The Entrepreneurial Engineer

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Epictetus for entrepreneurial engineers

As part of the course I'm taking on the Greco-Roman moralists, I've been reading some Epictetus's Discourses. He hits the hammer on the head in book 1, discourse 1 Of the things which are under our control and not under our control:
But now, although it is in our power to care for one thing only and devote ourselves to but one, we choose rather to care for many things, and to be tied fast to many, even to our body and our estate and brother and friend and child and slave. Wherefore, being tied fast to many things, we are burdened and dragged down by them. . . We must make the best of what is under our control, and take the rest as its nature is.
Nuggests of wisdom of the ages are found on almost every page.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The Entrepreneurial Engineer goes on the road to The Illinois Society of Professional Engineers convention in Bloomington, IL Friday, July 29, 2006 (9:10-11 am).

Session 9-A - The Entrepreneurial Engineer (2 PDHs)
Sponsored by: College of Engineering, University of Illinois
Speaker: Professor David E. Goldberg, PhD - Department of General Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Today's world is radically networked, fast-paced, and full of opportunity, but to be successful in these times, engineers need to master a broad array of personal, interpersonal, oganizational, and business skills. This talk starts by pointing out key differences between yesterday's Cold War engineer and today's entrepreneurial engineer. It continues by examining the tug of war for the engineer's mind and how to find joy in engineering study and work. This lead to an examination of the role of engagement in matching personal interested to a life of fulfilling work. The talk concludes by explaining a key pattern or template that lead to clearer, more effective business writing and presentation.

See the full program here.

White paper on the Engipreneur

Paragon Innovations President has a whitepaper on being on an entrepreneurial engineer here. The paper explores five characteristics of the Engipreneur:
  1. Initiating communication
  2. Packaging potential
  3. Delivering on promises
  4. Understanding the business
  5. Closing the system loop
See the full white paper for more detail.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Interesting PoE essay

There is an interesting 1998 essay entitled The Importance of Philosophy to Engineering by Carl Mitcham here.

Blogging GECCO

The gang from IlliGAL is blogging the GECCO conference (Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference) here.

Descartes for engineers

Philosophy of Engineering invokes Descartes (here) and his Discourse on Method as being of interest to engineers. Similar points are made in Billy Koen's Discussion of the Method and my own Design of Innovation.

Take a SHOT

One of the conferences I have threatened to attend for a number of years is the SHOT conference, the Society for the History of Technology. See the coming conference (SHOT-2006 in Las Vegas) program here.

Philosophy and technology

During some investigations of current efforts in philosophy and engineering, I came across the web site of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (here). The society holds a conference every two years and puts out a journal Techne (here). During my perusal, I found an interesting article connected with my own investigations of Searle's ideas (here) and a review of a book (What Things Do) that takes an artifactual view of the philosophy of technology. I was also directed by this work to take a look at some of Don Ihde's ideas (here).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Theology and engineering: Has engineering lost its mojo?

Philosophy of Engineering is blogging about theology and engineering here. Take a whiff:

I have always seen my engineering career as a journey, a never ending path of learning along which I am driven by a love for the subject. As such the few years spent as university have long-since become only a small part of what makes me an engineer.

This may be likened to some form of religious devotion, something spiritual, something beyond the materialist and utilitarian application of scientific principles to problems. Rather it may be characterised by a desire to understand the nature of engineering knowledge and how that knowledge can be used for the benefit of mankind the universe and everything. To some extent, it seems this zeal is missing from new entrants to the engineering profession; it seems the profession may be losing touch with its soul.

Given the history of the 20th Century and the turn that philosophy took in that century, it may be a bit late in the day to worry about engineering having lost its soul; engineering is merely a small part of a culture that has largely lost its soul, in any seriously religious sense.

If on the other hand, we are wondering where the passion is in a more secular sense (has engineering lost its mojo?), I would agree that engineers need to better follow their bliss and find engagement or passionate involvement with their work. There are many ways to do this, and chapters 2 & 3 of The Entrepreneurial Engineer explore these topics (see here).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

TEE is really done

The last stop before freeway on publishing a book is the index. I took longer than expected, but the index for The Entrepreneurial Engineer is done, and the book should be out in early August. The table of contents is available here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Submerged in philosophy

I've been submerged in philosophical reading and viewing during my non-work moments this summer. I've documented the other courses I've finished this year, but I just picked up with Practical Philosophy: The Greco-Roman Moralists. I've got Loeb Classical Library editions of Lucian, Cicero, Seneca, and Epictetus on the way as a result, but I'm still trying to catch up with my reading generated by past classes and my other interests.

Moore's Principia Ethica and Ross's The Right and the Good are two classics of modern ethics. They together with Nagels Mortal Questions followed up on Teaching Company course Questions of Value.

Robert Solomon's, The Passions: Emotions and the Meaning of Life was very enjoyable. It laid out his thesis (as did his course Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotions) that emotions are judgments that give our lives their meaning. He arrives at this conclusion from careful readings of the existentialists, but is able to cast off the emptiness of the absurd world of the existentialists and find meaning in our passions.

Robert Solomon's edited collections of papers, Existentialism, was a terrific companion to his course (No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life), and also went along with his suggestion to read Camus's, The Fall, The Stranger, and The Myth of Sisyphus.

Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety was a nice summer read with a philosophical/historical edge on it. Botton tracks the causes and possible solutions to widespread anxiety over status elegantly and well. If you like Status Anxiety, try reading Bobos in Paradise and The Paradox of Choice for interesting parallels and connections.

I've got a few other interesting things teed up, but let's talk about those when I get to them.