Archive for January, 2010
Here it is, the original story. I’ve only modified it slightly since it was first written, adding the update note from my daughter. I am keeping the old page intact here as it is fun to watch the counter. This is the “product” I was talking about in the post about Product Development.
Ever since I was young, I’ve had an obsession with the idea of “product development”. Every new idea I’ve had is accompanied by 10 more about how to manufacture, package, brand and market the idea. I can’t explain the obsession, it’s just what rolls out of my brain next. I’ve created products like CookieCrumbs, the Toad Stool, the KingKol and A Place In Your Heart. My biggest frustration in all this is that I cannot seem to get even one of these products successfully to market. Like everyone else, I blame lack of time and resources. This year I want to try something different. Like Captain Kirk who rewrote the Kobayashi Maru test, I’m going to redefine success. All this time, I’ve been judging my self by units sold and since I’ve sold very few units of any of my products (except maybe LolliPop Toppers™), I feel unsuccessful. One product of my design is going to change that.
The product I’m contemplating is the BoogerBall story I penned.
I know, roll your eyes and say, “Oh brother, what absurdity is he talking about now?” Well, I wrote a mildly humorous story some years ago called, “How to Make a BoogerBall” for my daughter Ellen. I posted it here, on my company website for the world to see. To my amazement, the world has seen it.
So that’s my product. Not a BoogerBall, not a book about BoogerBalls, but the story itself, How to Make a BoogerBall by Amos E. Avery. Why does this redefine success for me? Because it’s already a success. My goal is not to sell the story, but to get people to read it. My first website counter reached 4000 plus readers before I changed web hosts. The new site has over 29000 hits on that page. Blogs around the world have pages of comments about my story. It’s already a success. Anything I can do to gain more readers is a success and anything I can sell along the way is icing on the cake.
So here’s the plan. Launch BoogerBall.com as a legitimate site (it’s just forwarding to a page on my company site right now). Do all of the “product development” things I can’t help but do (you should see the pages of notes and drawings I have for just this idea alone). Develop manufacturing techniques, logos, packaging, identities, marketing strategies, support products, tag lines, graphics and compelling stories. Most importantly, write about all of it as I do it. BoogerBall.com will be the recipient of the finished product – the story and all of its supporting stuff. Averyswellidea.com will be the recipient of this first entry and all subsequent entries along the way. So, if you want to learn more about creativity mixed with faith mixed with foolishness mixed with practical product development insights, stay tuned.
I discovered yesterday from reading Mike Pucket’s blog that the SolidWorks certification team had released another advanced exam, CSWP Weldments. Since I am scheduled to teach a hands-on session at SolidWorks World next month titled, “Non-Welded Weldments – Using SolidWorks Weldment Tools and 3DContentCentral to Create Cool 80/20 Structures”, I thought it would be a good idea to get certified.
The first thing I discovered is that SolidWorks is just like any other company – their website is not up-to-date. The certification page in the Customer Portal lists a coupon code for subscription customers to take an advanced exam for free (one of the perks of being on subscription). The code didn’t work. It had expired 5 days ago. The Weldments exam wasn’t even listed. A quick email to email@example.com brought a new code from Av (Avelino Rochino, Certification Specialist) that worked just fine.
On to the Sample Exam. The nice thing about the sample exam which can be said about all of their sample exams, is that it is, in some ways, harder than the actual test. I know Weldments fairly well after creating over 40 weldment profile library features of 80/20 extrusions and uploading them to 3DContentCentral. It turns out that my weakness is 3D Sketches. I really had to work to get my answer to match the key on the last page of the sample. [Note to self, work on 3D sketch techniques.] Next the sample exam showed me something I’d never done before, a 3 member miter.It’s possible to have 3 members come to a corner and miter all 3 together. It was new to me and took a few minutes to master – a few minutes well spent. So the sample exam was a challenge, but I did all right, so on to the real thing.
120 minutes, 27 questions. I jumped into the first few with fervor and made a few profiles. Something to consider if you work mostly in inches, make yourself a part template that is in metric as most every CSWP exam I’ve taken has started most exercises in metric units. Another suggestion that I teach my students is to add the Weldment Profiles directory to your Design Library task pane.It makes it easier to create weldment profile library features (drag the sketch from the tree to the pane and drop it) and you get a nice preview of the profiles that you don’t get inside the weldment tools.
So I felt pretty confident after the first few consecutive questions and then I remembered my failure in the cave of 3D sketching. I took my own advice from the Sheet Metal exam – stop and read every problem. I’ve recently made lots of drawings with weldment cut list tables, so I jumped on those questions next. Then to the advanced questions which focused on proper profile alignment and finally the big 3D sketch problem. I was glad I saved this part for last because at that point I figured I had already passed the test. I’d also wasted 15 minutes of test time on a quick bio break and an urgent discussion with a customer about their customer who wanted us to fudge our paperwork because they made a mistake on their paperwork. There’s nothing like having someone ask you to throw away hours of work you did over 2 years to fix a paperwork glitch to distract you during a CSWP exam.
I tried hard, it looked perfect, but my 3D sketch answer didn’t match any of the choices. I triple checked, redrew some of it and still no match. Finally I chose the closest answer and the test ended. Wow, 120 minutes are gone and I passed. Not a perfect score, but I can proudly say that I’m the first person in Minnesota that chooses to be listed in the CSWP database to pass the Weldments exam. Hmmm. Well, my kids weren’t that impressed either. The good thing is that I can teach my SolidWorks World class with official credentials. And, I can now add CSWP-AWS to CSWP, CSWP-ASMS and of course, BSME. Woohoo!
The exam was pretty fair. There was one question series that didn’t specify a material in the questions but it was already chosen for you in the downloaded file you must start with. The other exams are notorious for throwing in material changes to catch you up, so I’m hyper sensitive to this – it should have been in the question a least for verification. Also, on my system, everything seemed to hang for an undetermined period of time after downloading a file (several times during the exam). This is a bit unnerving for fear the exam is locked up and all of your time will be wasted. Overall, a good test – glad I passed. I’m not sure where you stand on divine intervention, but I can honestly say that I thanked God more than once during the test for showing me something in question 12 that corrected a slight mistake I made in question 8. It’s a good thing you can go back and improve your answers. Say a little prayer before you begin, it will help.
- SolidWorks Composer User Group Meeting
- Southern Minnesota SolidWorks User Group Feb Meeting
- Branding the Ball – Redefining the Logo
- Custom Database Software Development with FileMaker Pro
- Branding the Ball – a WordPress website
- SolidWorks Certification …Rock Star?
- Family Style Display
- SolidWorks Weldments – The 3 Member Miter
- Branding the Ball – The Word Mark
- More New 80/20 Weldment Profiles