Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Fit, form, and function
Take an orange. An average orange, one you would peel and eat. Some oranges have seeds you'd spit out, other oranges are seedless - you can pop a segment in your mouth, squash down, and taste the meaty fruit.
Now take this same orange and squeeze it, making a fresh glass of orange juice. You have messed with the fit, form, and function of the orange. No longer is the juice encased in the orange's membrane - it is in your glass. The form of the fruit? Gone from solid to liquid. And the function? From a high fiber, sometimes stringy, segment of citrus to a thirst quenching drink.
You are "engineering". Okay, a minor role player in engineering, but you have redesigned one engineered item into another. You have re-engineered an orange's fit, form and function.
For 12 years, my job was with engineers who only goal was to re-design a radar system. Every modification was described by its fit, form and function. Did Motorola or Intel just come out with a new integrated circuit that was more powerful, faster, smaller? And you can see it could work in the system's antenna? But to make it work, you have to adjust the fit, form or function of the antenna.
No, really, great. Write it up in a statement of work, and we will ask the customer to fund it. Otherwise, write a white paper for publication - and someday the customer will come with money, begging us to make the change.
Fender Telecaster guitar.
The telecaster had a different fit, form and function than any other guitar around in 1951. Guitar players drifted to telecasters because of the variety of sounds they could produce and because of the reduced 'feedback' .
Want the Blues? Telecaster is your instrument.
Or a steel guitar sound? Telecaster is your tool.
Do you want to sound like Waylon Jennings?
Or Keith Richards. Or Eric Clapton??? Or how about Bruce Springsteen? Prince? Jeff Beck? Tell me when to stop...
Fit, form, function. What have you modified today?
And where will it take you?