Amytheengineer.com

Episode 2: Missile Defense

My blueprint design

Like Eric, I proposed a net-gun to intercept the missile. But not just any net, it was would be an "evil net made out of heavy chain that would shred the missile apart." I even threw some equations of projectile motion!! The judges actually really liked it and even recognized me as the first runner up to the blue print challenge :)

 

My take on gui's leadership style

There is a difference between a team and a group (see "The Discipline of Teams" by Katzenbach and Smith 1993). Being on a team means that everyone shares leadership of something and designs are discussed in groups. I like this style because I believe it reduces risk: the more eyes you have on each problem, the more chance you have of identifying weak spots and flaws in the design. Gui likes the "group" model, which includes a "Strong, clearly focused leader; Individual accountability; Individual work products." It is called a "group" because that's just what it is, just a group of people, there isn't strong enough teamwork to be called a "team."

 

I definitely understand the need for both types of leadership. For me, I felt hurt that Gui didn't trust me enough to give me more responsibility. Trust is HUGE on a team!

 

gui was actually very understanding

When I confronted Gui about feeling pushed out, he was actually very understanding and gave me more design work, something that the editing didn't show.

 

The Ambush

After confronting Gui in the conference room of the house, Gui actually listened to my concerns and gave me more design work. The ambush happened a couple days after that, when Gui sort of took back over the design mechanism that he had given me to design. I was intending on waiting until that night at the house to talk to Gui, but when the judges came in I just couldn't keep my frusterations under wrap (one of my many character flaws, just ask my husband!). Gui is actually a very understanding person and the editing of the episode really took that away.

 

My Take on why our design failed

I think the release mechanism that I designed was terrible. I had never designed one before so I was missing the fundamental property of a release mechanism: the releasing force must be as decoupled as possible to the loaded force it is holding back. But, I think there was too much resistance between the propeller shaft and the shaft it was rotating in to launch (it was very tight tolerance and there was a lot of thick grease between the two shafts). But, I still think it was a very innovative design and I'm glad we gave it a shot.

 

I actually voted Joel off too...

I wanted to vote Gui off but I felt that he had a lot to offer the competition (I really said that to the judges). I actually shared in the team's frustration with Joel because I felt he wasn't putting enough thought into his tasks. I love Joel to pieces but during that episode I think his dislike for Gui's leadership kinda bogged him down.

 

FUNNY THINGS in the shop

One of my all time favorite moments was during this episode when I got that stupid (not stupid, actually really awesome) ProTrak machine to "Do my bidding!" With the help of Joel, I was able to mill out a neat arc for the release mechanism and I was standing there, point at the machine and saying, "Do my bidding, machine!!" Me and Tom had a good laugh saying that over and over to the machines (Tom was on the lathe).

 

behind the scenes stuff

The challenge was filmed in some remote desert about an hour from Burbank, California. I really can't tell you more than that because I was sleeping in the van on the way up! That was one thing we learned very quickly: sleep whenever possible. I wish you could have seen me on that cold day in the bunker. They were filming the red team's system and we couldn't watch because it might alter our team's strategy. There I was, curled up in the corner, miserable from the cold, using my helmet to cushion my face against the wall while trying to sleep. I think it even rained that day. But, at the end of the day it was really funny to see the Red Team get slimmed :)