Archive for November, 2012

Circle of Life

Engineers solve technical problems so

Other engineers can create products so

Companies can manufacture them so

They can sell them for a profit and

Use the wealth to pay workers so

Workers can support their families and pay taxes so

Their countries have wealth for good schools to

Grow the next generation of engineers to

Solve the next generation of technical problems so…

Why Tough Choices Are Tough

This week my son made a difficult choice – he chose between two things he loves.

The easy choice was to say yes to both, but in reality, there was not enough time. And in reality, the easy yes was a masquerade. It was really a slow, painful no with rippling consequences to his future. The tough choice did not come immediately and it did not come easy. But in the end, he was ready to make it because he saw things not as he wanted them to be, but as they were.

Once he decided he was going to choose, he had to decide which to choose. A tough choice made tougher because one is mainstream and the other on the fringe. It was clear there were far more overt repercussions with a no to the mainstream. Simply put, the powerful mainstream would not understand. But to his credit, he recognized the mainstream cares about itself, not him. Also, it was clear the fringe accepts him for him. So he sat himself in the future, figured out what was best for the soon-to-be him, and chose the fringe.

Once he decided which to chose, he had to decide how to choose. The easy choice was to slink quietly into the fringe never to be seen again. This was another masquerade. It was really an opportunity to self-devalue his decision and a setup for never ending ridicule over the remainder of his high school career. Instead, he made the tough choice to speak truth to the mainstream authority – face-to-face.

He got up early and met the coach in his office. The gist of the meeting – I’m sad, but this is my choice and why I’m choosing.

To the coach’s great credit, though disappointed, he understood and thanked Ethan for meeting face-to-face. And though emotionally wobbly after the meeting, because he declared his choice and was validated, he stood taller. And once validated by the head of the mainstream, there was no room for ridicule.

This week my son showed me what courage is. And he taught me an important lesson – tough decisions are tough, but we’re better off for making them.

I’m proud of him.

A Race for Learning – Video Training with TED-Ed

I’ve been thinking about how to use video to train engineers.  The trouble with video is it takes time and money to create.  But what if you could create lessons using existing video?  That’s what the new TED-Ed platform can do.  With TED-Ed, any YouTube video can be “flipped” into a customized lesson.

Instead of trying to describe it, I used the new platform to create a video lesson.  Click the link below and give it a try. (The platform is still in beta version, so I’m not sure how will go. But that’s how it is with experiments.)


Video lesson: Innovation, Caveman-Style


When answering the questions, it may ask you to sign up for an account.  Click the X in the upper right of the message to make it go away, and keep going.  If the video does not work at all, poke around the TED-Ed website.

Either way, so we can accelerate our learning and get out in front, please post a comment or two.

Celebrating Three Years of Shipulski On Design

Today is a celebration – three years of Shipulski On Design!


I get lot’s of great feeback, but the best is when you tell me my writing touched you and helped you do your work differently. You may see this as my gift to you, but I see it as your gift to me.


Thank you for reading and commenting.


Below are some highlights for 2012:


Accomplishments in 2012

  • Third year of weekly blog posts without missing a beat or repeating (203 posts in total).
  • Second year of daily tweets – 1520 in all (@mikeshipulski).
  • Top 40 Innovation Bloggers – Innovation Excellence, the web’s top innovation site.
  • Sixth consecutive year as Keynote Speaker at International Forum on DFMA.
  • Started Pinterest page – cool engineering pictures  and video content – (ShipOnDesign).
  • Third year of LinkedIn working group – Systematic DFMA Deployment.
  • Second year writing a column for Assembly Magazine (6 columns this year).


Top 5 Posts

  1. Why it’s tough to decide — how to spot unmade decisions – gremlin style.
  2. Choose your path — the three paths explained – short and good.
  3. Impossible — well, almost.
  4. What is Design for Manufacturing and Assembly — the basics – video style.
  5. When It’s Time For a New Cowpath — great photo


I look forward to a great year 4.

Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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