. (Besides radiation hazard to people in the area, the consequential damage resulted in huge economic loss to the plant owner - four reactors were damaged beyond economic repair - and to their customers (NE Japan is now very short of electrical power).)

With a side reminder of compatibility.
In Japan there are two different electrical power systems.
The frequency is different between two areas of the country, and many devices will not run on the other frequency.
So movement of power, sometimes called "wheeling" in Canada and the US, is not possible to help cover the shortfall of generation in areas near the earthquake and tsunami damage.
- (Reference IEEE Spectrum magazine)
Standardization can be good.

Rising from the ashes 2
What do you do when your office is unusable due fire?
The people of Merry Maids in the Victoria BC area faced that challenge in 2010.
Immediately they relocated computers to the boss' home so that work schedules could be used.
Cleaning equipment and supplies were taken to the parking lot to be sorted.
Office staff contacted each cleaner with advice.
The result of their efforts was that they did not cancel or reschedule a single appointment the day of the fire. That is dependability.
And the owner put up with use of his dining room for two weeks.
- (Reference "Best of City" magazine, 2011 issue, Black Press.)

That shows what people can do. What conditions facilitate that? Keith knows.

Darn users don't read
So I purchased a hand-operated can opener
But I can't get it to work.
I try repeatedly, examining its fit to the can closely. (It has a sharp wheel and a grab wheel, offset a bit, just like the old one.)
Then I read the instructions.
Oh! it is supposed to be used horizontally on top of the can, not vertically on the side. (Just like the battery powered one I gave my mother.) Duh?
The new can opener works fine, when applied correctly.

The lesson for product designers is that when something is different from what people have used before you should be extra clear in communicating. (Yeah, in this case maybe just a peel-off sticker saying "Hey! this one works differently." :-)
And a lesson for Keith. ;-)

Little things help reliability
You have to get the big things right of course.
But little things can make your product or service fail.
I remembered how the B.C. Hydro electric power utility had failures when the rains came back to the Vancouver BC area each fall. Summers there are usually quite dry, so dust builds up on the insulators holding power wires. Arcing occurs on some wires when some dust is wetted by the rain.
The prevention is to wash them in September. A significant cost but probably saved in avoiding damage let alone impact on customers.

How do you justify that precaution in organizational decision-making?

A good leader of the military
This person makes sense.

How do you develop such leaders?

A watermelon grower gets the big C and more
At each corner of their big box there is a tip as to optimum storage temperature and other factors for best taste and value.
IOW, the maker is helping sellers' profit (and both will gain in the long term from greater satisfaction of the end customer due to better quality).

Sageland Farms of Pasco Washington "gets it".

The new product quandary
A major challenge of new product development is deciding when to release the product.
Early release in theory gets positive cash flow and competitive advantage.
But a deficient product won't sell well, as it will get a bad reputation from which it may never recover. (I think many potential investors for further development are wise enough to determine if the product has good market potential, and some smart enough to see if there is a solid base for further improvement.)

There are good methods to reduce risk, but the biggest is simply the combination of discipline with creativity and agility that can only come with clear thinking founded in solid values.

And when improving an existing product
The Boeing commercial airplane company faces the quandary of how much to improve their successful 737 product to improve fuel efficiency in the near term.
Customers want all the improvement they can afford, now. But more complicates the changes (e.g. large engine fan requires changes to nose landing gear), and eventually they'll design a new airplane anyway.

So Boeing will be resolute in sticking to the planned changes, but hopefully without unwise compromises when surprises arise. I suggest they get advice from executives on the 767 program - while that was a clean-sheet-of-paper design, pioneering full use of digital avionics in airliners as well as ETOPS and two-pilot flight deck in a widebody, they stuck to the plan, avoiding adding features until the first airplanes went into revenue service.

Oddities of product development:
Someone produced a sterilizer for your toothbrush, using some kind of light. Clever notion.
But it does not illuminate the brush fully, in part because it does not hold the toothbrush in the right place and is not long enough for fancy toothbrushes.
Unclear is whether it works by light impingement or less likely by creating ozone (in which case brush position is not so important).
Black and Decker produced a jigsaw with a nifty quick-change blade retention method. But it doesn't seem to hold blades well.
Oh, yeah - that piece of plastic that looks like trim on the side of the saw is actually a container for blades, with one already in it, from which the user could see the shape of blade needed - different (notches rather than screwholes). That nice B&D container of blades you already have won't work.
Think it through all the way - you especially have to spend time on uses of the product.

Advertising out of the box:
Pacific Coastal Airlines print advertising before Thanksgiving 2011 was noteworthy in two ways.
The format is a comic strip.
The content is about people visiting people for Thanksgiving, which of course PCA can help with by flying them.
Smart, I hope it works for them.

A business adapts.
Villages Pizza is adapting to a shift in customer spending by providing ready-to-cook pizza to grocery stores.

I presume they expect name recognition to help in the clutter of products on the shelf. The article has information on the economics of the effort.

It is early to know if they are succeeding, but they are out there trying.

A marketing judgement
Among the many judgement calls businesses make is the size of a market.
The BMW car company did not see a worthwhile market in Canada.
But the Bentley family of experienced executives in Vancouver did, having experience with selling Mercedes Benz cars in Canada. They built their BMW Canada distributorship to the largest independent one in the world.

I suggest that capable local people were the key to evaluating the market.

Reference InMotion Black Press newspaper supplement of October 14, 2011, article by Alyn Edwards.

I'm chuckling at the alarm clock...
.....that rolls away so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. ;-)

A cute gift for Christmas, from "The Source" store (like a Radio Shack but in Canada).

Will some people still be able to ignore it?

Medex Fitness thinks out of the gym
Using the pitch "No spandex, no contracts", they want to serve older people.

Early to tell if it works, and I don't know their ideology.

Medex Fitness deserves a great deal of credit for doing something different for a particular psychographic of potential customers.

Greater Victoria Public Library gets clever to avoid Christmas rush
They posted signs saying that books due December 24-27 could be returned on the 28th or 29th without penalty.

I presume what they are trying to do is reduce the work for their staff during the holiday period, especially as the outside book return hoppers could get full.

Perhaps could have explained explicitly for extra points, but I commend them regardless.

Nissan acts quick, and prioritizes
(What would you do if some of your or your suppliers' plants were damaged by an earthquake?)

A brief article but it shows possibilities for action in a crisis.

The 'fun' of estimating/forecasting
Another bunfight in US military procurement politics is the opinion of some military test specialists that the schedule for development of the KC-46A aerial refuelling tanker airplane is too aggressive.
Brief media reports give two reasons for saying that:
- the number of test hours per month exceeds the historical average for large military aircraft test programs
- the schedule is too aggressive for flight tests that are riskier or specialized

Keith comments that averages must be used only with great caution, it is the nature of the particular design and the ability of the organization to get things done well that matters.
(Averages may be useful as a cross-check to highlight areas to check. Ability to get the job done well, which includes minimizing flight risk, depends on willingness to provide resources to workers as well as the usual factors in both the manufacturer and customer bureaucracies. Including whether or not they learn from their errors, such as Boeing's slowness in fixing the vibration problem on their tankers for Italy and the military's goofs in the previous competition for the contract. Highly integrated designs may be trickier, but thoroughness of design before testing is a key factor.)

The truth is cold and hard,
But it's the first point on the path to hope and salvation.
- says Lynn Tilton, who is very successful.

A real Dagny Taggart

When the business world is going one way, some go opposite.
A few examples:
- I know someone who was making money on car repairs at gasoline stations when most were abandoning that. You just had to be smart – have knowledge and figure out how to get work done efficiently. He was able to do more types of work than the average service station, mazimizing use of his resources.
- The “Penninsula Coop”, a membership-owned operation traditionally selling agricultural supplies, hardware, and groceries, has grown to have 14 gasoline stations in the Victoria BC area. They offer full service – attendants will fuel your vehicle - when everyone else requires you fuel the vehicle yourself.
- The robotic gas pump is an example of a company using its expertise to shift into another field. International Submarine Engineering has long experience with remotely controlled mini-submarines, which have to be reliable. It had worked with USAF on hot refueling of fighter jets. A petroleum company executive saw a mention of that work in a magazine, and called them. The result was a trial of a well-developed robotic gas pump in a normal retail gasoline station.

As Rob Flitton says in his book Negotitation for Life and Business, "When everyone else is growing corn, plant wheat".

Spurious Correlation
That's something technical professionals are careful about, at least within their field of expertise, and successful business people have to be as well.
The linked article addresses a common error, the assumption that correlation proves causation. The author, William C. Burns, quotes from books he recommends, providing illustrative examples of errors.
"The point is that when there are many reasonable explanations you are hardly entitled to pick one that suits your taste and insist on it.
But many people do.
To avoid falling for the post hoc fallacy and thus wind up believing many things that are not so, you need to put any statement of relationship through a sharp inspection."

A simplistic engineering example would be that mosquitos greatly increase the cost of building highways, because construction cost correlates to the number of mosquitos.
But reality is that there is a common cause - mosquito larvae breed in stagnant water, which is usually found in swamps, and road building is difficult through swamps.

Today's class lesson is "What other obvious correlations should you check the data for?" I can think of two that should show up, that actually are a direct cause.

Be careful in there (your mind) ;-)

An aviation pioneer who started small
(Frank Robinson's talk to the Royal Aeronautical Society "The Need for Simplicity in Helicopter Design".)

Perhaps the first truly successful small helicopters in recent decades.

A designer passionate about user interface

(Note why he likes his Casio watches. Look ma - no eyes needed (well, at least to enter data).)

I like anyone who really cares about users. ;-)

Keep It Simple for Security

One popular model of car has a clever trunk lock.
If you simply close it, turning the subtle knob shape around the key insertion area opens it.
To lock it you have to turn the key the opposite direction to what you did to open it.

So many people, especially second owners but also first owners who did not study the owner manual, will leave their trunk unlocked without realizing that.

Guaranteed to be a security problem.
(Yes, thieves know about such things - they learn exactly how to break into specific vehicles.
This case is an example of complexity leaving a security gap - often the case.)/P>

Microsoft employees and their jobs

Here is one of several recently highlighted people.

In this case an amazing story of progression in the face of obstacles.

Congratulations, Mr. Ng.

"Surface" is a new tablet-format computing device whose lid is a very slim keyboard.

Not to be confused with the "table" they've been developing, which is a much larger work-surface like device.

I'm keen on the Surface concept, as I and others are accustomed to using keyboards for significant information entry.

Call Mavis Beacon if you aren't skilled at touch typing. ;-)

A lesson in troubleshooting

For far too long pilots have had serious difficulties with the oxygen supply system on F-22 fighter airplanes.

Except it turns out that their difficulty in breathing was probably caused by malfunction of a valve controlling their inflatable vest.

When you are deep into the investigation, sometimes it is good to pause and look around.

What does the arrow mean?

The user of the small vacuum cleaner assumed the arrow on the bag meant UP.

It actually meant to insert that edge first, i.e. point the arrow DOWN, so the user had to fiddle and figure it out.

That's why Keith recommends thinking things over more, or getting an inexperienced user to try your nifty new design.

(Beyond that is the question of whether or not the bag needs to fit one way - a symmetrical inlet flange would ease assembly in manufacturing and use.)

Who wrote your old software?

Dormant code somehow got activated, the financial loss from what it did took down the company.

Inactive code is a risk known to serious software people.

While industry practices may have improved, there's still much sloppiness.

Details, details, more details

Another in the many traps some people would call a "gotcha" was encountered by designers of the 2009 generation Mazda 6 car.

The size and configuration of fuel vent lines allowed spiders to build nests, but didn't have enough vapour flow to kill them.

OK, engine fuel system designers - have you added insect-resistance to your requirements? :-)

Not learning from others

User interface is not a new notion. While some automotive people have engaged a consultant from the aircraft electronics industry to advise on digital data busses, I don't know if they have for user interface.

It is especially surprising that Ford gets it wrong, given the emphasis on user interface where CEO Mullaly last worked (Boeing).

Keith knows something about user interface, software, and choosing people who can make the mental transition between different product types and uses.

Rule number one for your backup power system

Obvious, but I suppose many people don't get around to thinking their complete system through.
(They don't learn from the history of others' mistakes.)

And make sure your backup computer system is far far away from your main one.

Another clever product... water resistant paper, to help you capture data in the rain.

Save your smartphone for emergency communication? :-)

History is repeating, but with technical advances... the use of the iPhone as a base for sensors.
Accessories/attachments include camera lenses, medical sensors (SPO2, blood glucose), and a speed measuring radar.

The Palm PDA was widely used to record data, in its heyday. A related product, the Handspring Visor, was especially configured to accept plug-on accessories such as for sensing and communication.

Today functions like modem and radio communications (Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular phone) will fit in the primary device - indeed, Handspring produced a successful smartphone (the Treo, which became part of the Palm product line).

Do you need an electric baby stroller?

Perhaps, ....
The Origami design unfolds and folds itself, electrically, so needs only one hand to operate, thus you can hold the baby with the other arm (carefully).

Besides, it recharges your electronic device while you push it, can't beat that for convenience? ;-)

Well, $900. might dent your budget.

Origami stroller and more...

Arlene Dickinson's advice to entrepreneurs
slow down and think.

Project leadership lessons

Understanding Failure by Examining Success.

Sofware development lessons

Why Software Fails.

"It was one of those light bulb moments," Fields said.

Fields recalled one early meeting under Mulally, where executives spent 45 minutes arguing about an organizational chart. Mulally finally stepped to the white board and wrote, over their scribbles, "Working Together."

Task for Fields is to keep Ford on Mullaly's path.

Call the boss

One company advertised the name and phone number of the president, inviting customers to call him if they were not getting answers from staff.

Funny thing - he rarely got calls.
(Besides staff knowing they could not get away with hand-waving, I suspect he created a culture of performance, with sound guidelines to deal fairly with customers but not be conned.)

How American Apparel fell into the trap of expansion hype.

Two cases of expanding too fast too early.

Note that their stores weren't especially profitable yet.

Pioneering a retail effort

Wynne Powell started the successful computer department at London Drugs, a chain of retail stores in Western Canada.

In its day it was a better place to buy a computer than specialized computer stores and the big electronics chain Future Shop.

Movie theatre hosts a church

The Silver City movie theatre in Saanich BC is hosting a church's service on Sunday morning.

Coincidentally, that land had a movie theatre hosting a church - decades ago it was a drive-in theatre what had an indoor room.

And that theatre thinks out of the box by showing opera performances. (One theatre chain is also showing art works, such as a Vermeer exhibition, presumably on the big screen (their web site doesn't work well, and they haven't responded to my query).) All increasing use of facilities, and extending hours of employment, in the face of the ease today of watching videos on home equipment.

Versatility and using strengths (ample existing facilities including a room for young children, parking, and experience with special events such as opera films).

Where is your data sleeping tonight - another edition:

In a dumpster?

Are there really banks so stupid out there?

Great things from small beginnings:

Interview with Marion Knott, of the Berry Farm fame.

(Note your competition may start small, even incidentally.)

Alas, she's gone.

Sony Entertainment knew its computing system was vulnerable.

Bureaucracies can be slow to fix things.

Make sure you buy A ROUND TUIT.

An "interesting" aspect of the Sony breach was that they obtained employee data and emails. Compartmentalization is essential, with firewalls between. And there are multi-factor approaches to security, though if someone gets into the heart of your system can they fake input from those?

Farming trees for the long term

Peter Schleifenbaum shows benefits of ownership by a smart person.

Why customers switch providers/sources

The Usability Bear claims to know the underlying causes of poor company attitude and bureaucracy that motivate customers to purchase elsewhere.

Feature synergy:
It sounds as though Fiat-Chrysler use the anti-skid system's wheel rotation sensing to decide when to engage all-wheel-drive.
(Normally the Renegade operates in two-wheel-drive as that uses less fuel.)

Useful features in condo apartments:

A building in Colwood BC advertises a mini-garage option for your mobility scooter. (The building is well situated for that, just a few blocks to some stores including grocery and drug, and to a library and recreation centre.)
A building in Victoria has a refrigerated room that grocery delivery people can put your food in.
(At least one chain has online ordering, which delivery suits.
Perhaps one chain will open early so people can shop before work and have their purchases delivered while they are away from home.)

Very smart, given the demographic of many condo apartment owners - limited mobility, no car.

(It might be called 'future to the back, as when the E&N railway from downtown Victoria through Esquimalt was a primary mode of transportation people could order groceries for delivery to the station at Admirals Road, where they'd pick them up to lug home.)

A good start to getting out of the way of honest people

Federal government acts to reduce proliferation of laws.

Hopefully they'll keep moving forward, if re-elected, unlike the BC government which stalled after picking the low-hanging fruit.

(The BC government does deserve credit for accepting practices of nearby provinces, from colour of long-load flags to professional licensing, to improve mobility.)

Young engineer builds million-dollar business making electronic kits

Who remembers HeathKits, and perhaps Radio Shack kits?

Example of calculations by Willys automobile engineers in the 1950s

Any complaints about computers? :o)

Give the job to a grandmother.

The Barefoot College in India wanted to teach some villagers how to install and maintain small basic solar electricity sytems. They had the most success with grandmothers.
(Refer to IEEE Spectrum magazine of March 2016.)

Want to be a highly-respected boss?

20 things to do frequently.

Recruiting will change.

How to handle the uncertainty?

You could go to jail

Between operating and maintenance entities of the Carson aviation company it managed to substantially under-represent the weight of a helicopter used to transport firefighters.
The error came from not including some items of equipment added after weighting the helicopter, notably a water tank. (Items whose weight is accurately known can be added by calculation, to result in an accurate operational weight and center of gravity.)

There was also confusion over which performance graphs to use.

That had two consequences:
- it gave Carson an incorrect advantage in bidding and costing for US Forest Service work.
- it mislead flight crews on how whether or not it was safe to takeoff in particlular conditions.
Eventually the helicopter crashed.

(Crew unwiseness in taking off over trees with a heavy helicopter (recently refuelled helicopter carrying many workers) was also a factor. The helicopter did not have enough performance to fly over trees at its actual weight in the environmental conditions of the takeoff (temperature and air density).)

The NTSB's accident investigation report was scathing in its criticism of the behaviour of Carson employees, accusing them of dishonesty.

Executives need to pay attention.

An accidental career

Carpenter Herman found himself the owner of a hotel, when it went broke owing him money.
Then he traded hotel stay nights for musical performances.
Herman's Jazz Club became a fixture in downtown Victoria B.C.

He had a career, then seizing an opportunity he found another he liked.

They spawned an industry - coffeemaker version

Vincent Marotta and Samuel Glazer hired two engineers to create a brewing machine like those used by restaurants, but for home use.

They called it Mr. Coffee.

Both gone now, but they set an example.

Thinking through the whole need

Whether or not the attributes of their product are worthwhile, these guys think well for customers, ensuring no cross-contamination of new and old mattresses.

(The wool name is for heavy kinking for use in mattresses.)

A business helps develop and attract qualified employees

"Everything in the kit was spec’d by Mopar staffers who began their careers as service techs."

Consult real users? How uncommon. ;-)

Smart thinking - barbells edition

Hand-held weights are commonly used for exercise.
But on a boat their round-end shape would roll around.

So sailers in Canada's navy use ones with square ends.


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