First, GAPP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) usually lists the NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering) as a Cost Centre. Sales is considered a Profit Centre. This is for tax reasons.
A well run company realizes that the real value is generated when both Sales and Engineering get along well. This can only happen if they understand each other's care-abouts. The Engineer's contribution is to generate wealth (and value). However, if nobody knows about it, their work is for nothing. In order to get that value to someone who needs it, you need sales. The person in sales is the face and character of the company. It is their responsibility to present that engineered value to the customer. They do that by identifying the features of the design, that would be of benefit to the customer.
This means that both Engineering and Sales (and Marketing) have to understand that an unused feature, or one having no benefit is a horrible waste of time and effort and leads to a schedule slip. Similarly, not understanding when a feature is clumsy or missing, and is a must-have means no sales.
The balance point is hard to discern, it takes a team to ask the right questions.
But this challenge is the art of engineering, and doing it right is one of the great pleasures of engineering. To Sales, having happy customers means possible future sales - and most importantly, being able to get real intelligence as to what is needed next to the engineering team- well before it is needed.
One quick word on skill sets: Project management and Sales are interrupt driven; Marketing and Engineering are insular activities -depending on uninterrupted effort. Accounting is there to reduce taxes and make the money flow at the right rate - not too slow (boredom, frustration) nor too fast (wasteful, insufficient planning)
C level executives are there to present the company to shareholders, and incidentally keep disasters small.
Personally I have flipped back and forth between design engineering, project management, and as a Field Applications Engineer.
I enjoyed each of these responsibilities; however each of them had their tedious dull spots.
Now that may be enough for most readers, but this is, after all the slashdot crowd. Vitally important information is missing!
It mentions "running out of steam". Is there a safety hazard to said device? Possibility of nasty scalds requiring a trip to smirking emergency room staff? Does it require carbon based fuels, like stoking it with coal? Or, worse yet, a coal fired power generating station? Can I have a solar powered charging station, as an option? Wilderness trips, ya know...
It seems that it is dynamically imbalanced, on purpose. Will bits of the device shake off with extended use? What about the interior design? Can it survive international shock, shake and vibration standards? What about electrical safety? Does it pose a risk to public health and safety? Does it have a breath metering device so as to prevent impaired operation?
And most important, what kind of microcontroller does it use? Does it have an SDK? Which languages does it support? Can it be re-programmed? Will it run Linux? Is there a logging function that permits peak useage times and rates? Does it have WiFi?
Hope this helps spark a discussion.
Do parents have the right to know which of their kids' teachers are the most and least effective? That's the controversy roaring in California this week with the publication of an investigative series by the Los Angeles Times's Jason Song and Jason Felch, who used seven years of math and English test data to publicly identify the best and the worst third- to fifth-grade teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The newspaper's announcement of its plans to release data later this month on all 6,000 of the city's elementary-school teachers has prompted the local teachers' union to rally members to organize a boycott of the newspaper.
According to the linked Times article, United Teachers Los Angeles president A.J. Duffy said the database was "an irresponsible, offensive intrusion into your professional life that will do nothing to improve student learning."
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. -- Publius Syrus