Intellectual Journey

These timelines track my activities. These aren’t mere interests … these were topics where I was actively engaged: I studied it myself … I wrote about it … I did it … I led the company that did it … or I was a central member of the team that did it.

Canada
1974 – 1986

Automating Wind Tunnels – 1985

Automating Wind Tunnels – 1985

I was the liaison (i.e. shock absorber) between the management of an old-school engineering company and a group of crazy, but brilliant systems engineers. The geeks invented a system, “Talent” that was probably 5 to 10 years ahead of its time. It ran as a..... more

Selling Wind Tunnels – 1983

Selling Wind Tunnels – 1983

I worked in business development at one of the 3 companies in the world that you would call if you wanted a wind tunnel. I worked on contracts and project scheduling and writing proposals … lots of proposals. Some were even accepted.

Railroad Capital Investment Manual – 1981

Railroad Capital Investment Manual – 1981

I got a job in the Research Group at Canadian Pacific Railways (CP) in Montreal. It was type of internal consulting group and we tackled whatever weird issue arose. My biggest task was to rewrite the manual for cost-justifying capital projects at CP. In the..... more

Subway Bid for Caracas – 1977

Subway Bid for Caracas – 1977

I worked for a year on the team that assembled a Canadian consortium bid to build the Caracas Metro. We lost the bid, but I did learn a lot of Spanish and traveled to Bogota and Caracas a number of times.

Light Rail Operating Strategies – 1976

Light Rail Operating Strategies – 1976

Ontario set up a company to build a Canadian light rail vehicle. I worked on the operating strategy for LRT lines. The company eventually moved to Kingston and was later bought by Bombardier as the basis for its light rail ventures over following decades.

Modeling Travel Demand for Toronto – 1974

Modeling Travel Demand for Toronto – 1974

The Metropolitan Toronto Transportation Plan Review was styled as the second major “post-classical” city transportation study. IOW, it was holistic, qualitative, and assumed that the process would be political. My role was to take a prior manual travel demand analysis and recast it in Fortran.

Academic
1986 – 2012

Teaching Outside to Inside – 2012

Teaching Outside to Inside – 2012

Even before we moved to Atlanta, I was fascinated with the idea of using mobile networks to teach. Universities had been teaching remotely for years and I taught for 6 years in Auburn’s Executive MBA. But on-campus students desperately need to see the reality of..... more

Technical Systems Minor – 2007

Technical Systems Minor – 2007

I spent a couple of years trying to prototype a business minor to teach technology to business students. I believe it had some great elements, but my colleagues weren’t really interested. They had their own gigs. So it eventually died.

Dimensions of Perception with Video – 2010

Dimensions of Perception with Video – 2010

I worked for a while with an industrial engineering PhD student and, from that interaction and with iPOV on the side, I commissioned a series of graphics that summarized what humans can see versus what a video camera can see.

Black Widow Supply Chain Financing – 2009

Black Widow Supply Chain Financing – 2009

Since iPOV was always eagerly waiting for payments from big customers, I became interested in the implications of steadily lengthening payment terms. I ended up with a surprisingly simple model that largely upended all of the stuff we were teaching MBA students.

Studying Learning AND Forgetting – 1999

Studying Learning AND Forgetting – 1999

I collected large volumes of operator learning data at Chrysler. Two colleagues and I used that to build a model that accounted for patterns of learning, but also captured how performance was lost when a worker was moved away from the task.

Space-Time Diagrams for Operations – 2006

Space-Time Diagrams for Operations – 2006

I had several German students visit Auburn to study with me. Alex, Steffi and Fabian. Not sure why I was chosen, but they were great kids and all went on to good things. Fabian took an interest of mine and developed it into a Master’s..... more

Quality Meta-Standards – 2002

Quality Meta-Standards – 2002

In the late 80’s manufacturing companies  around the world faced demands to adopt a manufacturing quality standard: ISO-9001 … then endure audits to certify they conformed. I was fascinated because academic theory said that management practice cannot be standardized. Yet thousands and eventually millions of..... more

Population of Learners – 1994

Population of Learners – 1994

I was given access to corporate training data for an apparel manufacturer. There were records of thousands of employees who were learning how to sew t-shirts and similar garments. David Nemhard and I developed a model of learning that modelled individual behavior as a stepping..... more

Teaching About Product Families – 1992

Teaching About Product Families – 1992

Susan Sanderson and I published a textbook (and a companion trade press clone). The textbook was adopted at University of Hong Kong, University of Singapore and MIT. I think we wrote it slightly above the mass market.

Chrysler IDS Video Training System – 1996

Chrysler IDS Video Training System – 1996

Chrysler’s Huntsville AL electronics plant spent nearly 2 years investigating and evaluating how to apply cutting edge video editing tools to the production of plant floor training materials. The original technology came from Quantel … a global broadcast video vendor. Although Chrysler ultimately declined to..... more

Early Viral Internet Scandal – 1996

Early Viral Internet Scandal – 1996

Intel made a mistake with its Pentium chip and a university researcher caught them out. The resulting furor ultimately forced Intel to recall existing chips at a cost of at least $250 million. I used usenet and Internet chat records to document the process. It..... more

Management Control Systems – 1994

Management Control Systems – 1994

I began my fascination with the concept of management control and it has continued ever since. Academics don’t like to talk about “control”, but it is central to the management process and we need to understand it in all its forms.

Manufacturing Variety vs Change – 1990

Manufacturing Variety vs Change – 1990

This was my PhD dissertation. I examined how product families differed on the characteristic of product variety and serial design change. I found a pattern that was stable and logical that applied across essentially all of the discrete products industries … at least at that..... more

One of the Last Tours of the Internet – 1987

One of the Last Tours of the Internet – 1987

When I started my PhD in 1987, the Internet was still Arpanet. Every destination in the world was listed in a single text hosts file. I spent (wasted?) a couple of months hunting through every anonymous ftp site in that hosts file.

iPOV
1997 – 2018

Explaining Material Master – 2010

Explaining Material Master – 2010

The idea of a “material master” is central to the design of every major class of transaction management software: CRM, ERP, WMS, Payables, etc. Like AC motors, however, it is usually perceived as a mystery that most employees don’t want to try to understand. iPOV..... more

Day the Music Died – 2010

Day the Music Died – 2010

Steve Jobs might as well have blown up iPOV’s offices. He announced that Flash would not be allowed on the iPAD and all of our corporate customers started to demand we deliver materials without Flash. We had a ton of features that could not be..... more

Edit Video in a Browser – 2009

Edit Video in a Browser – 2009

iPOV’s love affair with Flash hit a peak when we were asked to propose a system to Amgen. They didn’t buy it, but the design was awesome … and we had all the pieces already working. The system would have interactively edited video snippets into..... more

The Day the Orchestra Went Home – 2008

The Day the Orchestra Went Home – 2008

The financial crash hit our big corporate customers hard … and iPOV was all but wiped out. We survived for a while, but debts crippled us until my wife and I paid them off a decade later.

Embedding Video in PDFs – 2004

Embedding Video in PDFs – 2004

iPOV didn’t invent this … Adobe did. However, iPOV pushed the idea hard and developed some software tools to make it faster and easier to author PDFs that contained embedded video. Originally, we used Flash video. Later, we did the same thing with mp4.

iPOV Flash Video Player – 2008

iPOV Flash Video Player – 2008

iPOV took Flash to its logical conclusion by creating a web video player that could be actively reprogrammed on the fly. We used it a lot ourselves, but we never really got traction trying to offer it to others. Poor marketing was a big part..... more

AC Motor eLearning Course – 2007

AC Motor eLearning Course – 2007

AC Motors are incredibly common and important. They are also amazingly simple and elegant, thanks to Nicola Tesla. However, it is no easy chore to explain them to non-engineers. I tried this for Siemens and I think I came pretty close to nailing it. This..... more

Video Speaks Every Language – 2007

Video Speaks Every Language – 2007

A Michelin subsidiary hired iPOV to build video courses on their operations. iPOV’s methodical process made it easy to construct the courses … then translate them into other languages. We produced companion versions in French (for Quebec) and Spanish.

CoSolvent Video Gallery – 2006

CoSolvent Video Gallery – 2006

iPOV developed a “youtube clone” based on open source software. It was designed to make searching video much easier and faster … easier even than Youtube. It worked, and we used it extensively in our projects, but the death of Flash killed it too …..... more

Framework of Technical Explanation – 2004

Framework of Technical Explanation – 2004

iPOV made so many technical manuals (about 500 projects all told) that we became very methodical about their structure. I crafted a 2 page model that guided the structure of almost all of our materials. It was very versatile and seldom let us down.

eLearning Design Patterns – 2002

eLearning Design Patterns – 2002

One of iPOV’s secret weapons was a system of simple design patterns for eLearning. They were not so much designed to look good … although they could. They were designed to make it easy and foolproof to build material that was clear and accurate. We..... more

iPOV Processing Workflow – 1999

iPOV Processing Workflow – 1999

iPOV developed a workflow for eLearning production that cut conventional development time and cost by at least 75%. It remained iPOV’s hallmark for nearly 20 years. I still use it today for my personal work.

Employment “Farm Team” – 1998

Employment “Farm Team” – 1998

For a decade iPOV relied on work by part-time Auburn students. They so consistently exceeded expectations that most ended up in great jobs after graduation. Many of them credited the opportunities and mentoring they received at iPOV. From this experience, I evangelized for the concept..... more

Building eLearning Tech – 1997

Building eLearning Tech – 1997

Over a 10 year period, iPOV developed a collection of cool web software tools for eLearning. Technologies included Flash Actionscript, XML, and video. Some of our best stuff used Flash to put dynamic, interactive layers over standard video. That wasn’t really replicated in web video..... more

After
2012 +

Stacks HOA – 2019

Stacks HOA – 2019

I served as president of the Stacks Home Owner’s Association. I lasted 13 months … one month longer than the previous record-holder.

IoT and Factory Video – 2018

IoT and Factory Video – 2018

I worked with a local industrial bakery to integrate IoT sensors into their suite of surveillance video. The idea was to recognize machine events from the factory floor and use that data to make it easier to find relevant video on the surveillance system. The..... more

Video Surveillance of Bakery Machine Operation – 2017

Video Surveillance of Bakery Machine Operation – 2017

A friend owns an industrial bakery. I talked him into installing some surveillance cameras and a decently capable video management system to observe operations … particularly in his production machinery. A lot of weird things can happen with waffle and pretzel dough and there isn’t..... more

Event Mapping Utility – 2016

Event Mapping Utility – 2016

For about a year, I wrangled the team of developers (in Algeria and Mexico) to create a flexible event mapping utility. It was totally responsive so it ran on desktops and mobile. It also fed anonymous data back to a database where we could build..... more

Rethinking Higher Education -2015

Rethinking Higher Education -2015

I was briefly drawn into the efforts of Morris Brown College to resurrect itself from oblivion. Their situation was dire, so I tried to think outside the box and find a teaching model that could work at much lower cost. Nothing came of it, but..... more

Using Video To Teach Soft Skills – 2015

Using Video To Teach Soft Skills – 2015

I developed sales training courses for a global multinational tech company. There were a lot of courses, so they must have been happy. The key to my design was to use video to explain complex situations that text and graphics could not capture.

Software Sales Training Courses – 2014

Software Sales Training Courses – 2014

I constructed seven detailed courses to train Siemens PLM sales personnel around the world. The courses covered sales techniques, product knowledge and corporate sales management. I also arranged to have them translated into 4 other languages.

Video for Operations Analysis – 2013

Video for Operations Analysis – 2013

I worked with an industrial bakery, Dartfish and Michael Darden to explore a variety of ways to use video to capture raw data for operations analysis. This didn’t really lead to any dramatic opportunities, but it offered tremendous promise and was very interesting.

Fluid Projects – 2013

Fluid Projects – 2013

After iPOV closed up shop in Auburn, I engaged in a number of projects out of Atlanta. My new business model was to use teams of freelancers from all over the globe. If it sounds risky … it isn’t.

New eLearning Production Workflow – 2013

New eLearning Production Workflow – 2013

When I shut down the Auburn iPOV operation, I had to invent a new eLearning production process that would work with remote freelancers. To make the system more appealing to corporate clients, I set it up to use Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft SharePoint. With..... more

Surveillance of Operations – 2011

Surveillance of Operations – 2011

I worked with a sports video software company … Dartfish.com … to use video to observe and record business and factory operations.