We Need A Compass .. Not A Map

Building A Bridge To Innovation


Leadership & Design

Subscribe To Our Blog

Good Engineers Are Like Good Parents

Jan 2, 2018 6:27:00 PM / by Travis Jacobs



Tough love or the hard way?

Which would you prefer, tough love and me telling you the brutally honest truth, which will be hard to hear, and you won't like it, or you learning the very hard way that what I'm telling you is the truth? 

Which approach do take with your teenagers?

Would you prefer to listen, swallow your pride without choking on your ego, and save lots of pain, suffering, as well as time and money?

Or would you prefer to learn the hard way through years of pain and suffering, long nights and weekends ... wasting lots of money ... going broke and failing?

You see good Engineers are a lot like good parents of young teenagers, we know a thing or two even though the kids think we're stupid.

We have been there and done that, even though the kids think we haven't and don't know anything.

When you tell your teenage son or daughter not to do something it is based upon experience, learning things the hard way and love as a parent.  Just like engineers, when we tell you something won't work or don't do that, it is based upon experience and learning things the hard way ... just like a parent telling their teenage daughter to stay away from "that boy"

But do they listen .... do teenagers ever listen to their parents?  occasionally .... not really ... 

Instead of fighting us all the time maybe you should listen to us once in a while ... how many times have you said that to your kids? I'm guessing just a few ...

You see good engineers are like good parents and ... (fill in blank) ... are like the teenagers ... lots of fun ... but the parents usually clean up the mess ... teenagers can be a lot of fun ... wild and crazy ... sometimes they have a good idea ... but most of the time they need a little guidance and direction so they don't burn the house down .... most of the time they don't listen ... and you just pray nobody gets hurt, they don't destroy anything, and the cops don't show up ... doesn't always work out that way though ... 

Next time maybe listen to the engineers for longer than 8 seconds ... just like you tell your kids to listen ... but you know they won't ... but you say it anyway ...hoping this will be the time they listen and take your advice ... 

You see ... good engineers are just like parents ... they care ... all of the frustration you feel when your kids do something stupid because they don't listen ... that is the same frustration an engineer feels when (fill in blank) doesn't listen ... does something stupid ... and everything goes to hell in a hurry.

Good engineers are like good parents ... we have that same desire to slap the "kids" upside the head and say "what the hell were you thinking!" ...  "how can you be so stupid!" ...  "I told you not to do that!" ... "see what happened" ... "I told you so"  

Sometimes parents are better at holding their tongues and anger in these situations ... just like engineers ... it doesn't always work out that way ... sometimes emotions get the better of us in the moment .... just like being a parent ...

Are parents smarter than their kids? ... Maybe ... or have they just been down a few more bad roads than their kids have and it didn't work out so well for them. Parents don't want to see their kids make the same mistakes they did, and go through all the pain that they experienced. Sometimes kids listen ... most of the time they don't ... just pray no one gets hurt and they didn't burn anything down, destroy anything or the cops show up ...

Just like developing a new product ... try not to do anything too stupid, pray no one gets hurt, nothing burns down and the cops don't show up

Are engineers smarter than everybody else ... I doubt it ... we just see the world differently than "normal people" do. We are speaking from experience, failure and lessons learned ... just like a parent talking to their teenage daughter.  We don't want anything bad to happen or anyone to get hurt ... and we certainly don't want to see the cops show up ...


Have a product development challenge ...

We can help ...


Let's Talk



Topics: Product Development, Product Design, Project Management, Leadership, Engineering, Simulation, Management, Communication, SmallBusiness, Design, StartUps

Travis Jacobs

Written by Travis Jacobs

Travis is the president of JA Simulations, a product design & development firm in Denver Colorado. We help clients solve problems & get to market faster with innovative & high quality products

Subscribe To Our Blog