Form Meets Function – Cool Bird Feeder

Capture

I love to see KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in action. Here, we can see KISS methodology used to support both engineering function and design. Assuming this feeder actually foils the little seed stealing basta…squirrels, what you are left with is a product that looks cool just hanging in the yard, with or without the birds. Side note – I tried my hand at building a squirrel proof bird feeder as a kid and know first hand how crafty they be. Let’s just saying that screaming at them an effective, but not sustainable, option is. Kudos to Jim for an innovate design.

From Wired:

Here’s an elegant bird buffet worthy of even the rarest feathered friend. What’s better: The stoneware feeding tube hangs from a single wire and see-saws downward when a squirrel alights on it, making it impossible for them to hang on and steal a meal. J Schatz Mobile Bird Feeder | $225

Fail Your Way to Success

Most of the readers of this blog share a common goal: To utilize their engineering mind and their creative mind to produce something awesome for the world. And hopefully get paid for it. Of course, the world isn’t necessarily beating a path to your door just because you want them to.  To carve your own path you will have to get out there and try different things.  But where to start? What if you choose the wrong path? What about all that wasted time, which you don’t have? But, but, but….

This is where Scott’s philosophy is really powerful. He believes that you should have a system, rather than a goal, in order to reach your destination. From there, you try different things until skill and luck coincide. Every failure you have is an opportunity to learn something new, to find a new contact, to get introduced to another project, etc. So each failure is really building up to that final success(s).

So how does this look in the real world? Let’s use Scott’s story. He gets an engineering degree and starts working as an engineer. He is good at it, but really wants to do something unrelated to the cube farm. He has always enjoyed drawing cartoons, but is actually pretty terrible at it. He didn’t one day say “I want to be a rich, famous cartoonist!” because that would be absurd. Instead, his thought process was more along the lines of “I would like to not be in this cube farm anymore” and starts to put a system in place (he uses the goal of “Lose Weight” versus the system of “Eat Healthier” to show what he means by goal versus system. It is a little confusing). His system is straight forward: Try different things until something sticks, learning from each failure. He invents products, writes books, starts up businesses, and starts drawings a little thing called “Dilbert”.  He leverages all that he learned during all of the failed ventures to help push Dilbert toward success. If Dilbert had not happened some other success would have come his way because he was ready to capitalize when luck ventured his way.

Anyway, the book is worth the quick read that it is. Have any of you found success using this method?

The Art of the Engineer

I wrote earlier about my fascination with cut-away art. Well, I stumbled upon this book shopping earlier this week and was immediately taken in by the detailed engineering art/prints that this books contains.  This is a  perfect coffee table or office lobby book….just make sure no one walks off with it!

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