Engineering Mindset

Ex-pat Engineers in Shanghai

Ex-pat Engineers in Shanghai

It’s been a bit quiet here on EngineerBlogs lately. Everyone is no doubt busy with their real jobs, myself included. The reason is for me is simply workload. As an ex-pat, you are expected to communicate with HQ on a regular basis. The only ex-pats that don’t need to deal with such odd hours are ex-pat engineers. After being here for 2 months, I’ve only met 1 ex-pat engineers — a fellow from France that sits 10 ft. away from me. Every other ex-pat that I’ve met that does engineering related work are engineering managers, myself included. Unfortunately, the ex-pat high tech community isn’t all that large. So far, I’ve met an analog IC manager from TI and an IT director from Alcatel-Lucent. Almost everyone else works for companies noted for their mechanical engineering products — GM, Ford, Volvo, and a few other companies that cater to big manufacturing industries […]

Manufacturing, USA vs. Abroad

Lately, I’ve been looking for manufacturers for an injection molded project I’m working on. Requirements at my previous job forced us to source parts in the US, and most of our work was CNC’d aluminum, so exploring overseas suppliers is a new prospect for me. There are some clear advantages to staying in the US and I thought I’d talk about the pros and cons running through my head. Trust The first concern I have with a supplier is trust. Can I trust them to make quality goods and deliver on time? In the US, I feel like basic interview questions and social cues will lead me to conclude whether you’re a worthy supplier or not. I can call you on the phone (because at most you are a few time zones away!), communicate with you in fluent English, and also check your references, who probably also speak English. If […]

6 Ways to Finish Your Projects

6 Ways to Finish Your Projects

I often work on many projects at once. Finishing a project gives me great pleasure- I like to look at it, talk about it, and feel the sense of accomplishment that is nearly analogous to a runner’s high. But getting there takes some practice at the skill of Finishing Stuff. Universally, it is recognized that the last 10% of the project is 90% of the work. I’d say that the first third of the project is 2% of the work. Can someone do the curve and put it in the comments? Why is it so tough to finish projects and so easy to start them? Starting is easy, involving large portions of researching, discussion and shopping. These tasks don’t actually involve producing any results but they feel as though something has been accomplished. Making something out of nothing, to design something or to build something where it wasn’t in existence before […]

What’s In My Bag: Miss Outlier

What’s In My Bag: Miss Outlier

I’ve never actually carried a backpack on a regular basis. I was homeschooled all the way up through highschool, so there was no need to carry textbooks back and forth – they stayed on the bookshelf for when I needed them. And then in community college, by random chance I had a shoulder bag from Land’s End hanging around, and I decided to just use that. I’ve grown accustomed to the shoulder bag, and then when I moved to undergrad from community college, I just stuck with the genre. (Under family “bag,” mine would be genus “shoulder.”) I had one bag that lasted me all the way through undergrad, then in grad school I got a new bag for the occasion, and barring unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions, it’s going to last me until I finish here. In my bag: Wallet and keys So many keys! No, I did not murder a janitor, but I […]