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Another episode with people talking about consulting for electronics! Welcome to our guests, listed clockwise from the top left in the episode photo.
- Alex Klimaj from ARK Electronics in Utah in the US.
- Jeremiah Gillis from Embedded Bytes, Inc in Wyoming in the US.
- Kieran O’Leary from Mixed Signal Systems, Ltd in Scotland in the UK. Kieran has been on the show on his own in the past.
- We all know each other from the Electronics Consultant Forum. If you’re interested in joining you can apply here.
Notes from the show:
- Episode 409 was also about Electronic Consulting. That episode inspired the consultant forum as a place to discuss issues related to the field.
- Working with remote clients, before and during the lockdown.
- All have considered making hardware for sale outside of client work.
- Alex has made the LiPow
- Kieran does courses and has made some demo boards for SI issues
- Jeremiah will be making some mod hardware for his Mazda RX7
- Chris liked the idea of building a reference design after Ryan Cousins from KRTKL was on the show talking about how the Snickerdoodle is a lead generation tool.
- Having a niche is also important.
- The Long Tail (written by past guest Chris Anderson)
- Past guest / co-host Greg Charvat has written niche books that lead to opportunities at startups as a CTO.
- Schedules at home lab are tough, but not that different than before for the attendees. Kieran is used to working in the middle of the night (it was 1 am during the call for him)
- Alex recorded a video of mountain biking using a Skydio drone
- Keeping up on the latest trends via podcasts. We didn’t mention it directly but this included the machine learning episode on embedded.fm.
- Classes are always a good way to learn too, but might be more limited.
- Looking at job postings also calls out what skills are in demand. Chris referenced the HN who’s hiring posts.
- Chris wishes there was an Audm for Engineers, that reads you technical articles and/or summaries. If you’re interested email email@example.com with the subject line “Audm for engineers”
- How are you rigorous?
- Standard processes in place
- Jeremiah is learning from the medical industry, since there are more regulations. This includes things like unit testing that links back to a requirement.
- Tracking time for quality, including how well they are doing for estimates.
- Asana with Everhour
- Book: How to measure anything
- The important thing is to check whether it’s done or not. “Are we happy? Yes or no”
- A great tip: Every block in the schematic gets a number for PCB reviews
- Using a balance sheet as a budget check. Adding custom categories to your Chart of Accounts (with your accountant’s blessing) means you can categorize with more fine control.
- Some of the accounting/tracking tools we use:
- Spend your time billing hours
- War stories
- Once there was a layoff, one the employees was nice enough to update Kieran on the situation
- Jeremiah war story about client
- “I declare Force Majeure!”
- So you want to be a consultant. Also referenced in Jack Ganssle’s series on being a consultant.
- Things to learn in the next 5 years:
- Business strategy (Trillion dollar coach – Bill Campbell_
- DC power storage and EVs
- Measuring progress (Measure What Matters – John Doerr)
- Consulting forum application
- Follow our guests online!
- Kieran O’Leary on Twitter, LinkedIn and his personal site
- Jeremiah Gillis on LinkedIn, his company site
- Alex Klimaj on Twitter, LinkedIn and his company site
Hey Chris, you mentioned some books or course material that you enjoy going through but I couldn’t catch the name. It sounded like Baververse……? Could you please confirm? Thank you for another interesting show.
Chris Gammell says
I often talk about the “Bobiverse” books, this is the first book: https://www.amazon.com/Are-Legion-Bob-Bobiverse-Book-ebook/dp/B01LWAESYQ
It’s sci-fi though. Does that sound like what I was talking about?