Category Archives: Management

Stories from the gray side of life.

Old-School Selling of the Exploration of Mars

My youngest son has been fascinated with Elon Musk's plans for colonizing Mars. He is not that different from his old man because in my youth Wernher von Braun (Figure 1) had me captivated with his plans for human-crewed missions to Mars. As I described von Braun's plans for exploring Mars to my son, I realized the both Musk and von Braun applied similar state-of-the-art marketing approaches. Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, History of Science and Technology, Management | 2 Comments

Things Not to Do in an Interview

I have been in management since 1995, and I literally have hired many dozens of people and interviewed hundreds of people in the process. I have heard just about everything you can imagine in an interview. After a recent interview, I thought it might be useful to mention a few things not to do in an interview: Continue reading

Posted in Management | 2 Comments

Product Design vs Research

I saw an interesting discussion on the Dynamic Ecology web site about publishing research papers. As I read the article, I saw that analogies could be drawn between doing research and developing new products. The Dynamic Ecology post was centered on observations made by William Shockley , 1956 Physics Nobel Prize winner, on what makes a successful researcher. Continue reading

Posted in Management | 2 Comments

Decision Making Using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

I gave a seminar a few days ago on System Engineering – a favorite subject of mine. One of the topics covered during my System Engineering seminar was decision making. Specifically, I speak about how I want trade studies to be performed in my group. I have participated in hundreds of trade studies, and I have used many different approaches. Continue reading

Posted in General Mathematics, Management | 1 Comment

Book Review: A Passion for Leadership

I just finished reading Bob Gate's A Passion for Leadership, and I am a bit torn. I regularly read books on management and most of them do not contribute anything to improving management– that is not true for A Passion for Leadership. The book is a well-written memoir in which Gates shows how he applied standard management lessons in difficult circumstances. These standard management lessons are worth repeating. My feelings about the book are torn because there is nothing new here. I understand that one could argue that the principles of good management are timeless, but I tend to like authors who give me a new way to look at things. Continue reading

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A Quick Look at the Walmart Closings

I saw in the news that Walmart is in the process of closing 269 of its stores, including 154 in the US. I became curious where the US store closures were occurring, so I downloaded the closings file and generated a pivot table of the data (Figure 1). Continue reading

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Book Review: Against The Tide

I have been working my way through a number of management books lately. The best of the lot, Against the Tide, was written by Admiral Dave Oliver about the management principles of Hyman G. Rickover (Figure 1). Years ago, I worked for a retired sub captain named Ernie Fischer. He had a number of interesting stories about serving on a nuclear submarine and about Hyman G. Rickover, the man responsible for creating the modern nuclear navy. Continue reading

Posted in Management, Military History | Comments Off on Book Review: Against The Tide

Work Allocations Relative to the Ansoff Matrix

I am often asked to evaluate the focus of my team's efforts relative to company's priorities. There are different ways of expressing these priorities – one common approach is to look at how your group resources are allocated relative to the Ansoff matrix (Figure 1). Continue reading

Posted in Management | 2 Comments

Modeling Component Costs Over Time

I frequently am asked by marketing and finance people about how component costs will vary with time. Their motivations are clear – most market segments are strongly driven by unit cost, and the marketing folks need to determine when costs will drop enough to enlarge the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for their products. Continue reading

Posted in Electronics, Financial, Management | 2 Comments

Rogue Software Engineers and Responsibility, Accountability, and Authority

I have always liked Volkswagen (VW) cars – I actually rebuilt a Beetle engine during a shop class in high-school (Figure 1). My respect for VW took a serious downturn this morning when read the following headline,"Top U.S. VW Exec Blames 'A Couple of Software Engineers' for Scandal". Continue reading

Posted in Management | 2 Comments