...Since Global Warming

Despite what many may think about global warming, I have a feeling Santa and his elves wouldn't be too upset.

Take Your Child to Work...

Wright Engineers' company culture is very family-friendly, and with lots of young families with a lot of kids, our office can feel like a daycare center on "take your child to work day".  I thought it would be funny to show a dad who brought his unemployed, middle-aged, still-lives-in-the-basement-and-plays-video-games son to work with him.

...I also knew Helen would not be pleased.

It's Not How Hard You Work

One of my engineering professors in college had this saying and a similar picture framed on the wall of his office.  It must have made a big impression on me because I've never forgotten it.

This reminds me of the famous quote by John Wooden: "Never mistake activity for achievement", or the words seen on the wall of many a CEO's office: "Bring me results, not excuses".

Exactly Twice as Big

Engineers just can't help it - it's in our DNA.  This reminds me of one of my favorite engineer stories...

A priest, a lawyer, and an engineer were all sentenced to death by guillotine.  The priest felt he'd lived a good life and offered to go first.  "But," he said, "I'd like to lie on my back so I can look up into heaven when I go".  The priest was laid on his back under the guillotine, the executioner gave the signal, and the blade was dropped.  It stopped just inches from the priest's neck.  "It must be a sign from God", they decided, so they let him go free.  The lawyer couldn't stand it any longer and jumped in line next.  Since it worked for the priest, he thought it might work for him, so he asked to be laid on his back.  The signal was given, the blade was dropped, and again it stopped just inches from the lawyer's neck.  It was hard for everyone to believe, but they couldn't argue with a sign from God, so they let the lawyer go free.  The humble engineer, not wanting to make waves, also laid on his back and looked up into heaven.  Just as the executioner was about to give the signal, the engineer shouted, "Wait!  I think I see the problem."

Went With Plan B

Another in a line of cartoons about the folly of choosing "cheap" design services and assuming you're actually saving money.  As long as some people continue to do it, I'll continue to find ways to mock it.

For more "cheap" cartoons, click here.

It's Just a Simple...

Anyone who prepares estimates or fee proposals knows this scenario: You get an RFP for a potential project with a vague description (and, if you're lucky, a rough sketch) and you're asked to provide a fixed all-inclusive precise unwavering fee for all necessary services to see this nebulous project through to completion.

In early 1998, we were asked to quote a structural fee for "just a simple 4,500 square foot restaurant". Little did we know the eventual complexity of the project or that the architect was "going for an award on this one" - a fact we discovered during repeated changes during design. In the end, the project turned out very well, the architect won his award...

...and our final job cost was about 10 times our fee.

The Smell of Success

We all know someone who has this "smell of success". (If you don't, that person is probably YOU.)
This makes me chuckle, but I think there's a lot of truth in this common saying about the ratio between inspiration and perspiration.

It's sentiments go well with a quote I like by Thomas Edison: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

In a Spirit of Partnering and Trust

The joke is that everyone leaves a "partnering" meeting at the kick-off of a project all smiles as "partners", but as soon as something goes wrong, all that goes out the window.