I was honored to be asked to join Santari Minor and George Grombacher for episode 31 of their podcast: Figure it Out. It was wide ranging and fun conversation that flowed across so many different and interesting topics, it was hard to stop. We covered 3D printing, automation, artificial intelligence and the future of work. Made me think. Take a listen and maybe it will make you think.
You can listen at most podcast services, here are two locations:
Podbean – http://figureitout.podbean.com/e/figure-it-out-31-eric-miller/
Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/Dhl7gsnwxma46ug7bzg6dd3a6tm?t=Figure_it_Out_31_Eric_Miller-Figure_it_Out
Enjoy and hopefully it will start your own conversation.
With all the talk about AI we sometimes forget that one of the most visible, and maligned, applications of Artificial Intelligence is something we use, or fight with, every day. In “What autocorrect can teach us about the application of AI” I look at my own personal struggle with correct communication, and some lessons that businesses can take from how autocorrect is used.
“What does your startup do?” Twenty minutes later I’ve lost interest and still don’t know why they do. A serious problem with most startups is that those involved with them are so afraid they might leave something out that they have forgotten how to be concise. So my advice: “Hey Startups! Be Concise!“
Truth is it feels great to hit a home run, but if you are trying to always knock it out of the ballpark you are going to have a lot of strikes. In working with a lot of people trying to come up with ideas for new products, it seems like we focus too much up front on trying to hatch a unicorn, and not enough on just having something that works. “Everyone wants to find the next great idea, what is wrong with just a good idea?” explores this and gives some examples of how trying to just solve a problem ended up being disruptive.
When Nathan Huber moved to Arizona from Colorado to join PADT he learned a lot, and one of the things he learned fast was that the inside of cars get very hot in the summer here. In fact, the shift knob on his car was untouchable in July. This coincided with his learning more about metal 3D Printing and an idea occurred, what about 3D Printing a metal shift knob designed to cool off faster, and that looked cool. Oh, and use ANSYS to drive the design.
He blogged about it before (here and here), and Additive Manufacturing online picked up the story and added to it on their blog post “3D Printing a Metal Shift Knob for Faster Cooling” Check it out, they did a nice job of explaining what we did and how Nathan used several of our tools like ANSYS Mechanical and our Concept Laser metal system to realize the design.
One of my engineering idols is Clarence “Kelley” Johnson. He led the design of many of the coolest aircraft ever made, and he was a pioneer in managing large engineering projects. In “Remembering Kelley Johnson, aircraft design icon and project management superstar” I talk about why he was such an important figure in technology, and some rules he developed for effective project management. Even if you are not an airplane person, it is worth getting to know his work and his methods.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it is one of those positions where you sometimes have take a different path to end up where you should. I “Why medical startups should not focus on patients” in order to in the end, deliver better products and better outcome to their patients. I’ve observed too many good ideas fail because the creators are not paying attention to the people who will pay for and deploy the solution.
Artificial intelligence has been a Science Fiction staple for decades, and has been the focus of much marketing hype more recently. While all this was going on however, AI sort of happened. It is here, it is part of our every day, and “Are you ready for artificial intelligence to change your business?” This is one of those fundamental technology shifts that impacts everything, and smart business will understand and adapt.
People talk about automation, mostly with respecte to manufacturing, like it is something that is comming. But “Automation is here and we need to pay attention.” If you don’t understand how computer software, robotics, and sensors are changing every aspect of our lives, odds are you will miss how it will change your business.
Like so much else these days, the way that we deliver training to employees has changed over time to take advantage of new technologies. This is especially true for technical training on how to use hardware and software. The traditional classroom approach has been replaced with online and on-demand training. In “Technical training for employees is changing, is that a good thing?” I put on my curmudgeon hat and talk about why the traditional way has advantages that outway the negatives.
If you have ever implemented a Database appcliation at your business you know it can be a pain. In “5 things to think about when implementing a database product at your business” I go over some lessons that we have learned over time to make the whole process and outcome better.
The project to keep a 1944 P-51 Mustang flying was covered again, this time in 3D Metal Printing Magazine (Pg 23-33). Concept Laser worked with PADT to reverse engineer and print the exhaust manifold from a P-51 to keep it flying. Unlike the other article and video on the project, this reporter used this example as a great way to look at the readiness of military aircraft, and not just antique planes.
As PADT’s Rey Chu says ““This was a great exercise that’s suitable for numerous military applications and very relevant to the future use of 3D metal printing to maintain fleets in the field,” Chu says. “Maintaining spare-parts inventory has become a significant challenge, for example, to the Air Force. Additive manufacturing could be the solution.”
Everywhere you drive in Phoenix you see autonomous cars being tested. These are cool and all, but they also are a sign of a whole new boom in technological change. In “Self-driving cars are driving big changes in tech” I go over some of the key disruptive innovations that will be driven by these new vehicles.
When Cox Communications asked us to be part of its local Smart Home Tour I said yes for one simple reason: I wanted to see a truly connected home. in “3 keys to success for smart home devices” I discuss some of the lessons I learned about IoT devices that actually work in the home.
Technology is always changing, and it is changing faster and in more ways. Even if your business is not a “technology” business, new ways of doing things, new business models, and new ways of communicating will impact your business. In “6 ways to adapt your business model to disruptive technology” I explore six simple things that you can do to not just avoid harm by, but to take advantage of disruptive technologies.