I seem to have written posts for this blog for over 5 years (over 300 of them). I began the blog to discuss product quality, since it is as topic that has always interested me, and after a heroic and successful effort in the U.S. to improve manufacturing quality (which of course reflects on overall product quality), industry drifted off into other traditional directions (profit, grow-the-organization, etc.). As I mentioned in my last post, the manufacturing quality goals were nicely described in a classic paper written by David Garvin and published by the Harvard Business review in 1987, when quality was the hot word.
In 2012 I wrote my book Good Products, Bad Products, published by McGraw Hill, to pay more attention to such critical “dimensions” of quality that even though difficult to deal with quantitatively, are very important to human users. It is also mentioned in my last post, and discussed at more length earlier in the blog.
I wrote my book partly as a text that I used to teach a course in the Stanford Engineering school (Good Products, Bad Products), that was taken over by Professor Dave Beach when I retired, who did a wonderful job with it until last year, when the course too was retired. The book suffered from lack of publicity, and perhaps a decreased interest in product quality in the U.S. Surprisingly (or not), although the book’s sales in the U.S. have been disappointing, it is doing much better in India, China, South Korea, and Japan —countries that perhaps are presently more sensitive to the value of quality in products. After all, it was Japan that awakened us in the 1970’s and 80’s. China, India, and South Korea are coming up fast.
But over the years, I also wrote posts on subjects I was also thinking about which ranged from the fit between the directions of technology and people, the joy of working with the hands, engineering, management, and so on.
I never sought wide distribution of these posts, as I wrote them to force myself to think more deeply about my areas of interest, and I did not want to become involved in a full-fledged conversation with large numbers of people, although the responses to my posts were thoughtful and flattering. But now I have been talked into a project that sounds difficult, but worth doing, by Tim Keely, a friend of mine who is an IT person of amazing talent at Stanford. The project is for me to go through these posts, pick the ones I think are the best, organize them, edit them, and allow him to make an e-book (or several) from them. I am going to try.
This will make my posts even fewer in number and perhaps more wandering in nature as I come up with new thoughts for the book(s), but I am looking forward to the attempt and hope you will bear with me. I will continue to write posts when I need more material for this project, or when I can’t bear not to —like commenting on ridiculous wastes of technology and money such as Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexican border, which hopefully will never happen, but should it, will set an all time record for lack of overall product quality.
So wish me luck. I’ll post progress reports as I go.