Sunday, October 7, 2018

Colorado Startup Life: Week 3

Another week living the dream! But seriously, what else would I rather be doing at this point in my life? I'm not sure. I'd like to be running more... and own a plane... and have some all wheel drive high clearance high mileage vehicle (which doesn't exist) but otherwise life is pretty good.

Work, it's the main thing I do. I'm learning a lot! I like learning. Hopefully that's obvious. So I'm going to remain vague for as long as possible about what company I work for or even the product I work on, to protect the company and myself. With that being said, as a product configuration engineer I'm responsible for the configuration of the product. Haha! But I'm not sure how to say it much better. I'll get back to that.

I'm spending most of my time doing standard design/FEA engineering. This week on Tuesday I downloaded Ansys and two hours later had a simulation done! I haven't used Ansys since 2011, and having done FEA solely for over three years I'm always afraid to open an FEA program and do an analysis, because I don't want to mess up a constraint or a load or a contact surface and totally negate the value of the analysis. That being said, I've done it before and my simple Ansys model made a lot of sense. The results were just about exactly what I expected. Woohoo! In three weeks I've designed a gear set and done a simple FEA, things that I never actually did in my old job because there was someone else to do it.

Tuesday I went out to work with two of my coworkers and listened, hard. I work with an amazing group of people! Eventually the conversation got back around to me, and the question was asked, "What do you want to do?" and I replied basically exactly what I am doing. I think this job is perfect for me. Again, I don't have the answer how to configure the product, but I like working to solve this problem. When I got back into the office I was talking to a different person and I said, "I just went to lunch with X and Y and we had a talk about, 'What is my job here?'" and the four people sitting around all laughed. She responded, "I think we've all had that conversation here." That's just a little anecdote, but the point of that tangent story is in a growing company I bet discussions like that are super common. It can feel a little insecure to have a discussion like that, because the role is not super super defined. In fact, a different coworker told me that they were debating this position as a company since January this year, and the only settled on the role in late June!

Getting back to configuring the product. As I get deeper into the company some of the weaknesses begin to show, but there is a lot of awareness about some of those weaknesses. For example, I was not sure why person A and B sat beside each other when person A and C work together so much. However, I learned person A had a weakness that is person B's strength. One challenge for my role is to come up with a solution that works for everyone. Something that manufacturing, supply management, design, and test can all use, with all of the weaknesses that each of us has. When only 20 people in a company will ever use the system (at least this year) having two people, two of the power users that might not like to use the system is a show stopper. In other words, Dale Carnegie (soft skills) set me up for this just as much as Design for Six Sigma (technical skills). I don't know the answer, that's why I'm working on it.

Saturday I climbed Mount of the Holy Cross. It was super cold! Windchill was probably zero at the top. With my lung issue, my fingers and toes were much much colder than they normally would be in that situation. I was seriously afraid of frostbite the last half hour of the climb. I'll try to get the summit video posted at some point. There was about three inches of snow at the top of the mountain. And keep in mind two weeks ago I was up on Mt. Princeton about 40 miles away and it was probably in the 50s. I wore my approach shoes without any micro spikes or crampons, and that was the right show for the day. However, it's definitely boot season now. Like I've maybe mentioned, I'm basically going to try and finish the 14ers before calendar summer starts in June. I just counted, I have 27 left to go.
Just after sunrise showing the North Ridge of Mt. of the Holy Cross.
About 50 vertical feet below the summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross looking Southwest.

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