Tag Archives: engineering

HIRE RAY GREEN NOW! Award-winning roboticist making sandwiches instead of building apps and robots

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Ray Green , Kevian (7-yearsold) and Jaimyiah Moore (Kevian’s mom) working on their new robot in preparation for the 2019 IEEE SoutheastCon Open Hardware Competition in Rob Fortenberry’s workshop. 

HIRE RAY GREEN NOW! What are you waiting for? He almost single-handedly beat hundreds of other engineering students and graduates from 48 universities, including Georgia Tech and Clemson, to place second in the 2018 IEEE SoutheastCon Open Hardware Competition!

Instead of applying his brilliance building robots, writing code and doing design work, he’s making sandwiches at Panera at night after a long day of studying at Code School.

“The thing about Ray is he’s not just brilliant, but he’s so good!” explained his mentor Robert Fortenberry. And by good he means the sweet kid in the photo, so willing to help others.

“He actually would have won the entire competition as his robot actually got the top score, but when he checked in, he forgot to bring his logo flag  and that was the difference between first and second place.”

Ray and Rob are emblematic of the opportunity that needs to be nurtured in Memphis. Rob has devoted his time and money to helping young people achieve greatness. His own son won the competition at 10-years old and he now coaches multiple teams from Memphis.

Ray is that diamond who doesn’t even realize his own value, winning the competition was barely mentioned on his resume.

“So you participated in the IEEE Hardware Competition? Did you win anything?” I asked after reviewing his resume.

“Actually, I came in second.”

“Was it a high school competition?

“No it was college.”

“How many?”

“Not sure, about 50.”

Piqued, I threw out a few college names, “So did you beat Georgia Tech or Florida State?”

“Uh, yes… Is that a big deal?”

I nearly fell out of my chair. Here’s a brilliant, naïve, hard-working kid from Memphis, @Tech901 graduate and @Code Crew student who beats hundreds of other competitors from top engineering schools in 11 states, and has no idea whether that’s a big deal or not!

Good news for you, is he’s available now for part-time work and is graduating in just a few months, so grab him now. Also, he and Rob’s other Memphis teams need sponsors  for the 2019 competition in April, so hurry and support greatness before someone else beats you to it!

Bad UX! Bad product management! Bad RIM! Or, why does my BlackBerry have a flashing light?

Want to know why the RIM management team should be fired and BlackBerry has gone from cool to crap?

The green flashing light!

Anyone who’s owned a BlackBerry knows what I’m talking about. In the top right corner there exists a mysterious flashing light – sometimes it’s green; sometimes it’s red. What it does and why it’s flashing no one knows and no one cares as far as I can tell.

Instead, it just irritates! At night if I want to use the alarm function or want to leave my phone next to my bed I have to cover it with a shirt or something else so it doesn’t bother me. I finally managed to figure out how to turn off the green light but now an orange one appears…. sigh 😦

I’m sure I can find out how to turn that one off as well but my point here is: How many tens of millions of dollars has RIM wasted on a feature that adds limited to no value – or even negative value over the years?

Just because a feature may have made sense in version 1.0 doesn’t mean it makes sense in version 2.0! As a product manager you have to be ruthless about what features to include and which you exclude.

Products are just like art – whether music, writing or photography – what you exclude is just as important as what you include. There’s a classic scene from the Movie Amadeus where the king tells Mozart, “It was good there are just too many notes. Just cut a few and it will be perfect!”

Take that too heart! It will save you money from developing drivel that few people use and frustrates even more users.  Even better, it will focus your efforts on polishing the key pieces your customers really care about.

Just imagine all the wasted engineering and design efforts that have gone into enabling the flashing lights. I can just imagine being in design reviews where they’re trying to increase their screen size but can’t because of the flashing light.

RIM wake up! Eliminate the flashing light and focus your efforts on what we really want: Touch screens, bigger screens and more apps! Until then I’ll wish I had an Android or iPhone.

Am I right? Let me know what you think.