curiosity and creativity, harnessed to execution
SAM FELLER
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about

my background is in a nutshell below. to see my process in action, be sure to check out my blog.

Education

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, WPI '07, High Honors

Typically it's the letter "A" in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and a new project that's given me cause to continue my education. I've taken grad classes at Tufts, MIT, and MassART and I've taken online classes at Coursera and MITx. I self teach and I read voraciously.

- Purple Cow
- Permission Marketing
- The Brand Gap
- Zag
- Crossing the Chasm
- Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook
- The Marketing Playbook
- Hooked

- Getting to Yes
- Never Split the Difference
- Solution Selling

- Innovator's Dilemma
- Innovator's Solution
- Founder's Dilemmas
- Jobs to be Done
- Business Model Generation
- Lean Startup
- The 4 Steps To The Epiphany

- Guns, Germs And Steel
- Why Nations Fail
- Bird By Bird
- Thinking Fast and Slow

- The Toy & Game Inventor's Handbook
- Design Of Everyday Things
- Making It
- The Non-Designer's Design Book
- Laws Of Simplicity
- Why We Buy
- The Visual Display Of Quantitative Information

- Product Design For Manufacture & Assembly
- Introduction to Algorithm's
- Embedded Linux Primer
- Serverless Single Page Apps
- Developing Technical Training

- Skunkworks
- Creativity Inc.
- How Stella Saved The Farm
- Scrum: The Art Of Doing Twice The Work In Half The Time
- Orbiting The Hairball
- Good to Great

Entrepreneurship

wrightgrid, llc

Cofounder / Head of Product Development - as the company grew from a bootstrapped operation to an angel funded company, I became responsible for hiring the engineering team, mentoring the electrical and embedded engineers, milestone and schedule planning, and overall product direction and execution.

On less than $400k of outside investment, we shipped a small fleet of cloud connected, solar powered cell phone charging kiosks to various countries in Africa.

awkward engineer (product)

Completely solo endeavor turned a $500 initial investment into a 5 figure annual passive income stream. Focus has been on consumer goods, with distribution through online and traditional retail channels. Work has resulted in independent product launches, licensing deals, and a 700% funded Kickstarter campaign. see www.awkwardengineer.com

awkward engineer (consulting)

Work has included road mapping and spend planning for a new IoT venture, creating system architectures for a highly integrated electromechanical medical device, and also basic mechanical and electrical design work.

Skills

Engineering

electromechanical systems engineering
design for sheet metal, injection molding, machining
DFMA
C.M. / vendor management
rapid prototyping
embedded C / arduino
circuit board design / layout
javascript / python
AWS

Design

graphic design
industrial design
html / css / javascript
photography

Business

spend planning
team planning / hiring
business modeling
product launch / Kickstarter marketing

Portfolio

Some of my projects.

WrightGrid Cell Phone Kiosk

Angel Funded Startup

Analog Voltmeter Clock

Solo Kickstarter

NextBus Sign

Personal Skill Builder

Panic Button Light Switch

Traditional Retail

Cookie Dunk Cup

Licensed Product, Kickstarter

Portfolio Website

Personal Skill Builder

Sketches

Personal Skill Builder

Process

How I make things.

  • Strategy / Concept

    Strategy and concept generation is all about making connections between what customers need (whether or not they can articulate it) and what is possible. Ideas come from user research, market research, and brainstorming, but ideas alone aren't quite enough. Initial strategies and concepts need to pass a sniff test of feasability, which depends on the business case, the resources at hand, and the technological difficulty.

  • Prototyping

    The prototype phase is all about getting things done quickly, so you can learn as much as possible, as fast as possible, as cheaply as possible. There's no substitute for what happens when ideas meet reality, or when actually users start doing unexpected things. Prototyping makes all that happen sooner. I love 3d printing, Arduinos, sketching, cardboard mockups, demo videos, vapor tests, and early (or even mock) sales.

  • Framework

    I like to borrow techniques from several disciplines when tackling a plan as large as building out a new product or company. My method is to envision the customer journey, starting with marketing and sales, all the way through setup, use, and end of life, and combine that with a Product Breakdown Structure (a systems engineering technique pioneered by NASA). The journey and systems view of the company show all the pieces that need to be built. Those pieces form the backlog. Iteratively building them out, building some pieces in phases, learning, adjusting, and improving, is the next step.

  • Execution

    I prefer to tackle the backlog in a Scrum-ish fashion, meaning I subscribe to the philosphies underpinning Scrum, but often find it necessary to adapt it to the nature of the work being done. The framework from the previous step provides the overall direction and each sprint either adds new capability or improves the existing capability of the company. Often, pieces of the framework can be mocked up in a lean fashion, and built out as they become warranted.

    I believe in the power of cross functional teams, with collaborative, iterative development. Sales needs to sell things that engineering can sell and vice versa. I love a culture that celebrates "show and tell" of the work being done across an organization.

Contact

How to find me.




Sam Feller

sam@awkwardengineer.com